diumenge, 6 de gener de 2008

Impressions of İzmir I


(llig-ho en català)

Our route in Turkey was from Istanbul to Bandırma by ship and then to İzmir by train. Here we would spend 9 days. İzmir is a coastal city along the Egean Sea, it is one of the main harbours in Turkey. Currently more than 3 million people are living there and it seems that is one of the most westernised places in Turkey. Maybe that is the reason that they are applying to hold the Expo 2015.

From the promenade seafront the view of the city leaves no one indifferent. You can see the seacoast in the other side of the gulf, where the hills are crowded with buildings which are apparently put without rhyme or reason. You cannot see a break or a patch free from construction. I was surprised by the fact that I had never heard about this city so far. The Mediterraenan-like and touristic atmosphere, with all the palm trees and the sea front apartments made one of my friends remind of Cullera, a Valencian city well-known by tourists from Madrid. Of course that is incomparable as İzmir is 133 times bigger than Cullera!

The city is divided into districts, each has its own mayor or person in charge of the municipal district. In İzmir we stayed at Alsancak district and we had the chance to meet the mayor the day we promenade along the Basmane area. It is an old part of the town where there are not big buildings but cobbled streets and family two-floored houses which were built at the beginning of the 20th century. They showed us some of them which followed the same style: wooden floor and plastered ceiling, an interior balcony decorated with vegetal motifs and a garden at the back. The glazed tiles on the ground are richly coloured and are familiar to me. They are very similar to those you could find in an old Valencian house. It seems that the City Council is restorating some of these buildings in order to set up a place to carry out activities for women as for instance tailoring lessons.