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18
January

​Izmir prepares for UNESCO

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The Aegean province of Izmir in Turkey is expected to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2023 with the old city taking place in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. The work has started to resuscitate and protect the historic fabric in the old city. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality gives priority to the historic Kemeralti bazaar which is located in the middle of the old city. With a resource of 200 million Turkish liras (26,5 million dollars), the infrastructure of the historical Kemeralti bazaar has started to be strengthened, improvement projects are implemented in the region and green space designs are renewed. When the works are completed, Kemeralti and its surrounding will convert into an active 24-hour city center, Mayor Tunç Soyer said.
 
With the UNESCO World Heritage status, Kemeralti will become the locomotive of urban tourism and the hearth of Izmir, according to the Mayor.  

Stating that they are trying to evaluate the coming process very well in order to enter the permanent list, Soyer said, “In the same time the project continues at a full speed on the historical Kemeralti-Agora-Kadifekale route. There is a ‘new Ephesus’ neighbor on Agora: the Smyrna ancient theater. The theatre currently being excavated, was the socio-cultural center of the ancient city of Smyrna between the 2nd and 4th century B.C. and became one of the largest theaters in the Mediterranean with a capacity of approximately 21,000 people. The excavations will be completed in 2023 and then only then Izmir will have a ‘new Ephesus’. Also it is very important that the ancient theater will come to light for the Kemeralti-Agora-Kadifekale route. After the theatre comes to light fully, the Kemeralti project completes, and the historical route surfaces, Izmir’s past will meet with its present.” 
 
The old city located between Kadifekale and Kemeralti has a cultural memory of 2,500 years. It is defined as a multi-layered open air museum that contains the traces of the Hellenistic period, Ancient Rome, Byzantine, Ottoman and The Republic of Turkey. Kemeralti bazaar known as one of the largest and oldest open-air shopping centers in the world, has a very colourful cultural structure with its mosques, churches and synagogues. There are more than two thousand registered monumental and civil architecture examples.
 
Historical Kemeralti Construction Investment Trade Inc. (TARKEM) assumes responsibility for the UNESCO nomination process. The old city of Izmir was added to UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2020 and the decision will be made for the permanent list in 2023.
 
UNESCO World Heritage List is determined by the World Heritage Committee. Each country guarantees the preservation of its natural and cultural assets on the list.
 
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