Izmir, historically Smyrna, is Turkeys third most populous city and the countrys second largest port city after Istanbul. It is located along the outlying waters of the Gulf of Izmir, by the Aegean Sea. Izmir has almost 3,500 years of urban history, and possibly that much more of advanced human settlement. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of its gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. Its port, privatized in 2007, is Turkeys first port for exports in terms of the freight handled and its free zone, a Turkish-U.S. joint-venture established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty in Turkey.