Izmir Historical Port City is One Step Closer to UNESCO

Izmir Historical Port City is One Step Closer to UNESCO
Izmir Historical Port City is One Step Closer to UNESCO

Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer attended the Izmir Historical Port City decision conference, whose preparations for the UNESCO World Heritage List nomination process are still ongoing. Soyer said, “The Historical Port City of Izmir will be registered as Izmir's third UNESCO World Heritage site, after Ephesus and Bergama, in the centennial of our Republic. We will live this pride together," he said.

With the support of many institutions in İzmir, especially İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, İzmir Governor's Office, Konak Municipality, İzmir Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, İzmir Development Agency and TARKEM, the ongoing efforts for the inclusion of İzmir Historical Port City on the UNESCO World Heritage List have been accelerated. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer attended the Decision Conference at the Historical Coal Gas Factory for the Izmir Historical Port City area, where the preparations for the area management plan are at the completion stage and the writing of the candidacy file is progressing rapidly. In his speech at the meeting, Chairman Tunç Soyer said, “I am proud and happy to have reached a very important stage to realize a 15-year dream together with our more valuable stakeholders. Izmir Historical Harbor City will be registered as Izmir's third UNESCO World Heritage site, after Ephesus and Bergama, in the centennial of our Republic. We will live this pride together," he said. As a result of the study, the issues discussed by the participants will be compiled by the Site Management and the Site Management Plan will be finalized.

İzmir Deputy Governor İsmail Çorumluoğlu, Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Murat Karacanta, Konak Mayor Abdül Batur, TARKEM General Manager Sergenç İneler, Tatihi Kemeraltı Tradesmen Association President Semih Girgin, İzmir Historical Harbor City Area President Abdülaziz Ediz and bureaucrats took part in the decision meeting.

“The Metropolitan Municipality provides all kinds of financial and administrative support”

Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer said that the Historical Port City of Izmir, which consists of the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, Basmane, Kadifekale and its surroundings, and the Old Smyrna, Yeşilova and Yassıtepe Mounds, entered the UNESCO Tentative List in 2020. Emphasizing that the works for the preparation of the UNESCO World Heritage Candidacy File and the Site Management Plan have been accelerated in line with the protocol signed between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and TARKEM, Mayor Tunç Soyer continued his words as follows: still providing. Our culture of working together in İzmir is behind the faster progress of the process compared to other candidate areas. This partnership is just as valuable as the work we carry out.”

“Kemeraltı will be the leverage of İzmir”

Stating that they aim to complete the Site Management Plan studies quickly after the decision conference, Mayor Soyer said, “Our aim is to present the candidacy file to our Governor and Ministry in September 2022, one year before the planned date. I fully believe that our Ministry of Culture and Tourism will forward our file to UNESCO as soon as possible, namely in February 2023. All of us have important responsibilities on the way to becoming a World Heritage Site. We have something to say: Kemeraltı will be the leverage of İzmir. I believe that the Historical Port City of Izmir will be registered as the third UNESCO World Heritage site of Izmir, after Ephesus and Bergama, in the centennial of our Republic. We will live this pride together," he said.

“Izmir as a whole is a legacy to the world”

Stating that there are many cultural and natural heritages in İzmir, especially Kemeraltı, which has accumulated a deep-rooted heritage throughout its 8-year history, Mayor Soyer said, “Therefore, İzmir is a legacy to the world as a whole. It is a unique geography that has shaped world civilizations. It is our primary duty to keep the cultural heritage of this geography alive and to understand this heritage. Our Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is trying to fulfill the process of making Kemeraltı a UNESCO World Heritage Site with such a vision and sense of responsibility. To our Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Governor's Office, Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, Konak, for their contributions to these valuable studies in our city, Bayraklı and Bornova Municipalities, Izmir Development Agency, TARKEM, all valuable academics, experts, professional chambers, non-governmental organizations, headmen and my valuable teammates in Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.

“We do what we have to do”

İzmir Deputy Governor İsmail Çorumluoğlu stated that he is very happy to be a part of such a project and said, “We are slowly coming to the end of the process that started on May 5, 2020. As the governorship, we are involved in whatever we have to do, we do what we have to do," he said.

Stating that comprehensive studies are being carried out, İzmir Historical Harbor City Area President Abdülaziz Ediz stated that the process is progressing by organizing field trips, tradesmen meetings, academic studies and workshops.
TARKEM General Manager Sergenç İneler also thanked those who contributed to the work carried out in his speech.

Work was carried out under 6 themes at the conference.

At the conference, the participants were informed about the UNESCO candidacy process. In the conference where the participants examined the values ​​of the area and then worked under 6 themes, the heritage elements of the area, its social and economic structure, spatial planning, management structure, the risks it contains and the actions determined for the visitor management were evaluated and the order of these actions was determined.

How did the process begin?

Izmir Historical Port City In April 2020, the support of the Governorship of Izmir and Izmir Development Agency, the work of TARKEM and our City Izmir Association, and Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Aegean Region Chamber of Industry, Izmir Commodity Exchange, Chamber of Shipping, Aegean Exporters' Associations, Izmir Tradesmen It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List with the contributions of the Chamber of Craftsmen and the Chamber of Commerce. Within the scope of the theme of "Historical Port City of Izmir", the fact that Izmir has been an uninterrupted settlement since the Neolithic period, architectural structures belonging to various important periods in relation to its port city feature are located together, the area has an important geographical and strategic location, multi-layered Various features such as having a cultural texture, traces of different cultures, being an important settlement in terms of land and sea trade were noted.

Studies for the preparation of the Management Plan and the Candidacy File, which are necessary for the work to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, were carried out with the protocol signed on May 5, 2020 between the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and TARKEM. The boundaries and connection points of the Izmir Historic Port City Management Area were determined as a result of the studies carried out by the Ministry, taking into account the opinions of the institutions and organizations communicated. The management area of ​​Kemeraltı, Basmane, Kadifekale and its surroundings, Yeşilova, Yassıtepe, Smyrna-Bayraklı Their mounds were defined as "anchoring points".

What studies have been carried out in the last 1 year?

Since March 2021, when the Presidency of the Site was institutionalized, a total of 7 expert personnel were appointed by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, Konak Municipality, Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate, İzmir Governorship Investment Monitoring and Coordination Directorate and İzmir Development Agency to work on the Management Plan and Candidacy File. TARKEM also employed 4 full-time experts. Advisory Board and Coordination and Supervision Board were established.

The current situation analysis, which is the first stage of the Site Management Plan, has been completed and the second and third stage studies are continuing. In this context, a very comprehensive study was carried out on different topics, especially data collection, face-to-face interviews, SWOT Workshop, focus group meeting and survey application.

Institutionalization studies are also being carried out as Izmir Historical Port City Area Presidency and Izmir Metropolitan Municipality UNESCO Communication and Coordination Office. In addition to the employees of the Presidency of the Area, two different training programs with broad participation were organized in order for the representatives of institutions in the field to gain information and develop their expertise within the scope of the management plan and UNESCO candidacy. Informative exchanges are made in order to carry out the Site Management process in a participatory and multi-stakeholder manner. Many field trips were organized in order to get to know the site by the Site Presidency team and to have a good grasp of the history and current situation of the site, in this context, many buildings and streets were examined as well as the historical heritage in the area. Athens, Thessaloniki, Bursa, Ephesus Ancient City and Bergama Multilayered Cultural Landscape Area, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, were visited.

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