Izmir, Turkey: a photo journal

Σάββατο, 17 Νοεμβρίου, 2012

View of the Izmir Bay at Dawn

I recently visited Izmir in Turkey for the first time.

The seaside promenade in Alsancak, Izmir, Turkey

It was an emotionally difficult trip, as I was overwhelmed by the historical background and the events of 1922 (see my relevant article). The seaside promenade that takes the visitor from Republic Square to Alsancak along the Kemal Ataturk boulevard is a landfill. Back in 1922 the shoreline was running along the paved road that is running by the buildings.

At the north of this stretch is the area where the refugees were stuck in September of 1922, trying to get on board a ship.  This is the site of a humanitarian disaster, one of the greatest before the second world war.

The stand for the ceremonies during Republic Day in Izmir, Turkey

Fate had it that my visit would coincide with the celebration of the establishment of the present day Turkish Republic – Cumhuriyet Bayramı: 29th October 1923.

Decorated Turkish Telekom Building, Izmir, Turkey

The city was fully decorated with flags and portraits of Kemal Ataturk. Very impressive indeed.

Portrait of Kemal Ataturk carved in a rock formation, Izmir, Turkey

On 29 October 1923, the new name of the nation and its status as a republic was declared. After that, a vote occurred in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and Atatürk was selected as the 1st president of the Republic of Turkey by unanimous vote.

The clock tower, Izmir, Turkey

The clock tower in Konak Square was built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abdülhamid II’s (reigned 1876–1909) accession to the throne. It is ironic that Abdülhamid II (see my relevant article) marks the end of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of the forces that will in 1923 declare the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. In this respect, the clock tower is a monument that embodies this historical borderline. The clock itself was a gift of German Emperor Wilhelm II (reigned 1888–1918). It is decorated in an elaborate Ottoman architecture. The tower which has an iron and lead skeleton,, at a height of 25 m (82 ft), features four fountains (Şadırvanı), which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by Moorish themes.

Izmir City Hall (Governor’s Residence – Konak)

Izmir Governor’s official residence (Konak), is an almost identical replica of the original building built between 1869 and 1872, which itself was lost to a fire in 1970.

Izmir Tourism and Information Office – North side

One of the very few buildings of the “Ionian Jewel” that the visitor can see today in the city is the Izmir Tourism and Information Office.

National Bank of Greece, Izmir, Turkey – West side

It used to be the building of the National Bank of Greece. Note that the tower of the North side has been removed.

Ataturk Museum, Izmir, Turkey

The Ataturk Museum is located on the quay, and is one of the historical buildings that have been restored.

Two women on a bench, Izmir, Turkey

The Agora (Market) of Izmir, dates back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods of the city’s life.

Agora, Izmir, Turkey

The archaelogical site is in the area of Konak, on top of a hill.

Shops near Agora, Izmir, Turkey

The neighbourhood around Agora is a working man’s area.

Building in Izmir, Turkey

Izmir today is home for over 4 millions of people.

Outdoor market in the outskirts of Izmir, Turkey

A lot of them have come to Izmir from Anatolia.

Old and new homes for the Anatolian immigrants

The hills surrounding Izmir have been covered by the homes built for the Anatonian immigrants. The old homes are now being replaced by modern multistory buildings. This massive rennovation project will result in freeing the hills from the old homes and create parks and areas of recreation.

Guard in construction site (yapi), Izmir, Turkey

Overall, the building activity in Izmir is intensive, extensive, and very impressive.

Girls on a bus, Izmir, Turkey

In spite of the number of people and the challenges this creates, Izmir is a clean and safe city.

Basmane Gar, Izmir, Turkey

Historic Basmane Gar is İzmir’s main station forAegean regional trains, with connections to thesuburban and Metro lines

Woman and train, Izmir, Turkey

Traces of art of the past can be found in the city, even in some of sort of bad imitation.

Imitation of art, Izmir, Turkey

I am happy that I went. In spite of the fact that the emotions are mixed.

Karsiyaka Iskeleri (Ferry Boat Peer), Izmir, Turkey

After all, so many terrible things in human history have been the result of the quest for “cleanliness”.

So “mixed” is ok.

Movenpick Hotel, Izmir, Turkey

If you are wondering what the food is like, you can read my article on the Topcu Restaurant in Izmir.

Good night Izmir.

Izmir market at night under the moonlight

Güle Güle!

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