İzmir looks for input on restoration plan

İzmir looks for input on restoration plan

İZMİR - Doğan News Agency
İzmir looks for input on restoration plan

İzmir Municipality is looking to develop new tourism strategies that will include a 300-square-meter historical area.

Municipal authorities in İzmir are calling for public participation amid an ambitious new project to redevelop some of the Aegean province’s most famous tourists sites in a bid to draw more visitors.

“We want to share ideas with scientists and the residents of İzmir. If we cannot get the support of citizens, it will not be possible to realize this project,” İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu said.

“We are the leader of the project and plan to revive the area together with people there. Now new buildings are being constructed here and development rights are not being given. We are only trying to find a road map to get permission for restoration,” Kocaoğlu said.

The municipality is looking to develop new tourism strategies that will include a 300-square-meter historical area of Kadifekale, which is home to a number of areas from both antiquity and more recent times, such as an ancient theater, an agora and the Kemeraltı.

Centers of attraction

The endeavor, dubbed the İzmir-History Project, was initiated at a recent meeting with the attendance of architects, city planners, engineers, designers, academics and businessmen.

“We have so far expropriated the agora and its surroundings, as well as an ancient Roman theater, restored the Kadifekale walls, [conducted] geological and archaeological works in the Aegean Civilizations Museum, as well as the land arrangement of Anafartalar and İkiçeşmelik streets and the restoration of the Haremlik-Selamlık building,” the mayor said. “We are now working to rehabilitate the Basmane region without destroying its structural texture. To us, this is the most important center for tourists. There will be boutique hotels, streets for designers and Aegean cuisine there.”

Explaining the reason behind the launching of the long-term project, the mayor said it was difficult to draw local and tourists to the city without restoring one of the country’s most famous landmarks, the ancient theater at Ephesus, as well as Bergama and the historical area in the city center.

İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Consultant and Mediterranean Academy Director Professor İlhan Tekeli said the İzmir-History Project would enrich the relationship between İzmir’s residents and history. “This project will develop with the participation of the people. When the strategy process is finished, the design and application process will start. We should determine what kind of a center of attraction can be created here,” he said.