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Agia Voukla (Agios Voukolos) Church, Basmane, İzmir

Etiler Mahallesi, 1281. Sk. 11 A, 35240 Konak/İzmir



The church is dedicated to one of the disciples of St. John the Evangelist, Hagios Boukolas, who was also the bishop of Smyrna before St. Policarp. It is of cross plan placed in east-west direction. The architecture has neo-classical elements but the exterior walls are quite plain but nice masonry of stone and brick. The interior was restored including some religious figures. There are also decoration elements resembling the Baroque style.
It was built in the second half of the 19th century and it is the only Greek Orthodox Church survived in the Great Fire occurred in 1922 when the Greek Army was leaving the city against approaching Turkish Army. Due to immigration exchange between Turkey and Greece, there was no congregation left and the building ceased to function as church. Between1924 and 1951 it served as the archaeological museum. It was used by the State Opera and Ballet as the storage room. Recently it was renovated by the the Metropolitan Municipality of Izmir and re-opened as a cultural center. Within the same courtyard, there is a museum of press and media.
This renovated church now serves as a cultural center. Although it is in downtown area, it is still remote from the contemporary attraction centers of modern İzmir. For the locals it is a heritage from the past that was gone long ago. It also gives an important opportunity to talk about multi-ethnic and multi-religious history of the city of Izmir, especially in the Ottoman Era. The Christian population of the city was overwhelmingly Greek Orthodox. There was a considerable amount of members of other Christian sects as well. Turkey faced an immense internal migration from the country side to the bigger towns starting from 1950s and İzmir was not an exception. The restoration project carried out by the local authorities also indicates an important political initiative in order to project and preserve cultural heritage.
The multi-ethnic and multi-religion society of Izmir enjoyed decades of prosperity in the 19th century until the break of WWI. Even the city had a mixed population; demographic structure was well defined by districts. The business was mostly in the hands of Levantines and among different districts they dwelled, Bayraklı became a center of attraction in the late 19th century. With the population exchange in 1922 between Greece and Turkey, the demographic structure of the city drastically changed becoming overwhelmingly Muslim. Other minorities In due course of time the numbers of Christians and Jews living in the city decreased.
The didactical relevance and the proposed way to use with the students:
- Direct visit
A direct visit, if possible, would be the best way for students to experience the atmosphere of the place.
- Virtual visit (specify how)
A PPT presentation prepared by the tutor enriched with visuals.
- Classroom activity (pre- and post- visit)
Pre-visit activity: A research by students for religious buildings with new functions defined.

- Discussion on religious buildings with new functions different from the religious one. How they will feel if a church, mosque or a synagogue in their region is converted into a place with a new function other than the religious one.


    • A Festival For The City’s Memory?
      Işıklı, H. (2015). A Festival For The City’s Memory? in Cultural memory : Conference Proceedings, Skopje, 5-7 September 2013, pp.35-44. Skopje: Knigoizdatelstvo MI-AN.
    • Ayavukla Church
      This site contains some textual information on the church and plenty of photos concerning before and after the restoration works.

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    This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.