At İzmir’s opposite shore lies the suburb of Karşıyaka, which, coincidentally, means “Opposite Shore”. The Greeks called it Koredlio (Κορδελιό). It’s a nice, quiet area that has pretty much nothing interesting to deter visitors away from İzmir proper, unless you’re into historic Levantine homes. If you are, you’re in luck!
Karşıyaka’s surviving Levantine homes were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Italian, Dutch, and German businessmen. They have mostly been restored and are now used for a variety of purposes, such as schools, restaurants, and cultural centers. They are all conveniently located along a stretch of Cemal Gürsel Caddesi, about 20 minutes walking from one house to the last.
The first one I found is the Club Petrococchino, now being used as a café and teacher’s club. Further to the west I found the Löhner Home, built by a German who made his fortune exporting raisins. It’s now an English school.
Next is the Van Der Zee Home, built by Dutch ship owner Heinrich Van Der Zee and now serving as a Greek restaurant. The Penetti Home was built by Armando Penetti, an engineer and machinery importer whose descendants still live in Turkey. Finally, there’s the Aliotti Home, built around 1914. It’s currently owned by Turkish businessman Durmuş Yaşar.
Another Levantine structure that sits a few blocks inland from the Löhner Home is St. Helen Catholic Church. It was built in 1905.
Along Cemal Gürsel Caddesi there’s a nice seaside promenade with great views of İzmir, lots of grass, and a few small parks with public artwork or monuments. The buildings on the other side of the promenade along the road are mainly tall apartment or office buildings with the Levantine homes mixed in.
Inland near the İZBAN train station (where I arrived from Bayraklı İstasyonu near the Tepekule Ancient Smyrna settlement) is the Latife Hanım Köşkü, a summer home belonging to the family of Atatürk’s wife, Latife Hanım, who was born in İzmir. The home was built in the 1860s and was restored and opened to the public in 2008 as a museum.
A pedestrian street, Kemal Paşa Caddesi, links the train station to the ferry terminal. It’s lined with all kinds of shops, businesses, and a few restaurants.
All in all, I spent about 2 hours wandering through the area, but the best part about my visit to Karşıyaka was the ferry ride to Pasaport İskelesi. It was an enjoyable 20 minutes with great view of the entire bay.