Reconstructing the Memory of the City Through In-Situ Material Traces: Ancient Agora, Kemeralti Bazaar and Konak Square in Izmir

Katmer Koçkar, Gülsüm
The memory of a city is inscribed not only in its monuments but also in the physical traces and fragments that are the remnants of its past. Cities are formed by human societies in time through architecture. Historical city centers that are places, which incorporate urban memory, provide connections with the past. Since the turn of the 21st century, the display of multi-layered urban areas in historic city centers has been the subject of the city branding policies due to the growing worldwide interest in their historical heritage. Urban and collective memory have been affected by certain historical narratives that dominate. In Izmir, the local government has formed a consensus with the participation of the local actors for the adoption of a comprehensive conservation policy that has highlighted Izmir’s historical identity and the collective memory of the citizens since the late 1990s. This research focuses on three neighboring sites in the historic center of Izmir reflecting different periods of the city where distinctive implementation strategies have been adopted, such as urban archaeology, urban design, conservation and revitalization: The Ancient Agora of Smyrna, the Kemeraltı Bazaar, and the Konak Square. The ongoing archaeological excavations of the monumental remains of the Roman State Agora highlights the significance of the physical endurance in the continuity of urban memory. The urban fabric, which was built upon the Agora of Smyrna in successive periods, was cleared off to display the glorious Hellenistic and Roman past of the city. Kemeraltı Bazaar, on the other hand, that was formed as a trade center and expanded on the ancient harbor in the Ottoman period, continues its vitality today. The administrative center of Izmir, Konak Square, has been the primary intervention area because it is the most visible public space of the city. In 2003, an urban design project was implemented prioritizing the place of the square in the collective memory as a public place. Architect Ersen Gürsel reorganized the square through subtle historical references. This study examines the selected projects implemented and developed in the historical core of Izmir, with a theoretical framework that comprehends the concepts on the urban and collective memory, and history.


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Citation Formats
G. Katmer Koçkar, “Reconstructing the Memory of the City Through In-Situ Material Traces: Ancient Agora, Kemeralti Bazaar and Konak Square in Izmir,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.