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MENEMEN (LARİSSA)

Population: 145,000

larissaMarket days: Thursday, Sunday

The small town of Menemen, north of İzmir, is mainly known for the large numbers of stalls selling pottery that line the main rod heading for Çanakkale. It is, however, the best base for visiting the slight remains of ancient Larissa, on a hillside above Buruncuk, a small settlement just north of Menemen. 

Larissa is thought to date back to around 3000 BC although the main development was in the 7th century BC. It was destroyed in 405 BC during the Peloponessian War. Rebuilt, it was destroyed again in 279 BC by the Galatians. 

Today the remains are of an acropolis although it's hard to make out many of the structures in any detail. There are, though, some impressive remains of walls built of polygonal stones without the use of cement, in one case with some surviving freize decoration. There are also several cisterns - be careful as it would be easy for a child to fall into them. 

Information at the site mentions houses and a palace but without a guide you will find it hard to identify them. 

The views from the site of the surrounding hills and the ruins of Eski Buruncuk (abandoned c. 1930), mainly built using stones from old Larissa, are impressive although it's hard to make out the Gediz river which once formed a major barrier to travel in these parts. In spring the wildflowers are magnificent and locals come here to pick a thorny plant (diken) as a salad vegetable. Surrounding fields are full of grapes being grown for raisins. larissa2Remains of old windmill at Eski Buruncuk

Transport info

All buses heading north from İzmir transit Menemen but you can also get here easily using the İzban which has a Menemen station. Buses heading for Foça will pass by Buruncuk but to get to the site you will need your own transport or a atxi - better picked up in Menemen. 

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