Learning from the Past

Izmir, with its 8500 years of history as a port city, has been a cradle of ideas that influenced the world. From philosophy to literature, and from democracy to healthcare, numerous innovations have born from this region and reached every corner of the globe. The lessons we learn from Izmir's rich history, as one of the most important port cities in the Mediterranean, continue to guide the present and future of our city.

That is why, with each step we take in Izmir, we uncover a new layer of its history. Envisioning the future of a city named after the legendary Amazonian queen Smyrna, drawing from such a profound and extensive cultural legacy is our most profound source of inspiration.

As part of the Izmir History Project, we are dedicated to preserving our rich historical and cultural heritage. We are actively engaged in the restoration and renovation of iconic structures throughout Izmir. Additionally, we provide financial support to 14 archaeological excavations in Izmir, aiming to protect and unearth our cultural legacy. The excavations at the Ancient Theater of Smyrna, situated on the slopes of Kadifekale, have gained significant momentum. The unveiling of this 20,000-seat ancient theater promises to bestow Izmir city center and Kadifekale with a revitalized and rejuvenated appearance.

Through our UNESCO program, we have taken the initiative to safeguard the cultural heritage of Izmir and seek to secure World Heritage status for the city, bridging the past with the present and future. Last year, Kemeraltı, Kadifekale, and Basmane, which form the heart of Izmir, were included in the provisional UNESCO World Heritage list under the title of Historical Port City.  We are dedicated to increase the number of UNESCO-designated sites in our city from two to six. One of these sites is the Gediz Delta, a remarkable natural wonder located in the center of Izmir and home to ten percent of the world's flamingo population. We have initiated the required legal procedures and submitted an application for UNESCO World Natural Heritage status for this exceptional natural wonder situated within a metropolis like Izmir. Furthermore, the UNESCO preparation procedures for Birgi and the Genoese Castles are currently in progress.

The heart of Izmir, Kemeraltı, holds immense significance as the gateway of Izmir, one of the Mediterranean's most significant port cities, to the world. Recognizing the importance of the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar to Izmir, we embarked on comprehensive infrastructure and superstructure renovation efforts in 2022. This marked a historic investment aimed at revitalizing the historical corridor stretching from Konak to Kadifekale, ultimately increasing the area's appeal. Our aspiration is to bring Kemeraltı to Türkiye's as our city’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site, following Ephesus and Pergamon.

The IzMiras (Izmir Heritage) office is dedicated to preserving Izmir's rich cultural heritage, ensuring its passage to future generations, and increasing its recognition, both locally and globally. The initiatives undertaken by our office serve as a link between Izmir's historical, cultural, and natural legacy, which has evolved over millennia, and the present day. We reframe this cultural heritage not merely as remnants of the past necessitating preservation, but also as a source capable of shaping the future.