Its port is Turkey's primary port for exports in terms of the freight handled and its free zone, a Turkish-U. joint-venture established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty in Turkey.
Of these, Konak district corresponds to historical İzmir, this district's area having constituted the "İzmir Municipality" (Turkish: ), the city of İzmir grouped together initially nine, and more recently eleven, metropolitan districts, namely Balçova, Bayraklı, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karabağlar, Karşıyaka, Konak and Narlıdere.
In an ongoing process, the Mayor of İzmir was also vested with authority over additional districts reaching from Bergama in the north to Selçuk in the south, bringing the number of districts considered as being part of İzmir to twenty-one, two of these having been only partially administratively included in İzmir.
The modern name "İzmir" is the Turkish rendering of the original Greek name "Smyrna" and "Smyrne" (Σμύρνη).
In medieval times, Westerners used forms like Smire, Zmirra, Esmira, Ismira, which was rendered as İzmir into Turkish, originally written as ايزمير with the Ottoman Turkish alphabet.
İzmir's metropolitan area extends along the outlying waters of the Gulf of İzmir and inland to the north across the Gediz River delta; to the east along an alluvial plain created by several small streams; and to a slightly more rugged terrain in the south.
In classical antiquity the city was known as Smyrna (Greek: ), a name which remained in use in English and other foreign languages until the Turkish Postal Service Law (Posta Hizmet Kanunu) of 28 March 1930, which made İzmir the internationally recognized name.The city is one of the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin.The 2004 discovery of Yeşilova Höyük and the neighboring Yassıtepe, in the small delta of Meles River, now the Bornova plain, reset the starting date of the city's past further back than previously thought.In ancient Anatolia, the name of a locality called Ti-smurna is mentioned in some of the Level II tablets from the Assyrian colony in Kültepe (first half of the 2nd millennium BC), with the prefix ti- identifying a proper name, although it is not established with certainty that this name refers to modern-day İzmir.In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, it was in the western end of the extension of the still largely obscure Arzawa Kingdom, an offshoot and usually a dependency of the Hittites, who themselves spread their direct rule as far as the coast during their Great Kingdom.Some would see in the city's name a reference to the name of an Amazon called Smyrna said to have seduced Theseus, leading him to name the city in her honor.