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Turkey’s gateway to Europe


November 2017 Nr. 2 Bimonthly online magazine

Among the best vineyards of the world

LA Mahzen Lucien Arkas Vineyard near Izmir is a getaway for both tourists and Izmirians. With the magnificent view, visitors enjoy from LA Mahzen, state-of-the-art winery, and location, which is close to Ephesus and Metropolis


urkey’s largest single parcel organic vineyard, Lucien Arkas Vineyard has become a centre of attraction in Torbali, southern Izmir. Located at the heart of the vineyard, LA Mahzen was listed among the 66 wine cellars featured in the book “Sommeliers' Heaven: The Greatest Wine Cellars of the World”, prepared by the World renown Braun Publishing. LA Mahzen, comprising of a 3,000 sqm wine cellar, a tasting hall, bar, offers the joy of dining with the stunning vineyard view to its guests. The 5-km long walking track among the vineyards is yet another delight to be enjoyed at Lucien Arkas Vineyard. Only 20 kilometres from the airport, the vineyard has many alternatives on offer for special meetings and dinners. It is possible to access Lucien Arkas Vineyard via IZBAN, Izmir's suburban train line, from both the airport

and the city centre directly. The vineyard, only two minutes away from the Kuscuburnu station of IZBAN, is also offering private transfer services on booking. REMAINS OF THE METROPOLIS AT THE VINEYARD The area where Lucien Arkas Vineyard is situated today used to be the settlement of ancient Metropolis. The fertility of the land allowed the people of Metropolis to establish an economy based on agriculture, as well as olive and grape cultivation in this city lying on the junction of important trade routes. The ruins of an aqueduct and a tumulus can be seen in Lucien Arkas Vineyard area. The aqueduct, built in the 2-3rd BCE Rome, brought water from Ayrancilar to Metropolis. The ruins can be followed to the Kaptancik and Ozbey villages in the region.

Turkey’s beautiful

IZMIR By Sarah Knapton

‘New York City’ of ancient world

Ephesus P 26

P 12

Historical treasures of

And what to do there By Natalie Sayin

Bergama P 20

P 32

Celenk’s Izmir: A city of healthy & long life By Engin Tatlibal

P 29

Izmir’s street breakfast

Boyoz P9

And more to discover...

To truly experience Egypt

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Players of world tourism sector will meet at The annual Azerbaijan International Tourism and Travel Fair, AITF 2018 will be organized from 5 to 7 April 2018 in Baku. The 17th exhibition will gather representatives of tourism business, national and regional tourism organizations, government structures and media on one platform that reflect the dynamics of incoming and outgoing tourism in the region. As a business tourism hub, the exhibition is the venue for important meetings, signing contracts and announcing new programs and destinations. It is where important meetings are organized, partnership agreements are concluded, and new programs and destinations are announced. Since its inception AITF is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In the last few years Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, has toured the exhibition and met with exhibitors and last year was no exception as the President Aliyev and his spouse, Mehriban Aliyeva visited the AITF 2017 exhibition, observed the exposition that reflects the regional tourist potential of Azerbaijan and familiarized themselves with the national pavilions of foreign countries. Bulgaria will be the partner country of AITF 2018.


tory of Boyoz reaching back to 15th century; is a contribution to Izmir's urban culture by Jews evicted from Spain after 1492 and who settled in large numbers in a number of prominent Ottoman cities of the period, among which Izmir stood out as one of the primary destinations. Boyoz is a pastry, brought to you from the city of Izmir formerly known as Smyrna Turkey, which is practically only city where it is prepared and follows the delicious original recipe described by Master Avram. Master Avram makes boyoz irreplaceable for people of Izmir. Boyoz paste is a mixture of flour, sunflower oil and a hint of tahini. It is kneaded by hand and the ball of paste is left to repose for 2 hours. The treatment performed through this process and the ingredients supplied by the same brands without change through the years ensure the unparalleled flavour of Boyoz. The tahini used in the dough not only increases the nutrient value of Boyoz, but also helps the dough to rise in layers and helps digestion. The scent of tahini also provides an indispensable complement. As such, in the eyes of Smyrnian, boyoz acquired the dimension of a symbol of their hometown or of their longing for it when away. Boyoz is essential part of breakfast for Izmir This traditional pastry is recommended together with stone oven egg. People tell this ''two plus one or three plus one'' when they are ordering. Plus, is referring to egg. The most widely preferred Boyoz is plain, without addition of meat or cheese or spinach stuffings, and as cooked by a handful of master Boyoz bakers in Izmir.

Traditional taste of Smyrna


The beating heart of art in Izmir

Arkas Art Center

Arkas Art Center brings the art aficionados of Izmir together with the unique themed exhibitions it hosts throughout the year. The Center opened its doors for yet another exhibition on 20th September, 2017. The paintings to be displayed at the exhibition “Landscapes of Water� are all from the Arkas Collection and most of them are going on display for the first time.


rkas, aiming to contribute to the development of the social and cultural scenes in İzmir, continues to invest in art. Arkas Art Center, established by Arkas in 2011, has been hosting many exhibitions and attractions to ensure that art is enjoyed by people of all age groups. Arkas Art Center, situated at the sea-fronting side of the building of Honorary Consulate of France in Izmir, which is one of the well preserved examples of the rare iconic buildings along the seaside ‘Kordon’ of the city, was opened after its restoration. The building, being saved from vanishing into the dusty pages of history, has also hosted the debut exhibitions of numerous international painters. Having become a centre of attraction for artists and art enthusiasts alike, Arkas Art Center is widelyknown for the Arkas Art Collection, which is comprising of a wide variety of valuable pieces including paintings, rugs, glassware, sculptures, books and various antiques, as well as for being the first institute to bring many valuable artworks to Izmir, thanks to the collaborations made with international museums, collectors and art institutes from around the world. Arkas Art Center opened its doors for yet another exhibition on 20th September. “Landscapes of Water” exhibition from the Arkas Collection invites art aficionados to a fabulous journey on the trail of the landscape painting in 19th and 20th centuries. The paintings to be displayed at the exhibition “Landscapes of Water” are all from the Arkas Collection and most of them are going on display for the first time. Through the works of renowned painters who treated in their works “water”, the source of life and existence, the exhibition sheds light on landscape painting, which represents an important part of Western painting. The selection, comprising works produced from the early 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century, brings together the eminent representatives of the European landscape painting under the roof of Arkas Art Center. The exhibition, which will host 88 paintings from 70

major names of landscape including Eugéne Boudin, Jean -Baptiste-Camille Corot, Maurice de Vlaminck, Francis Picabia, Henry Lebasque and Hippolyte Camille Delpy, will welcome visitors at Arkas Art Center from 20th September to 29th January. ‘WATER’, THE SOURCE OF LIFE, IS AT ARKAS ART CENTER The latest exhibition of the Arkas Art Center sheds light on landscape painting, which represents an important part of Western painting. The paintings to be displayed at the exhibition “Landscapes of Water” are all from the Arkas Collection and most of them are going on display for the first time. “Landscapes of Water”, offering the opportunity to witness a 150-year long historical course, unveils the vibrant art scene of the epoch, when Paris was the world-capital of arts. The 88 paintings on display, all of which are from the Arkas Collection, represent a myriad of movements and are a manifestation of the heavy concentration of talent during the era. The exhibition invites the viewer to a fabulous journey through the depictions of a vast geography extending from the coast of River Seine to the grasslands of Scotland, Alpine lakes, the sun-kissed Mediterranean, the North Sea, and rivers of Europe. 19th CENTURY: BACK TO MOTHER EARTH With numerous innovations and revolutions, the 19th century was a very fruitful era in terms of the development and transformation of arts as well. It was the first quarter of the 19th century when landscape painting started to be accepted as an independent genre. The atelier or studio tradition, which prevailed until this period, was replaced as painters of this new century left the four walls of their studios and took interest in en plein air (outdoor painting). Having seen the very concept and boundaries of art being questioned many times, this period marked the birth of new artistic movements such as Barbizon School, Impressionism, Symbolism, PostImpressionism, Fauvism and Expressionism while nature was flourishing on canvas through different expressions as painting styles evolved.

Arkas Art Center 1380 St. 3-1 Alsancak Izmir +90 232 464 6600

Wake up and smell the coffee

e in Turkey's beautiful city

IZMIR By Sarah Knapton

“Izmir finds itself at the crossroads of civilisations. It was the east of the west and the west of the east where culture, religion and mystics gathered and fused into elaborate tapestry. Mosques, synagogues and churches still sit happily side-by-side in testament to its embracing and liberal attitude.”


t’s unlikely that you will have heard of Pasqua Rosee. And yet, on your average walk to work, you probably pass more reminders of his legacy than anyone else’s. Rosee brought coffee to London. He opened his first coffee house in a shed in the churchyard of St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill in 1652. Rosee was the servant of a British goods trader named Daniel Edwards. Edwards had met

Previous page: A phaeton riding on Pasaport Quay -the old harbour line of the city. This page: The Clock Tower built in 1901 for the silver jubilee of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, is Izmir’s symbol in Konak Square. Ligthened in purple for the awareness of breast cancer.

Rosee in Izmir, Turkey, and brought him back to England, along with his recipe for a rich, thick mud-like drink known as "coffee." So popular was this new drink with Edwards’ London friends that he arranged for the beans to be imported and helped Rosee set up his first business. It was the start of a gastro-financial revolution. By 1675 there were more than 3,000 coffee-

Painting showing the general view of Izmir in 16th century. Dutch Consul visiting the “Kadi” or chief judge of the city at the bottom.

houses in England and Rosee had branched out in Europe, establishing Paris’ first coffee shop in 1672. His coffee house eventually inspired Procpopio Cuto to open the Café Procope which brought together the likes of Votaire, Rousseau and Thomas Jefferson and sparked the French enlightenment. And by 1688 Edward Lloyd, encouraged by the success of Rosee, had opened his own coffeehouse – Lloyds of London. It became an important meeting place for sailors, merchants, and ship owners and Lloyd kept them up to date with reliable shipping news. It was here that the modern insurance industry and stock market was born. And Turkish coffee, or kahve, had been responsible. The endlessly inventive milky, frothy, frappalatte-chinos churned out by Starbucks today bear little resemblance to the thimbles of muddy exotica enjoyed by the 17th century renaissance gentleman. But if you visit Izmir today you can still taste a drink which has changed

little in half a millennium. And all in a setting that inspired Homer to pen The Iliad and encouraged Alexander the Great to stop conquering for a while and take in the view. Prepared by boiling finely powdered roasted beans in a pot - or cezve - the coffee is left to settle into a thick, strong, sludge. The drinker can usually manage around four or five sips before the dregs at the bottom become too viscous to finish. So ingrained is coffee in Turkish culture that the Turkish word for breakfast, kahvaltı, means "before coffee" while the word for brown is kahverengi, literally "the colour of coffee". The Turks believed coffee to be a strong aphrodisiac and a spouse refusing to drink it was a legitimate cause for divorce. In Izmir you would be pushed to find a more tranquil or historically important spot to enjoy a cup than by the harbour. Dubbed "beautiful Izmir’ by the Turks, the city sits barely more than a few feet above the tideless Aegean, surrounded by mountains.

The climate is balmy and Mediterranean but the scorching summers are cooled by the refreshing sea breezes. The palm lined promenade of Kordon is bustling with bars, restaurants and coffee houses and gives off an exotically evocative aroma of Shisha pipes, spices and, of course, coffee. It faces west making it an ideal spot to catch the setting sun as it sinks into the harbour. The impressive Konak pier was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Its lattice work is based on the same engineering which holds up the Eiffel tower and the Statue of Liberty. Almost all of the great ancient empires, the Lydians, Persians, Romans and Ottomans, to name but a few, have seen their empires rise and fall between the walls of Izmir. And looking out across the water over to the mountains it is easy to see why settlers chose the port more than 8,500 years ago. Legend has it that the city was founded by the Amazons and was originally named Smyrna after the warrior-queen of Hellenistic mythology. The city was the birthplace of Homer and The Iliad was first recounted on the banks of the Meles stream, between 750 -700 BC. Modern day Izmir, however stands on a

slightly different spot to the original footprint of Smyrna, a curiosity brought about by Alexander the Great who according to legend was visited by the goddess Nemesis in a dream having stopped to rest on Mt Pagus, a hill outside the walls of the original city. Nemesis ordered the city be moved to the hillside. Whether anyone seemed to object to such a whimsical uprooting of an entire city is not recorded. The oracle of Claros predicted the citizens would be four times happier than before. Undoubtedly the city continued to prosper, largely driven by its location on important trade routes. Aristotle even travelled to give lectures nearby for three years. Strabo, the ancient geographer wrote that Izmir was the most beautiful Ionian city of the time, even rivaling nearby Ephesus. And a visit to Ephesus gives some hint as to how astonishing Izmir must have been in ancient times. At its height, Ephesus was the capital of the Asian part of the Roman Empire and housed a population of 200,000. Although only partly excavated Ephesus is a vast sprawling reminder of how advanced ancient cultures were. It is still possible to walk down one of

the multitude of ruined streets on a busy day in the tourist season and not encounter another soul. Cleopatra, Marc Anthony and St Paul all visited the city and it held the magnificent Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Although the temple has now gone, the faรงade of the Celsus Library is arguably one of the most beautiful and impressive examples of Roman architecture left standing. It was the third largest library in the classical world. Visitors entering the library can still pass the same four female statues representing wisdom, character, judgement and experience. Legend has it that Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to live near Ephesus with St John shortly before her death. Both Christian and Muslim pilgrims still travel to the small house on Mount Bulbul in which locals believed she died on August 15th every year. The grave of St John is also to be found nearby, under a later basilica. Izmir finds itself at the crossroads of civilisations. It was the east of the west and the west of the east where culture, religion and mystics gathered and fused into elaborate tapestry. Mosques, synagogues and churches still sit happily side-by-side in testament to

its embracing and liberal attitude. It is no wonder that amid such a convivial atmosphere of acceptance that the coffee houses flourished when they were first introduced in the middle of the 15th century. And with them came a whole mysticism of their own. While the Chinese were staring into tea leaves, a similar way of telling the future was being decoded from the coffee grounds in Turkey. Even today the locals are quick to swipe your cup away and peer into the dregs to pick out the shape of a butterfly or a ring or a mounted rider. And the mysterious potency of coffee travelled with the beans to London. It was said the new drink could stop headaches, cure wind, gout, scurvy, prevent miscarriages and sore eyes. It is unsurprising that coffee took on such allure given the area from which it originated. Izmir has been famed as a spot for healing since ancient times. The Agamemnon Spas which were cited by Homer are now known as the Balcova Spas and it is said their thermal waters can cure upper respiratory conditions, chronic infections, rheumatism, metabolism and skin

Halcyon Smyrnelis or Kingfisher of Izmir A bird nominated after Izmir City...

Previous page: “Kordon� is the famous waterfront of the city with many bars and restaurants. Next Page: Kizlaragasi Han, a 17th century inn which today is a perfect place for authentic shopping and having a cup of Turkish coffee.

problems. The spas at Cesme are also said to cure genealogical, urinary and liver problems. In the volcanic landscape of Alacati herbal baths are prepared using the waters which are renowned for treating bone and joint disorders. The region is also peppered with Turkish bath houses. So if you don’t wish to drink the mud there will always be someone nearby to coat you in it. Yet it is likely the famed good health of Izmir’s inhabitants was largely to do with the diet of its people. Despite straddling two continents the cuisine of Izmir is far more European than Asian. The oldest olive oil workshop in the world is found just 38km away in the fishing village of Urla, which dates from 4000BC. Aubergines, peppers and pumpkin and figs are all are all staples. Izmir’s Kofte, salted fish, and sardines cooked in vine leaves are famed throughout Turkey. In almost every street, carts sell freshly baked simit – a ring of bread coated in sesame seeds which is often eaten for breakfast. Inland the plains are famed for aniseed, artichokes, onions, melons and tangerines as well as some of the only mastic tree gardens in the world. Herbs grown for salad dishes include

mallow, stinging nettle, dandelions and teasel. The fishing boats still bring in a steady stream of red mullet, guilt headed bream, sea bass and whiting while the vines of huge vineyards soak up the sun on the mountainside. It is through its trade of such wines, food and oils as well as ongoing traditions of jewellery making and textiles that Izmir has flourished. The ancient Agora is one of the best-preserved Roman market places in the world, its vast three story arches standing testament to the importance of commerce in the city. The modern equivalent, the Kemeralti is similarly evocative. The old bazaar is a cavernous maze of jewellers, carpet sellers and, of course, coffeehouses. So the next time you are handing over your change for a cup of coffee, it’s worth remembering the role Izmir played. And not only in the coffee. For the world’s first parchment was created here in ancient times which would eventually lead to paper, cardboard and the cup holding your drink. The first metal coin was also struck in nearby Sardis. Izmir’s story is fascinating and well worth exploring. I could go on. But, strangely, I feel like stopping for a cup of coffee.

Sarah Knapton is the science editor of The Daily Telegraph in Britain. She visited Izmir on 2011 and this article was formerly published at The Telegraph on August 3rd, 2011.

Izmir travel tips

By Natalie Sayin

A detailed guide for the visitors of Turkey’s most overlooked city...


n 2012, CN Traveler called Izmir “Turkey’s most overlooked city” and they were right. Although it is the third largest metropolis in the country, it is often pushed into the shadows by the likes of Istanbul and Ankara. Let’s be honest though. Izmir cannot compete against Istanbul as a top city break destination, simply because it’s historical timeline is nowhere near as impressive, sordid or varied as the former Constantinople and Byzantium’s is. It does have a few gems, though, and on the list of places to go in Turkey, can come up trumps if you are a budget traveller. Having settled on the Aegean coast, I’ve visited Izmir many times over the last 15 years but mostly for work, a flying visit or to see the British consulate, hence my lack of photographs. I’m planning numerous trips this year (it is just down the road after all!) so this article about Izmir travel tips is a workin-progress gleaned from information I already know and from research I am completing for my up-and-coming trips. ABOUT IZMIR Smyrna is Izmir’s former name and the name used by the New Testament of the Bible when referring to it as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. These days, a majority of the population are Turkish but they embrace outside influences with open arms and this is seen in the dress style of locals as well as eating and watering holes and modern shopping malls with western brand names. The area is comprised of the main city centre and smaller coastal towns. HOW TO GET THERE Naturally as a large city, transport to Izmir is frequent and easy. International and domestic flights fly into Izmir Adnan Menderes airport from which the transfer time is roughly 45 minutes if you are staying in the main city centre. Since I live just up the coastline, I use buses to get to Izmir bus station (Otogar). With frequent routes to and from other major destinations in Turkey, and operated by some of the country’s largest bus companies including Pamukkale, Kamil Koc and Metro, it is a great way to travel. If you arrive at the bus station using one of The Clock Tower

Alsancak Forum Bornova Shopping Mall

the nationwide networks, go upstairs to use the smaller buses (dolmus) that will take you further to surrounding resorts and destinations on the Izmir Peninsula only. There are also two train stations, but I’ve never used them because flights or bus services are more frequent and easier. SHOPPING DISTRICTS OF IZMIR Izmir has roughly 15 shopping malls of which Optimum, the Kipa Park, Forum Bornova and Agora are highly rated. Alternatively, locals and tourists use the historic shopping district of Kemeralti that also sells souvenirs. The Kizlaragasi Han Bazaar within it, is a tourist attraction. Otherwise, International Brand name stores often set up shop in the Alsancak district. NIGHTLIFE AND EATING OUT This is not my area of expertise for me because I’m an “early to rise and early to bed” type of person. However, the Alsancak, Karsiyakka and Konak areas are known as the highlighted areas to party while all around the peninsula, many beach clubs operate as relaxed, hubs of fun during the day and turn into nightclubs with the latest western and Turkish dance music once the sun sets. Check the top list of restaurants in Izmir on Trip Advisor or the Wiki Travel Guide is also an excellent source for Izmir travel tips although I am rolling my eyeballs at the suggestions of KFC and Burger King!

Alacati Inhabited by Greeks until the 1920s, this resort has gained international fame as a popular windsurfing destination. During summer, windsurfing schools make a roaring trade and during August, hotel accommodation is sparse since this is the annual windsurfing festivals attended by sport fans from all over the world.

Cesme Just a short drive from Alacati, Cesme, a popular seaside destination for Turks has a general reputation as an ideal retreat for wealthy and influential people and this is often reflected in the hotel prices. Translated, the name means fountains, possibly referencing the numerous Ottoman fountains throughout the town. The most famous landmark in the town is the castle.

Foca This is another summer retreat for well to do Turks and the district separates in the old and new regions. Preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal and various species of flora and fauna have prompted the government to declare many zones as protected.

The above are well known and popular areas, although anyone wanting to get off the beaten track could look at the smaller villages and towns of Sefirhisar, Dikili and in between. WHAT TO SEE AND DO Izmir Wildlife Park: Keen to distance themselves from the typical stereotype view of a zoo, Izmir Wildlife Park surprised me with the exceptional care of its animals and the extensive information given to educate visitors about animal habitats and characteristics. Read more here Attractions in the city centre: Including Asanor, well known for its view and restaurant, and the famous clock tower landmark in Konak, attractions to visit are the ancient agora, partly funded by Alexander the Great, Kadifkale, the old castle with an amazing panoramic view of the city and the Balcova Cable car ride. I did also end up at the Izmir horse races one day, but that experience wouldn’t suit everyone! Discover more reasons to visit here People-watching and café culture are said to be best around the Kordon district while part of the attraction of the centre is also using the ferry services to get around. On my list to visit is the separate Archaeology and Ethnographic museums as

well as Saint Polycarp Church, the oldest Roman Catholic building in Izmir. Further Afield: Lovers of history will enjoy visiting Ephesus, the second largest city of the eastern Roman Empire. Roughly, one hour’s drive away, the ruins boast of terraced houses, a grand theatre, and the Celsus library that was the third largest in the ancient world. Alternatively, Pergamon, that was called the “Seat of Satan” in the book of Revelation, holds the steepest ancient theatre in the world and in recent years was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list.

Natalie Sayin is a freelance travel blogger and writer specializing in the country of Turkey. She loves hot summer days, historical sites and coffee. She is the owner of Turkish Travel Blog, which is a rich seam of information on Turkey.


‘New York City’ of the ancient world


phesus, which was one of the twelve Ion cities, developed as a result of a union of Ionian immigrants with the natives living near the temple of Kybele. Afterwards, the spectacular temple built for this goddess who then took the name of the Greek Goddess Artemis, would be famous as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Like the other Ionian cities, Ephesus was ruled by Lydia, Persia, Macedonia and lastly by the Roman rulers. This city was one of the most popular cities of the ancient world and was given a special attention by many Hellenistic kings. For instance it is known that Lysimakhos built this city and gave it his wife Arsinoe's name, and that the king of Pergamon Attalos II, enlarged the port. Because the Romans made Ephesus the capital of the Asian State, the city became one of the biggest settlements in Anatolia. The city was an important centre for Christianity at this time. Owing to its wonderful position and associated ports, Ephesus became Anatolia's biggest trade centre. The Celsus library, a theatre, a stadium, a gymnasium, temples and the famous baths are responsible for this city becoming a sport, religious, cultural and entertainment centre especially in the Roman times. CELCIUS LIBRARY It is the most important remains of the Ephesus antique city in the Izmir Selรงuk

province. Built during the Roman Period in 115-117, it survived a fire in the year 260. It is famous for its striking architecture of its two-story facade. The three rows of recesses in the inner walls of the library were used to store rolls of script. ARTEMIS TEMPLE This famous temple is one of the seven wonders of the world, and is also known as Artemission. It was first built in lonian style during 560-550 B.C. by the Lydian King Kroisos. After being burnt down in 356 B.C. by a lunatic, it was rebuilt on the same foundations, but its height was extended by 3 m. This temple, which is also famous for its marble statues, is 55.10 x 115 in dimensions and was the largest of all temple, which were discovered during digs by J.T. Wood in 1869-1874, and David G. Hogart in 1904-1905 in the name of the British Museum, were taken to England. HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY This house, where the Virgin Mary is supposed to have lived during her last days, and to have died with Johanna at her side, is situated 7 km south of Ephesus. The German Nun Katharina Emmerich (1774-1824) described the surroundings of the house from a dream she had. Lazarist monks in Izmir set out in 1891 to find the house based on sister Emmerich's description. They found the remains and built a chapel here. Pope John XXIII declared it a pilgrimage site in 1961.

Emeritus Pope Benedictus XVI visiting House of Virgin Mary in 2016.

Homer of Izmir

The first epic poet of the Western World, Homer, is from Izmir. As a blind story teller, it is believed that he used to tell his stories to an amanuensis. Strongest proof of Homer’s origin belonging to Izmir is his pseudonym “Melesigenes”, meaning the son of Meles creek -a thin water flowing down from hills of Izmir and uniting with Aegean Sea.

The bust showing Homer at Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke, Munich.

Traveller’s Tales

Serdar Celenk “With 8500 years of history, Izmir has an auld and sophisticated cuisine” Interview by ENGIN TATLIBAL

“Izmir, the city of healthy and long life” As a city having roots of 8500 years, Izmir has many things to discover. But these cultural entities are dispersed, says experienced tour guide Serdar Celenk. Emphasizing the five different roots of Izmir’s culinary culture, Celenk says the city needs to be described with themes healthy life and healthy cuisine. Celenk is also the Chair of Aegean Gastronomy Tourism Association. Could you tell about how Aegean Gastronomy Tourism Association came to light? When I discover a historical point, I often inform my close friends and want them to come and see. Some accept my invitation, but many not. Then I noticed that almost all of my friends are coming when I say “I’ve just found a restaurant serving incredible dry bean dishes.” So I thought to unite the culinary dimension with cultural activities, which is already a part of tourism. That’s the way the association was born. We started our journey with aiming to discover the right places and illuminating the gastronomic values of Izmir and Turkey. We are seven people currently in charge at the board. As a first step, we prepared the taste map of Kemeralti and Alsancak districts.

Sevketi bostan is also known as the blessed thistle. It’s a common herb in Izmir region and Izmirians cook it often with lamb meat or by using extra virgin olive oil.

What is the importance of Kemeralti district in terms of gastronomy? Just today, I’ve made a cultural tour for a group of 8 people including retired judges, doctors and engineers at Kemeralti. Those 8 people used to live in Izmir for many decades. But at the end of the tour, “We did not know that there were such values in Izmir” they said. Thanks to taste maps we prepared, more people started to visit Kemeralti. There are 14.500 shops in this area with more than 80 thousand employees, which makes Kemeralti the biggest open air shopping center of the world. Together with tourists, these 80 thousand people need good restaurants besides all. And there is. So, Kemeralti is very important for Izmir. The city has an auld and sophisticated cuisine. However, new malls are threatening this culture. I don’t think that it’s fair. What is your answer for a foreign tourist’s question as “Why should I visit Izmir?” There’s no distinct answer for this question, but there’s a pale one. Because tourism in Izmir is not denominated. Izmir did not wear a distinct tourism cloth till today. Yes, there’s a cloth on

her, but is this a sportive cloth? A formal dress? An historical costume? A beachwear? An educational cloth? White coat of a doctor? That’s not clear. Izmir is overdressed with all these and this makes her a little ratty. I’m not telling this in a less than flattering manner, but to underline the fact that touristic character of Izmir city cannot be described yet. And then, what do you think this description should be? Look, you immediately remember the term “Turkey’s gastronomy capitol” when I say Gaziantep, don’t you? So why shouldn’t we think the term “Turkey’s healthy cuisine capitol” or

“Turkey’s healthy elderliness capitol” when we say Izmir? Western society seeks a healthy and quality living with sports and healthy nutrition. If one asks me to denominate this city in terms of tourism, I would say “Izmir is the city of healthy and long living.” There’s not a second city in Turkey that deserves this description. Izmir has a compound cuisine consisting Cretan, Levantine, Balkan, Jewish and local cuisines. That’s a huge treasure. We have many sherbets and deserts. With just taking these factors to forefront, Izmir can easily gain a special position in global tourism market.

Top: Cipura is Izmir’s local fish from sparidae family. As being a fleshy and fatty fish, best way to cook is to ovendry or grill. Bottom: Serdar Celenk with famous musician, gourmet and traveller Ayhan Sicimoglu (left) and Dimitris Dilaveris.

One of the greatest cultural, scientific


ergamon (Bergama) was founded in the 3rd century BC as the capital of the Attalid dynasty. Located et the north of Izmir city, the heart of the Antique World, and at the crossroads between Europe and the Middle East, it became an important cultural, scientific and political centre. Creation of the capital on top of Kale Hill set the scene for the city. High steep sloping terrain and the BakĹrçay Plain were integrated into the urban plan. The exceptional composition of monuments includes the extremely steep theatre, the lengthy stoa, a three-terraced Gymnasium, the Great Altar of Pergamon, the tumuli, pressured water pipe-

lines, the city walls, and the Kybele Sanctuary which was perfectly aligned with Kale Hill. As the Attalid capital, Pergamon was the protector of cities in the Hellenistic Period. It had political and artistic power and built up a very intense relationship with its contemporary civilizations. The dynasty founded one of the largest libraries in Pergamon, and the rivalry between three Hellenistic dynasties caused the Attalid Dynasty to create the famous sculpture school. After the city was passed to the Romans in 133 BC, Pergamon became a metropolis and was the capital of the Roman Province of Asia during the Roman imperial period. The Romans

and political centers in ancient world

BERGAMA maintained the already existing structures of the Hellenistic Period while adding new functions as a cultural and imperial cult centre of the empire. Consequently, during the Roman Period, many important structures were built or further developed, including the Asclepion Sanctuary, a well-known healing centre whose sacred spring still flows; the Roman Theatre; one of the largest Roman amphitheatres; a great aqueduct; the Trajan Temple and the Serapeum. During the Byzantine Period due to the relocation of the trade roads and political centres from the Aegean Region to northwest Anatolia, especially to İstanbul (Constantinople), Pergamon was transformed from a major Hellenistic and Roman centre into a middle-sized town, and continued its culturalreligious importance as home to one of the Seven Churches of Asia. Pergamon now preserves and presents this transformation. After the arrival of the Ottomans, Pergamon experienced one more cultural adjustment, which is especially evident on the Bakırçay Plain. The Ottomans provided the city with all necessary urban structures, such as mosques, baths, bridges, khans, bedestens (covered bazaars), arastas (Ottoman markets) and water systems overlaying the Roman and Byzantine

settlement layers. The superimposition of all these different periods and cultures through continuous habitation in Pergamon, finds its reflection in Pergamon’s urban form and architecture as continuities, formations, transformations and losses due to the material existence and use of space by different eras and cultures. The re-use of structures by later cultures is particularly demonstrated by the Church of St. John, formerly part of the Serapeum, a sanctuary dedicated by the Romans to an Egyptian deity. It subsequently became an Ottoman Mosque as well as incorporating a Jewish Synagogue. From the 3rd century BC onwards, the city was encircled by a ring of grave mounds of various sizes, which demonstrated Pergamon’s claim to the plain of Bakırçay. In addition to grave mounds, there were sanctuaries, such as the Kybele Sanctuary at Kapıkaya, sited on prominent hills and mountain peaks in the area surrounding the city. Pergamon is a testimony to the unique and integrated aesthetic achievement of the civilizations. It incorporates Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman structures, reflecting Paganism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam; preserving their cultural features within the historical landscape.

Where To Go Next

Ayvalik is the olive capitol of Turkey. The region is among three most valuable olive oil production regions together with Toscana and Crete. The archiepelago of Ayvalik has also a wide range of alternatives in terms of diving, culinary discoveries and exploring the cultural heritage of Ottoman Orthodox community.


A niche brand from Turkey’s olive oil capitol, Ayvalik


CMRT Olive Oil

yvalik is located 170 km north of Izmir and along with Toscana and Crete, it is one of the three areas that olive oil is produced at the best quality all over the world. Mustafa Ibrahim Comert, the last generation representative of Comert family, takes its roots from the Ayvalik’s neighboring Lesvos Island of Greece. They have been producing olive oil since five generations and continue to produce 60 to 70 tons of high-quality olive oil each year with the CMRT brand. The roots of the Comert family are based on Gule Village of the Lesvos, overlooking Ayvalik. There were olive groves which belonged to the previous generations of the family and an olive oil factory named Bekir Comertogullari (Zade).

and the brand as: “Father of my grandfather started this work in Lesvos Island. In fact, the stones of our factory still stand in the square of our village there. With my great grandfather Bekir Comert, my grandfather Mustafa Comert came to Ayvalik in the years of population exchange with his brothers and they continued their work. The olive oil they produced had been exported even to Paris. At that time, this company sold 3.200 tons of boxed olive oil per year.” COMERT BECOMES “CMRT”

Comert tells us that they entered into a new process with the sale of the existing company in 1998: “When my great-grandfather died in 1998, the company could not collect what was Grandfather Mustafa Comert Senior, his brothowed to them and had to sell the company. This ers Ali, Yusuf and Mehmet, earned their living in meant the disappearance of the brand Comert. Lesvos by working with their father. In 1923, We were doing bulk oil olive business with Ali with the population exchange between Turkey Gureli at that time. People started to call and and Greece, the family that came to Ayvalik said that Comert olive oil was not its old good continued to produce olives and olive oil. quality any more. The company was not ours FROM LESBOS TO AYVALIK any more, but the production was produced in the name of Comert. As a result, when we Mustafa Ibrahim Cömert, who created the were doing bulk olive oil business we also enCMRT brand, describes the story of the family

gaged in the business of boxed olive oil in the brand of Comert to save our name. If you prune old olives, new produce will come out young and fresh, so, we had pruned the aged Comert and turned it into CMRT.”

which we collect in olive red and produce only 500 bottles, and we present it in white labeled bottles. We also have a very special oil with which we have received the Mario Solinas Award and we are preparing it in half-liter bottles. Our main business is bulk oil, but as LITTLE QUANTITY, HIGH QUALITY CMRT we produce 60-70 tons of very high qualiComert says they often do cold-pressed olive oil ty olive oil and appeal to the A segment. We production: “We are trying to do the normal produce skin cream out of olive oil. We use 0,6pressed like cold-pressed ones. Our bottles la- 0,7 acidity level oils to produce skin creams. beled with cream color are cold-pressed, our Therefore, we produce cream from edible qualibottles with green label have normal pressed ty olive oil. We use the same quality olive oil ones and our bottles labeled with burgundy with our soaps and shampoos. We use the contain essential oils. We also have olive oil, same scent as we did 80 years ago.”

Mustafa Ibrahim Comert

Ramadan Cetin’s journey of taste from Bulgaria to Ayvalik A life lived through with patience, effort, devotion just like an olive tree


930's... Migration season... Ramadan Cetin is heading for a new country with his family, to start a new page of his life... Edirne/Kesan, a new house, the first stop of a new life... After years of struggle, in 1965, second and the last stop, Altinova... As a new home for Ramadan Cetin and his family to grow, Altinova will be the homeland they longed for a beginning filled with successes. Ramadan Cetin's three children also opened their eyes in Altinova. Altinova was a turning point in Ramadan Cetin's life. The region’s

greatest natural gift was turned into a success story. By working with olive trees, Ramadan Cetin, the first entrepreneur industrialist of Altinova has provided many businessmen with work experience. Aktepe Region... Country of the miracle Ramadan Cetin created... The most productive land of Ayvalik is located in the Aktepe Region and it’s a paradise for the olive trees… The extraordinary taste given to olives by the region has been proved by researches made. Olive trees that catch perfection with the combination of

light and wind offer the most fertile and nutritious olive oil to human beings... Ramadan Çetin, who added quality, experience, patience and self-sacrifice to the olives of Aktepe Region, offers the same flavor to the tables he had been a guest of for many years. Ayvalik's most beautiful olive oil is so indescribable... Ramadan Cetin, who thinks about the people you love as much as you brings perfection to meals by processing the olAdile Cetin Temiz ives of nature's greatest heritage in different flavors and aromas. A life that hosts all the meanings of the olive... A life lived through with patience, effort, devotion just like an olive tree... This is a story of flavor extending from Bulgaria to Ayvalik, from the Cetin family to a family... This story is told by Adile Cetin Temiz; General Manager of Ramadan Çetin Olive Oil. Here’s what she tells: “We are a well-established family that has built the first continous olive oil factory in the Altinova region and have been producing for about 30 years. Two years ago, in the year 2015 our company, which operates in the form of serving olive oil and garlic, was branded... As Ramadan Çetin Olive Oil, we produce high quality olive oil from harvested olives and harvest them with our brand. We're working with coldpressing. In this sense, we offer the highest quality product and all our product groups have cold-pressed olive oil.

Where To Go Next

One of the most important naval bases of Ottoman Empire is Sigacik -known as the small port of Seferihisar, Izmir. Today, you can find plenty of local products to buy in this “CittaSlow� village. Tomato paste, artichoke, Turkish delight with mandarin and jams are the unusual flavors. The harbour lined multicolored fishing boats is a unique haven for wearies of city.


Sphere | Global Travel Magazine of Turkey

General Coordinator: Engin Tatlibal Contributors: Sarah Knapton, Natalie Sayin Sectoral Counsellor: Duygu Erdogan Tatlibal

Bimonthly Online Magazine | November 2017 | Nr. 2

Sphere | Global Travel Magazine of Turkey Nr.2  
Sphere | Global Travel Magazine of Turkey Nr.2  

Find all about Turkey as a major travel destination, best holiday places in Turkey, news & events and interviews with prominent public figur...