Kemeralti in Ottoman Empire

It’s impossible to separate Kemeraltı from the history of Izmir. There have been lots of places which got famous during years of powerful empires but also there have been lots of places which lost their importance afterwards. Kemeraltı when it wasn’t known for its trade, ancient harbour cities like Ephesus, Miletos and Heraklia had already got the reputation for commerce. Later, in the 13th century, when those places started to lose their power, with Genoa Empire, thanks to its protected harbour, Kemeraltı became more efficient in commerce. This period continued like this till 17. Century when Kemeraltı found a more important place for itself in the Ottoman city system.

In the 1600s in the Ottoman Empire, when Izmir’s reputation rose even higher, non-muslim communities had a tendency to continue their commerce in Izmir, which created a class of people called ‘’Levanten’’. In those times, Europeans used to call Izmir ‘’Petit Paris’’ which comes to meaning ‘’Small Paris of Ottoman’’, and Latins used to call Izmir ‘’Elle Fiore del Levanti’’ which comes to meaning ‘’the flower of Levanten’’.

Smyrna Square & Harbour 001