When people live in a 5,000-year-old city, they become somewhat insensitive to the history that springs up around them. Whichever street you turn in Izmir, you will encounter an old artifact or an ancient ruin, but the situation is a little different in Buca, the most crowded district of Izmir. Here, the history is a bit more layered, in fact, the layers in İzmir’s history are more evident here.
For example, with only a 10-minute drive from the center, you can go to the ancient aqueducts that once fed all of Izmir, and on this journey, you can see the line of the first suburban train of Anatolia, pass through the magnificent mansions of the businessmen of the period, which are still standing in all their glory, and you can visit the magnificent gardens of the Christian churches that still have a community, although not much.
If you look even more curiously, you can see the traces of the population exchange, one of the most important events in the history of the Republic, or you can hear the footsteps of galloping horses in Turkey’s first hippodrome.
For DiscoverBuca.com Written by KoklaDunyayi.com Gökay MERİÇ…
Let’s briefly list what to see and do in Buca even in just one day;
1. Kızılçullu Aqueducts
As a mental nerve project, you must have seen these arches, which are very difficult to miss because they pass a 3-lane road under the 2500-year-old arches. As a matter of fact, I thought so too until I toured Buca in detail, but the part visible from the road turned out to be only a very small part of it.
When you turn to Buca from the main road, you can see another 120 meters long piece; If you follow the aqueduct line, you can reach the source where the water is still flowing. (It should be noted that it is a difficult and unsafe track.)
2. Şirinyer and Buca Train Stations
Buca, with its fertile lands, was one of the most important agricultural centers of its time. The British Ottoman Railway Company, on the other hand, built the Alsancak – Buca suburban train line as the first stop of the Izmir-Egirdir railway project to transport the grapes grown here to the Alsancak port.
Although I have seen both stations in working condition, they were both disabled after they were transferred to İZBAN. The heart would have wished that these buildings, which are in the memories of all the people of Buca and even those who studied in Buca like me, could be brought back to the city with a real function. But please not one of those museums visited by 2 people a month.
3. Buca Mansions
One of the hallmarks of Buca is its magnificent mansions and pavilions. Buca, which hosted the richest families of the period, was of course also home to the most beautiful mansions. I think that the socio-economic discrediting of the Levantine’s after leaving Buca has enabled these mansions to survive today. Otherwise, it was not even a matter of dealing with the fate of those wonderful mansions in Alsancak and in Karşıyaka Mansion, which we can only see on postcards.
Some of the most famous of these mansions are;
- *Forbes Mansion, which gives its name to one of the busiest streets of Buca,
- *Baltazzi Mansion used as Mehmet Akif Ersoy Social Sciences High School,
- *Rees Mansion used as DEU Education Faculty Dean’s Office
- *Hacı Davut Fargoh Mansion (Pink Mansion) used as Buca Municipality Culture and Art Center
- *and the Manoli Hotel, known as the oldest hotel in Buca.
4. Atatürk Mask
The Atatürk mask, which is shown among the largest mask projects in Turkey and among the top 10 mask projects in the world, with a height of 42 meters, is positioned facing the Konak district from Buca. Contrary to popular belief, it was not carved into the side of the mountain, but was designed and implemented by engineers working in different disciplines with the lattice technique.
5. Şirinyer Hippodrome
The Şirinyer Hippodrome, which has a special place in the hearts of the ganyanists as it is Turkey’s first hippodrome, is also the hippodrome where night races are held for the first time in Turkey. After a series of events, including the Fatih Erkoç concert, on the night of May 31, 2007, the first night runs were held here. After the rapid urbanization in Buca, the hippodrome, which has remained like an oasis in the heart of the city, stands out as a place where the people of Izmir spend time with their families.
6. Hasan Ağa Park
Sarıgöllü Hasan Ağa opened the garden of the mansion, which he bought from the Aliotti family in the first years of the Republic, to the use of the people of Buca, so its name was settled as Hasan Ağa Park. Being close to the campuses of Dokuz Eylul University and the nearby hospitals, the park, which is still used intensively today, is one of the places frequented especially by students. If this is the garden of a single mansion, one cannot help thinking about what Buca used to be like.
7. Kaynaklar Village
Kaynaklar Village is a great place to escape the turmoil of Buca and have a brewed cup of tea. After all, long breakfasts come to mind when it comes to Kaynaklar. Since it is one of the closest getaways to the city with its picnic areas and breakfast places, it gets very crowded, especially on weekends.
But do not think that it is only eaten and drunk here, Kaynaklar is one of the places frequented by nature athletes with its hosting enthusiasts of climbing throughout the year and Buca Municipality Scouting and Nature Sports Center.
8. Buca Pond
Buca pond is an entertainment center consisting of an artificial pond built in 1999 and a recreation area around it. The size of the park is 167 thousand and the size of the lake is 30 thousand square meters. There are restaurants, cafes, snack bars, children’s playgrounds, a market, amphitheater and one Tay Park. Due to its relatively close location to the city, its infrastructure that can host very large groups, and its relative coolness compared to the city, it is a frequent destination for the people of İzmir, especially in the spring and summer months.
9. Buca Churches
Since Buca had a predominantly non-Muslim population before the Republic, it is possible to see churches belonging to many different denominations here. Buca Protestant Baptist Church, which has survived from these churches and still has a congregation, is especially popular these days as it houses the grave of the great-grandfather of the famous actor Benedict Cumberbatch in its garden.
st. Jean Baptist Latin Catholic Church, better known as Buca Dom Church, is one of the must-see places with its colorful architecture. Due to the pandemic, an appointment had to be made to visit both churches. It is best to check before you go.
As someone who was born and raised in Izmir and spent 3 years of his life as a student at Buca Education Faculty, it turns out that there are many places in Buca that even I have not seen. People realize the value of what they have much later. If you like to see new places, and if you are nearby, do not neglect Buca.