Different institutions in the city have stepped into action to register four new areas in İzmir as World Heritage Sites in addition to Ephesus and Pergamon, and make İzmir one of the cities with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Within the framework of the vision partnership in this field, officials of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, district municipalities and representatives of non-governmental organizations met at the “İzmir Tourism and UNESCO World Heritage Sites” workshop in Bergama with the invitation of the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and Izmir Foundation.
Tunç Soyer, Mayor of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, Gökçen Kaya, İzmir Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gökhan Bozkurtlar, President of the Identification and Planning Department of the General Directorate of the Cultural Heritage and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Suat Çağlayan, former Minister of Culture and Tourism and Assistant Vice President of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, Hakan Koştu, Mayor of Bergama, Adil Kırgöz, Mayor of Dikili, representatives of the UNESCO National Commission of Turkey, field teams from UNESCO World Heritage organization, officers from İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, representatives of NGOs, council members and academicians attended the “Tourism in İzmir and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites” workshop organized in Bergama with the invitation of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and İzmir Foundation to bring the promotion of UNESCO sites in the city together.
Mayor Tunç Soyer stated that the relevant institutions have made great efforts in this regard, but these efforts shall be brought together and added that “We strongly require to achieve coordination and a holistic management in terms of both physical and organizational aspects for all UNESCO sites in İzmir. There are 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 83 UNESCO World Heritage Candidate Site throughout Turkey. Two sites, namely Ephesus and Pergamon, in İzmir are listed in the permanent list of World Heritage sites. The sites included in the provisional list and at the application stage are Kemeraltı, Birgi, the Genoese trade route, which cover the castles of Foça-Çandarlı-Çeşme, and the Gediz River Delta. Thanks to the coordination we initiated here, we will provide access for the tourists visiting any UNESCO site in İzmir to the other heritage sites. We will make it easier for tourists who are visiting us to reach Bergama in the north, Ephesus in the south, Birgi in the east, Kemeraltı and Gediz Delta in the city center, and Çeşme, Dikili and Foça on the coasts.”
Four new sites on their way to become an UNESCO site
In the second session of the workshop, teams working in the UNESCO sites in İzmir met up. After sharing the current conditions and their goals in the short term, the teams assessed the topics they can become partners and the collaborations that will be created during the process.
Having an important geography on a global scale with its cultural and natural assets, İzmir has many areas that meet the criteria for UNESCO World Heritage sites. As a result of the studies carried out with different stakeholders in the city, process has been started to add historical İzmir, which covers Kemeraltı and its surroundings, Birgi, Gediz River Delta and finally the Foça, Çandarlı and Çeşme castles, which are part of the Genoese trade route, to the permanent list. For Ephesus and Bergama, which are on the permanent list, the process for updating the site management plans is under work. When the process is completed, a total of six sites in İzmir will have the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site.