Smyrna, City of Natolia, in Asia by Unknown

Letter T.

This city and sea-port of Natolia, in Asia, is situate towards the northern part of a peninsula, upon a long and winding gulf of the same name, which is capable of containing the largest navy in the world. The city is about four miles round, presenting a front of a mile long to the water; and when approached by sea, it resembles a capacious amphitheatre with the ruins of an ancient castle crowning its summit. The interior of the city, however, disappoints the expectations thus raised, for the streets are narrow, dirty, and ill-paved, and there is now scarcely a trace of those once splendid edifices which rendered Smyrna one of the finest cities in Asia Minor. The shops are arched over, and have a handsome appearance: in spite of the gloom which the houses wear, those along the shore have beautiful gardens attached to them, at the foot of which are summer-houses overhanging the sea. The city is subject to earthquakes and the plague, which latter, in 1814, carried off above 50,000 of the inhabitants.

About midnight, in July, 1841, a fire broke out at Smyrna, which, from the crowded state of the wooden houses, the want of water, and the violence of the wind, was terribly destructive. About 12,000 houses were destroyed, including two-thirds of the Turkish quarter, most of the French and the whole of the Jewish quarters, with many bazaars and several mosques, synagogues, and other public buildings. It was calculated that 20,000 persons were deprived of shelter and food, and the damage was estimated at two millions sterling.


The fine port of Smyrna is frequented by ships from all nations, freighted with valuable cargoes, both outward and inward. The greater part of the trading transactions is managed by Jews, who act as brokers, the principals meeting afterwards to conclude the bargains.

In 1402 Smyrna was taken by Tamerlane, and suffered very severely. The conqueror erected within its walls a tower constructed of stones and the heads of his enemies. Soon after, it came under the dominion of the Turks, and has been subsequently the most flourishing city in the Levant, exporting and importing valuable commodities to and from all parts of the world.