Title: Smyrna [1870-1922]. City and Architecture. The contribution of the Greeks

Author: Vasilis Kolonas

Year: 2023

Publishing House: University Studio Press

Subject: Architecture

Pages: 272

Technical Features: 20,5 x 28

What is the iconography of Smyrna, the most important port of the Eastern Mediterranean before the destruction of 1922? The publication highlights its renewed image and the contribution of the Greeks in the process of its modernization. Their active participation in the public and private architecture of the city, in parallel with the emergence of the cosmopolitan and multicultural society of Izmir, as an economic and ideological framework for architectural creation, is presented in the light of new evidence, the result of long-term research in public and private archives. The timeframe of the study corresponds to the beginning of a period of major modernization projects and the fire of 1922, when, in addition to the tragic test of the human factor, the image of the last spring for the city’s multi-ethnic society collapsed. The final blow to the cosmopolitanism of ‘infidel’ Smyrna was the compulsory exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. As far as the structure of the text is concerned, the general characteristics of urban space, as it was formed in the context of the Ottoman reforms, are first examined, followed by a detailed presentation of the buildings due to the initiative of the Greek community, buildings housing commercial and leisure uses and, of course, the various types of housing found in the city and the suburbs. The publication also points out the radiance of this architecture in the wider Asia Minor area, but also in the Aegean area opposite, as the two-way routes were not limited to the level of scholarly architecture, but were also transferred to the popular tradition. Instead of an epilogue, as an afterword, the architecture of the now refugee dwelling in the new homeland, Greece, is briefly presented, when the refugees were forced to adapt their former way of life to the new reality.
• Vasilis Kolonas is professor emeritus at the Department of Architecture of the University of Thessaly.

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