Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Distraction: A Video Tour of the Turkish City of Izmir

by Nomad

Not too long ago, I posted some photos of Izmir which some of you found interesting. I thought I would follow up with a few video clips. These clips come from the city of Izmir only and not from the more beautiful outlying areas. Still, it's a lovely town, I think.

Let's begin with some random scenes of Izmir. Do yourself a favor and turn down the volume for this video. The music is lousy.

Next, we go to the ancient shopping district of Izmir. The name of the area is Kemeralti, which inexplicably translates to "below the belt." The market itself dates back to the end of medieval times- around mid 17th century.
The video is mostly a tour of the Konak area, which includes the shopping area as well as the municipal government offices.

In the next video, we stay in the Kemeralti shopping area.  I will caution you to turn down your volume. The poor videographer learns the hard way that you should not stand too close to a mosque when the call to prayer begins. It probably sounds exotic to foreigners.

There isn't really a downtown area like in most American cities. The Kordon is, however, the main entertainment part of town, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.(There's no actual downtown, as compared to a typical American city.)

At one time, the Kordon used to sit at the edge of the seaside. Then came a plan to build to build a highway right through the heart of the best part of the city! It was controversial, to say the least.
Fortunately, the idea was scuttled.
Now you will see a large park between the sea and the Kordon. Almost every evening, people- especially young people- come and sit and talk at this park.
Bicycles can be rented as well, although I haven't tried it yet.

If you get lucky you might find street performers giving free mini-concerts like this at the seaside park. 

Behind the Kordon are the backstreets of Alsancak. Alsancak is the upscale part of Izmir. Most foreigners prefer to live there. It is a prime meeting place being centrally located in any direction. 

But in the backstreets, you can find a lot of lively bars and balik (fish) restaurants. With coffee houses in converted Ottoman homes, tucked-away bookstores and live entertainment, it's an adventurous tourist's wonderland. It's my favorite part of town because you can find whatever you want there. You can party till dawn or, on another street, spend a quiet summer evening drinking wine and conversing with your circle of close friends. 

This area caters more to the youth culture of Izmir. That's a big deal. The median age in Turkey is around 30 years with around 73.4% of the total population living in the urban areas, like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.

Among other things, I've included a casual stroll through a typical Turkish farmer's market where you can purchase fresh locally-produced fruit, vegetables, and cheeses.
These places are open one day a week but every neighborhood has its local market. So you always have a chance to buy fresh and cheap produce.

Also, you will cross the Bay of Izmir by ferry and finally, to my part of town, Karsiyaka.

Here's the seaside of Karsiyaka, with its ferry boat station. Right across the street from that station are some bars where I have spent many an hour.

Because of a recent diplomatic spat between Turkey and the US, tourist visas are no longer being issued between the two countries. I can't tell you how long this situation will last. Once it is resolved, I hope you will come and visit me.