Historical Port City of Izmir: 18 April and UNESCO Studies from Past to the Future Workshop

As IZTECH Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage Department, we would like to present to you the workshop that we are a stakeholder for this year’s April 18 International Day for Monuments and Sites:

Historical Port City of Izmir: 18 April and UNESCO Studies from Past to the Future Workshop

Host Institution: Izmir Institute of Technology

Organizing Institutions: Governorship of Izmir, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Izmir Institute of Technology, TARKEM, Historical Port City of Izmir Site Management Office,

Dates: 17th – 18th April 2024

Place: Historical Akın Passage, Konak/İzmir

Within the scope of the Historical Port City Site Management Plan (2022-2027), conservation studies have been carried out in collaboration with stakeholder institutions since 2021.

In this context, the Historical Port City of İzmir Site Management Office develops relations with academic institutions in Izmir on the conservation of cultural heritage. The Izmir Historical Port City Site Management Office has celebrated 18 April “International Day for Monuments and Sites,” with various participatory events for the past two years.

As underlined in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, heritage places that have been preserved from past to present always face various risk factors, such as natural disasters, human-induced destruction, and decay over time. Conservation of heritage for interpretation of todays’ societies, transmission to future generations, is of transgenerational public interest. It is important to develop risk studies for cultural heritage sites, both for Türkiye, where natural events such as earthquakes, fires, and floods frequently occur, and for the whole world.

In this context, it is aimed to establish a UNESCO Chair focused on cultural heritage and risk at the Izmir Institute of Technology (IZTECH), located in Izmir, where world heritage candidate areas such as the Izmir Historical Port City, Birgi, and Genoese Castles are located, in addition to the Ephesus and Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape World Heritage sites. The UNESCO Chair, which is intended to be established, will accelerate conservation and risk management studies not only for archaeological sites and registered buildings but also for urban heritage, which is still living.

IZTECH is an outstanding research institution in its region. The Site Management Office manages the conservation work in the historic port city of Izmir. We have been considering the establishment of a UNESCO Chair at IZTECH in coordination with the Site Management Office to cope with challenges of urban and architectural conservation, such as earthquakes, climate change, extreme events, tsunamis, and access to clean water. Our team has researchers from different backgrounds: civil engineers, city planners, and conservation architects who specialize in the abovementioned challenges.

Our overall goal is to utilize the UNESCO Chair in IZTECH as a research hub that combines scientific studies in risk management and cultural heritage and implement these studies on-site in collaboration with responsible public institutions and stakeholders. The UNESCO Chair will help to improve the capacity building of public and local actors, increase collaborative studies with public institutions, local governments, universities, professional chambers, and NGOs, and raise awareness in risk management for our shared heritage.

The theme for 18th April 2024 by ICOMOS was determined as “Disasters & Conflicts Through the Lens of the Venice Charter”. Izmir Institute of Technology carried out studies to establish a UNESCO Chair on the theme of Cultural Heritage and Risk Management in cooperation with the Site Management Office. In this regard, a panel and workshop titled “The Historical Port City of Izmir: 18 April and UNESCO Studies from Past to the Future” is organized in Izmir on the 17th and 18th April to celebrate 18 April International Day of Monuments and Sites, and to evaluate ongoing UNESCO Chair studies together with relevant stakeholders.

The panel and workshop are programmed to be open to a wide range of audiences, such as public institutions, universities, and professional chambers. “The Historical Port City of Izmir: 18 April and UNESCO Studies from Past to the Future” will be an important turning point in bringing cultural heritage studies in Izmir to the international level.