İzmit is a big and a heavily industrialized city in Marmara Region, Turkey, located east of Istanbul, at the very end of the sword-like Gulf of İzmit, the long indentation of the Sea of Marmara towards the east. İzmit is the capital of the Kocaeli Province.
Nicomedes I of Bithynia, the ancient kingdom that encompassed the lands east of the Sea of Marmara, founded his capital across from the site of the Greek colony of Astakos ("lobster", modern Başiskele, a suburb to the south) in 264 BC, naming it after himself, Nicomedia. Under the "Tetrarchy" ("four rulers") system between 293 and 313 CE, Nicomedia became the eastern (and the most senior) capital of the Roman Empire. It kept this status until Constantine the Great moved the imperial capital to nearby Byzantium (renamed to Constantinople, modern Istanbul) in 330. The Ottomans took the city in 1337, calling it at first İznikmid, a variation of its original name, and eventually shortening this to İzmit.
Several daily regional expresses connect İzmit with nearby Istanbul. The average price is about 5.50 TL/person. You can also book and buy a seat for long distance trains that leave Istanbul’s Asian station for other (Asian) destinations. The cheapest ticket for such a train is 3.75 TL/person, the rate for Doğu Express. The journey takes about 2 hours between Istanbul and İzmit by rail.
Both highways numbered D100 and O-4/E80 (toll-way) which connect Istanbul and Ankara, two biggest cities of Turkey, pass through or by the city. A drive from Istanbul should take no more than one hour, especially on the O-4/E80 which is of a better quality and avoids towns which D100 traverses all the way along.
The easiest way to arrive to Izmit is probably by coach. Private coach (bus) companies schedule regular journeys from Istanbul's two major bus terminals (Harem Otogar on the Asian side, and Esenler Otogar on the European side). Efe Tur and Izmit Tur (the two main coach companies operating in Izmit) run buses daily every 15–20 minutes from both bus terminals starting at 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM. The fare is 10 TL from the Harem bus terminal, or 12 TL from the Esenler bus terminal.
Efe Tur and Izmit Tur will generally drop off passengers arriving from Istanbul in Izmit's city center, rather than Izmit's main bus terminal.
Izmit's bus terminal is located in the Yahyakaptan neighborhood, which is approx. 2 km away from the city center. There are many mini-buses (dolmuş) running from Izmit's main bus terminal to the city center. In addition, the major bus lines (Efe Tur and Izmit Tur) offer free shuttle services to the main neighborhoods around Izmit.
It is also possible to travel to or from any major city in Turkey from Izmit's main bus terminal.
- 1 Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi) (at downtown). An elegant clock tower dating back to 1901. The clock tower now has the added feature of a beautiful waterfall and from the garden by the tower you have a wonderful view of the Gulf of Izmit.
- 2 Kocaeli Archaeology and Ethnograpy Museum (İzmit Museum) (Kozlu neighborhood). Housed in the former railway station of İzmit, designed by German architect Otto Ritter, and built between 1873 and 1910. After restoration works for redevelopment, which began in 2004, the museum was opened early 2007. There are 1,965 archaeological, 1,549 ethnographic objects, 5,155 coins, a 130-seated conference room and a laboratory. Artifacts from Paleolithic, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman era are partly exhibited in the museum halls and partly open-air in the museum yard. A cafeteria and restaurant, inside a redesigned train of a steam locomotive and two railroad cars, serve the visitors.
- 3 SEKA Paper Museum.
Telephone code of İzmit is 262 (+90 262 when calling from out of Turkey).