The name "Konak" was previously used for İzmir's historic core neighborhood, as well as for its key central square (Konak Square – Konak Meydanı). For example, Karşıyaka along the opposing northern shore did not always consider itself as an integral part of İzmir, or in any case, had marking specificities and points of rivalry.
Administrative history of Konak started in 1983–1984 when the steps towards the constitution of a Metropolitan Municipality of İzmir, itself divided into districts, were taken. In 1987, the territory of former district of central İzmir of was renamed the district of Konak (with the exception of its former dependency of Buca, which was turned into a separate district), and the name İzmir implies the entire metropolitan area since then. The municipality of Konak came into effect in full terms in July 1988.
Konak district area starts at the tip of the Gulf of İzmir and follows the southern shoreline, covering such prominent neighborhoods of İzmir as, respectively from east to west, Alsancak with its international freight and passenger port, Konak Square proper and Kemeraltı and Çankaya bazaar areas and Kültürpark, where İzmir International Fair is held, immediately behind it, Karataş, the former Jewish neighborhood marked by Asansör building, and Göztepe, famous for its football team, among others, further along the coast towards the west, as well as the hillside zone behind these, notably the quarters of Eşrefpaşa and Hatay.
For both the metropolitan area and İzmir Province in general, Konak still represents the administrative nerve center, with the governorship, the offices of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, the commercial areas, and other important administrative and private headquarters being situated within the boundaries of Konak.
The name konak itself means, inter alia, government house or official residence in Turkish and refers in the case of Konak, İzmir, to the residence built for the governor between 1869–1972 at the spot and as a replacement of the mansion of Katipzade, a family of notables who controlled the city and the region between 1750–1820. The new building was intended to emphasize the prestige acquired by a growing international trade center and its design and furnishings were consequently luxurious. The building marked the move for the seat of the vilayet of Aydın to İzmir, initiated in 1865.