Were the relationships between streets, homes, and groups inhabiting them wholly accidental and of short duration, then men might tear down their homes, district, and city, only to rebuild another on the same site according to a different set of plans. But even if stones are moveable, relationships established between stones and men are not so easily altered.
(Halbwachs 1980, p. 133)
As you approach contemporary İzmir from the bay, the city that lies ahead of you invokes images of a fortress city. It is enveloped by an unbroken concrete wall made up of tall apartment buildings, one morphing into the other, only to be interrupted by narrow streets. Republic Square, located at the very tip of the bay, resembles a gate to this immense fortress. If you walk half a kilometer eastward through this opening, you will arrive at a large green space at the heart of the city, quite unusual for, modern cities in Turkey. This is the Kültürpark, where İzmirians go to jog, play tennis, have their wedding ceremonies, take their children to play, and watch theatrical and musical performances. Its trees and flower gardens infuse life in a city that has fallen prey to the invasion of concrete as a result of unplanned over-urbanization. Toward the end of each summer, the park becomes even livelier with the opening of the annual Izmir International Fair on the grounds. The Fair attracts some four million visitors every year, and even though the majority are İzmirians, people from other parts of Turkey also flock to İzmir to view the pavilions of Japan, China, U.S.A., and England, as well as those showcasing Turkey’s national firms (Fuar Kataloğu 2000).