Kocaeli Information

Kocaeli , Turkey


Kocaeli Province (Turkish: Kocaeli ili , pronounced [kodʒaˈeli]) is a province of Turkey.

Its capital is İzmit, which is sometimes referred to as Kocaeli itself. The largest town in the province is now Gebze. The traffic code is 41. The province is located at the easternmost end of the Marmara Sea, especially on the Gulf of İzmit. Because of the size and natural conditions of the Bay of İzmit, the city is a giant natural harbour. There are lots of harbour facilities within Kocaeli, including the primary base of the Turkish Navy.


In Antiquity, the city was called Astacus or Olbia (founded 712 BC). After being destroyed, it was rebuilt and founded by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minor. Hannibal came to Nicomedia in his final years and committed suicide in nearby Libyssa (Gebze). The historian Arrian was born there. Nicomedia was the metropolis of Bithynia under the Roman Empire (see Nicaea), and Diocletian made it the eastern capital city of the Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system.

Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great in 324. Constantine mainly resided in Nicomedia as his interim capital city for the next six years, until in 330 he declared the nearby Byzantium as Nova Roma, which eventually became known as Constantinople. Constantine died in a royal villa at the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Owing to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.

Until the late 11th century it was under Byzantine rule. Than it was captured by Seljuk Turks, but soon after it was regained thanks to the successes of the first crusade. After capture of Constantinople in 1204 the city, together with most of the Bithynia province, became a part of the Latin Empire. It was recaptured by the Byzantines around 1235 and stayed in its borders until first half of the 14th century. The city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1337. Byzantine rule renewed in 1402 but Ottomans reconquered in 1419.

İzmit was occupied by the UK in July 6, 1920 during Turkish War of Independence. The English left it to Greece in October 27, 1920. İzmit was re-taken by the Turks on June 28, 1921.[3][4] When Arnold Toynbee landed three days after the completion of the evacuation he saw, that the Turkish shops in the town had been looted and were in ruins, the mosques had been defiled and looted, when the fresh mass graves were opened in the cemetery they were discovered to be full of with the corpses of Muslims (Turks) who had been shot before the Greeks left the town.[5]

The earthquake of August 17, 1999 (magnitude 7.4) devastated the region, killing more than 19,000 people and leaving half a million homeless. It took several years for the city to recover from this disaster; but the scars can still be observed.

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