A vineyard building right across Alsancak Station, one of the important cultural heritages of İzmir, is home to a museum today. Izmir TCDD Museum and Art Gallery, where you will be met by real witnesses of history, is the memory of railways
Alsancak Station is the starting point of the first railway line in Anatolia. In addition to playing an active role in the development of İzmir and its economic structure in the 19th century, it is an important cultural heritage of the city. Before the station was built, the gar environment of the flour mills' industrial facilities and the workers working in these facilities were the witnesses of the Levantine families. In the early 1800s, British families were living in the buildings in the region. When the year 1857 showed the foundation of the Izmir-Aydın line, which was the first railway of the Ottoman Empire, Punta (Alsancak) Station was put into service a year later.
Alex Baltazzi, in his book titled "Alsancak 1482 Street Memories", starts the entrance of the Alsancak Train Station section with the following lines of Kosmas Politis: “Punta (Alsancak) station is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of the city with its big houses made of gray, green, stone or marble. In the station square, which is equipped with high cypress trees, horse-drawn karaçoins were waiting for passengers getting off the train. The train was whistling calmly. Silence and greatness prevailed ”
Nowadays the station and its surroundings continue to enjoy the view of a nostalgic landscape, even though the silence is not waiting in front of the station, but the silence has been replaced by heavy traffic. Alsancak Station and its surrounding structures, which have been standing upright since then, constitute the cultural heritage of İzmir. As an inseparable part of the city's identity, while the station is still home to many passengers and trains, the clock tower next to it indicates that it is time to travel.
Opposite the Alsancak Station, a two-storey, vineyard building that dates back to the 1850s stands out. This building, which has the architectural features of the British Consulate and Anglican Church, is the TCDD Museum and Art Gallery, which houses the memory of the railways.
Used as the commercial commodity warehouse of British traders in the early 1800s, the building served as the administration of British companies for a while. It was later used as the lodging of the manager of the İzmir-Aydın Ottoman Railway Company. After the nationalization of the railways, it was considered as a lodging for a long time with the structures on its side. After it was organized as a Museum and Art Gallery in 1990, the last floor was opened as a museum and the upper floor became a gallery with the last restoration made in 2002-2003.
At the first entrance of the museum, you encounter the ticket buyers, which is the first thing the passenger entering the garage will do. On the opposite side of the cashier, the scales are indispensable for each station, and right next to the scales, the wall clocks used by the passenger who bought his ticket are outstanding. On the opposite side of the entrance are taps collected from various stations, reflecting the fine workmanship and elegance of their periods.
In the first room of the museum, there are telegraph machines, photographs of the officers who worked at TCDD on the walls, telephones, signs, typewriters and tables. Some of the telegraph machines that are used to know the moving trains are still working. In the second room, there are old road construction equipment, lamps, old lanterns, calculators, correspondence materials, train plates, inkplates, dinner sets used in wagon restaurants. In this room, antiques such as sanitary equipment, tickets, various objects of steam trains, a part of the harem wagon that came to İzmir in time, an old piano, written documents from the Republican era, repair kits are exhibited. The groundbreaking trowel of the İzmir-Aydın Railway line is also included in the collection.
The exhibition hall upstairs is arranged to protect the spirit of the museum. The exhibition hall with tables, typewriters and waiting benches belonging to TCDD hosts art lovers at events. The works left by the artists turn into a mixed exhibition on the walls and in the room of Director Mazlum Beyhan. Museum Director Mazlum Beyhan is as humble, intellectual and an art lover as the museum itself. Turkey has given many years of service to the State Railways, has worked in many departments. Expressing that the exhibition hall on the upper floor of the museum is one of the biggest exhibition halls of the city, Beyhan continues: “I see it as an exhibition hall, even though it has deficiencies. We do not charge any fee for the exhibitions. Especially, students do not have many galleries in İzmir. We do our best. We only ask artists to donate one of their works here. This is a museum and when they leave this world, the works they leave here will still be protected by the museum. ''
Mazlum Beyhan, who sincerely introduces every part of the history of the museum, says, "If I had not been appointed as a museum, I would have retired." Stating that the works come from the nearby stations and that most nostalgic pieces are included in the museum, Beyhan says that the number of visitors varies, and that primary and high school students generally come. Mazlum Beyhan says, “Tourists who come to Izmir because they are close to the harbor come here first when they see the museum, they travel with great interest and leave with pleasure.”
By collecting the furniture used by the Railways, Beyhan, who built the room he is using now, the books he saved from decay, old train tickets, TCDD record books, paintings from the exhibitions, railroad instruments and old photographs add meaning to both his room and the museum.
Mazlum Beyhan underlines that the settlement where the station and the museum are located is a great cultural value for İzmir and that this area will be the most beautiful corner of İzmir if traffic is closed and arranged as a square.
In the hustle and bustle of life, a history is waiting for you in the unique building, which you may not notice or spend time almost every day.