Managing the Historical Port City of Izmir: Engaging diverse actors with the living heritage

Metropolitan Municipality of Izmir
Published: 17 July 2023
Last edited: 17 July 2023
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The historic port city of Izmir (Türkiye) is composed of the historic commercial centre, with its traditional bazaar (Kemeralti) and the residential areas, and archaeological sites dating back 8500 years.

To ensure the conservation of this heritage place, a 5-year Management Plan was approved and put into force in 2022. The plan oversees the new governance structure including public and private institutions: the Izmir Governor’s Executive Board managing the Kemeralti bazaar; the Historical Kemeralti Construction Investment Trade Inc. (TARKEM) carrying out real-estate business, restoration projects, and managing business; the Conservation and Development of City Values Association of İzmir (HERITAGE-IZ) dealing with awareness raising, and the Association of Tradesmen of Kemeralti participating in the implementation of the management plan.

The Izmir Governor’s Executive Board also includes public authorities (Metropolitan Municipality of Izmir, the directorate the Waqfs) and also NGOs.


West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Buildings and facilities
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Infrastructure maintenance
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor governance and participation


İzmir, Türkiye


Izmir is a living heritage place representing an historic coastal trading landscape. So far, the historical city centre has been neglected due to a lack of cooperation between the public institutions and responsible bodies.


Despite the limited efforts of the Metropolitan Municipality of Izmir and the district municipality on conserving the heritage site, the holistic conservation approach and the site management plan were lacking. The beneficiaries of the Management Plan are therefore both the citizens of Izmir and specifically the shopkeepers in Kemeralti, as well as the governing authorities. With this inclusive management process, the awareness of the institutions about the heritage of the Port City of Izmir has increased and the participation of the representatives of the local community has been enriched. The full-time employed experts and professionals assigned from public institutions working together in the Site Management Office facilitated the coordination between authorities. This created a synergy between public authorities and the appointed managing body improving the governance of the heritage place.

Contributed by

jorzedikka_43126's picture

Merve Çalışkan Metropolitan Municipality of Izmir