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Izmit (ancient Nicomedia) is a city in Turkey, administrative center of Kocaeli Province as well as the Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality. It is located at the Gulf of Izmit (the ancient Gulf of Astacus) in the Sea of Marmara, about 100 km (62 mi) east of Istanbul, on the northwestern part of Anatolia. The city centre has a population of 248,424 (2007 census). The urban area has a population of 577,932 inhabitants and is part of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality, which has the same border as Kocaeli Province with a population of 1,411,845 inhabitants.
Izmit (Nicomedia) was the eastern and most senior capital city of the Roman Empire between 286 and 324, during the Tetrarchy introduced by Diocletian. Following Constantine's defeat of co-emperor Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) in 324, Nicomedia served as an interim capital city for Constantine the Great between 324 and 330, until the nearby Byzantium was officially declared Nova Roma (later known as Constantinople, present-day Istanbul.) more
The city is mostly built on hill slopes because of the cramped area, while flat plains are located around the gulf, near the sea. This topographic structure divided the city in two different parts. The first part was created on flat plains, where the city center is also located. The railway and highway networks also pass from this area which is close to the Sea of Marmara. The second part was built on hills, with many historic houses from the Ottoman period in the old quarters.
The local climate, more temperate near the Gulf of Izmit (Körfez in Turkish) and the Black Sea, more severe in the mountains, constitutes a transition between Mediterranean and Black Sea types; the typical urban summer here is hot and dry, the winter wet, however, Izmit and Marmara lack the refreshing summer breezes of the northern reaches, and can become humid.
There are numerous tourist attractions both in the city centre and its adjacent region, such as the remains of the ancient Acropolis, Agora, Amphitheater, Nymphaeum, Necropolis, Demeter Temple and the Hellenistic Üçtepeler Mound King Tombs, the Roman city walls, parts of the Temple of Augustus, parts of the Palace and Arsenal of Diocletian, Roman aqueducts and cisterns, a Byzantine fortress at the core of the Roman city walls, Orhan Gazi Mosque (1333), the 14th century Süleyman Paşa Hamam, the 16th century Imaret Mosque and Pertev Paşa Mosque (1580) designed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan, Pertev Paşa Fountain (1571), the 16th century Mehmed Bey Hamam, Saatçi Ali Efendi Mansion (1776), Tüysüz Fountain (1782), the early 19th century Fevziye Mosque, Kapanca Sokağı Fountain and Canfeda Kethüda Kadın Fountain (1827), the mid 19th century Sırrı Paşa Mansion, Kasr-ı Hümayun Palace and the French Theological School, Redif Barracks (1863), and the Izmit Clock Tower (1901).
Izmit is an important industrial centre, with a large oil refinery, and major paper and cement factories. Ford Motor Company has a plant here in a joint venture with Otosan, assembling the Transit/Tourneo and Transit/Tourneo Connect vans. It is also a transportation hub, being located on the main highway and railway lines between Istanbul and Ankara, and having a major port.
The famous Turkish traditional sweet Pişmaniye is a product of Izmit and the Kocaeli Province.
Being located along the commercially-active Black Sea and Marmara Sea shorelines, Kocaeli boasts 5 ports and 35 industrial docks, making it an important communications centre, as well as Anatolia’s farthest inland contact point and a gateway to global markets. The main transportation routes, the D-100 highway and the E-6 TEM (Trans European Motorway) which connects Europe with Asia, along with railway lines, form an intercontinental passage network. Kocaeli neighbours one of the world’s largest metropolitan centres, Istanbul. Its vicinity to Istanbul's two international airports (Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and Atatürk International Airport) which are 45 and 80 km (50 mi) away, respectively, from Izmit's city centre, provides national and international connections.