Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Izmir, my sweet and beloved city
If one day I die far away from you
May them bring me to you
But, when taking me to my grave
May them not say of me ''HE DIED''
May they say ''HE IS SLEEPING''
My sweet.
by Dario Moreno

May I take you for a tour into the ''Pearl of the Aegean''?

Pearl of Aegean: Izmir. The city was called Smyrna the early years of 3000 B.C. or late 1800 B.C. In the Turkish era the city was called Izmir. Turkey's third largest city. It's widely regarded as the most Westernized city of Turkey in terms of values, ideology, lifestyle and gender roles. Modern Izmir also incorporates world-famous ancient Greek cities like Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis and La Maison de la Vierge (Turkish: Meryemana).

Izmir is my favorite place in this country to live happily after Istanbul:) Here are 4-categories that I summarize my love for Izmir: summer vacation in Aegean blue, especially Cesme beach -I become a chocolate girl under its hot summer like seen above:), art, Old Greek culture and history. View the photos to see WHY:

There's an antique, a treasure in the Pearl of Aegean: today's the 100 year-old historical Asansor (Turkish spelling for the French ascenseur, or lift in English) at the Street of Dario Moreno. It's the City's famous public elevator and unique symbol.

It was constructed in 1907 by a wealthy Jewish banker and trader, charitable called Nissim Levy Bayraklioglu in Izmir's Karatas quarter, within the boundaries of Konak district. His aim to build it was to ease a passage from the narrow coastline of Karatas to the hillside and serving to carry people and goods through the steep cliff between the two parts of the quarter. Before it was constructed, those who lived in the neighbourhood of Halil Rifat Pasa 50 metres above sea level had to climb a flight of 155 steps. The pair of lifts are contained in a tower-like building 51 metres in height.

Originally one of the lifts was steam driven and the other worked by electricity, but during the restoration in 1985 the steam driven lift was also converted to electricity. The bricks of the Tower were imported from Marseilles (France). Technical side of a lift is not an unknown matter for me, as it makes a quick link to state about my experience that I've worked for the Swiss Manufacturer of elevator-escalator-moving walkways, Schindler Group, employed as the Quality Control Engineer, auditing and management of q'ty procedures in the Quality Team.

The street where Asansor situated is named Dario Moreno Street (Turkish: Dario Moreno Sokagi), in memory of the famous singer-composer Dario Moreno (1921-1968) of 1940's, that he was one of the residents of the Street, who was to attain fame later. This small street was recently restored and since then, became one of the landmarks of Izmir. The street is lined by old Izmir houses which gives me the impression making a journey back in time. The magnolia and jasmine trees in the front of houses spread it a peacefully atmosphere. I love very much this former Jewish quarter!

On the wall next to Moreno's front door is inscribed above poem My Dear Izmir (Turkish: Canim Izmir), that he composed expressing his last wishes. As you see, a man, passionately fond of his native land, declared like above.

Boarding the lift, you look out of the small windows in the tower as you rise upwards. The Asansor makes no intermediate stop on its way up to the cliff, as it's attached by iron rods. At the top, a broad bridge leads into the part of the tower, which it is now a Restaurant, that when it's summer it's very enjoyable romantic to eat out on these two linked terraces.

The terrace has a breathtaking panoramic view over the city and the bay, see the photo below. Very very romantic! There is an open-air café, cultural centre, a delicious restaurant and a Genoese tavern. A spiral staircase leads down to a bar on the lower floor, where original Genoese suits of armour brought from Italy are on display.

The restaurant is perfect for fine dining. All settings used here is imported to reflect the historical atmosphere where you can drink your wine and listening to the pianist playing. The spectacular view visible from inside the restaurant is revealed in all its glory from the terrace. Asansor and its magnificient terrace is my top favorite spot when I go to Izmir:)

This is so special City whose magnetism makes unfogettable memoires! Even when you are far away, like me, but its memory drags your heart:)


  1. I love the weaving photo. Very impressive.

  2. aaah smyrna, the legandary city in the east. place of encounters and cultures through the ages. today a booming and popular city for tourists. thanks nihal for sharing some interesting facts of the city and ofcourse mentioning moreno and his beloved izmir.

  3. Thank you for the wonderful tour. I so appreciate being able to get an insider's view of places I will probably never see for myself.


  4. @ Darla: Be optimistic, dear Darla. I've got indeed an ever growing-up wish-list about the wonders of world which I wanna visit. Believe in miracles about the life:)