Discover travel destinations of travelers writing a travel journal on FindPenguins.
Travelers at this place
    • Day 40

      Narlıdere: Yukarıköy

      October 12, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

      With Murat in the driver’s seat, the three siblings and Mui set off on a day of sightseeing this morning.

      Our first stop was Yukarıköy … which translates as Upper Village. Approximately 15 miles from Alsancak, Yukarıköy is where İzmir’s Narlıdere District was first established some 300 years ago. The area was recently restored — a three-year project sponsored by the provincial government and Narlıdere Municipality — and re-opened to the public in early July … with the purpose of creating a “living museum.” The goal is to share the local cultural heritage and create a tourism environment to bring economic growth that will benefit the local villagers.

      The cobblestone streets behind the village center are lined with charming houses …each sporting a recently-planted bougainvillea bush that will add color to the streetscape once they are fully-established. The houses are surrounded by stone walls … doors open to give glimpses into courtyards where one might see residents going about their daily lives. The locals set up stalls on the weekend to sell homemade products, including handicrafts and foodstuff. One of the historic homes houses an ethnography-style boutique museum. A couple of cafés form the village center and invite visitors to take a break.

      Today being a weekday, Yukariköy was quiet ... no stalls lining the streets. Our stroll, thus, didn’t take long … but was pleasant nonetheless. We visited the museum, which I will post about separately, and then sat down to enjoy a break at a café operated by a women’s cooperative. Turkish tea for some … Turkish coffee for others … a plate of cucumbers and tomatoes and a fresh-grilled gözleme (savory pastry with a cheese and greens filling) to share. Delicious.

      We all enjoyed our brief visit to Yukariköy and will return again to check it out on a Saturday or Sunday. And perhaps partake of the home style cooking offered at the café. In our case, however, that will have to wait until next year.
      Read more

    • Day 40

      Narlıdere: Yukarıköy … Historic Cem Evi

      October 12, 2023 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 66 °F

      On a back street in Yukarıköy, we stumbled on to the Historic Cem Evi (Djemevi … which translates into English as Cem House … cem itself being a gathering or meeting). After extensive renovation, this oldest standing building in Narlıdere has opened to the public as the Municipality Culture House.

      The “Woodcutters” were a group of Turkoman Alewites who led a nomadic lifestyle in the mountains, seeking refuge from oppression and persecution. They were so known because they engaged in cutting trees to make timber.

      Some 200 years ago, their nomadic lifestyle came to an end in the Narlıdere area. Having made the decision to settle down, the elders decided it was time to build their “cem evi” … a gathering place in the Alewite culture that some describe as a place of worship.

      (It would take way too many words to write about Alevism … if interested, you can read more about it at this link … https://minorityrights.org/minorities/alevis/. Suffice to say here that Alewites constitute the largest religious minority in Turkey. Technically they fall under the Shi’a denomination of Islam, yet they follow a fundamentally different interpretation than the Shi’a communities in other countries.)

      Entering the cem evi, we were greeted by two mannequins “performing” a semah … the part of the worship service where feelings that cannot be expressed in words are expressed with gestures and dances. It is believed that the semah comes from the Kırklar Meclisi … the ceremony that is purported to be the narration of Prophet Muhammad’s nocturnal ascent into heaven, where he beheld a gathering of forty saints. We got a glimpse of what the meclis would entail in the nearby room where several mannequins representing some of the individuals who would have played the roles of the saints during the meeting were displayed.

      The central hall on the second floor is dedicated to the carpentry, woodcutting, and agricultural history of the Tahtacı Turkoman Alewites. In the rooms surrounding the central hall are exhibits … the kitchen room contains a selection of utensils and apparatus that might have been used back in the day; the trousseau room displays clothing of the period, as well as embroidery and other handcrafts; the photography room displays a collection of historic photos of culturally significant events and people.

      Perhaps the most unusual of the exhibits on the second floor is the grave room, which shows the burial customs for an Alewite woman. After being wrapped in the typical burial swaddling cloth, the body would be dressed in the outfit the woman would have worn for a special ceremony the day after she was married. Since the Alewites believe in life after death, the body would then be placed in a coffin … along with items such as a blanket, pillow, underwear, and favorite personal belongings.

      The final room we saw was the çilehane (suffering room) in the attic. The signage described it as where an Alewite would come to be at one with god after having completed the ritual steps required by the belief.

      Having little knowledge of the traditions of the Alewites, I found this ethnography-style culture house quite interesting. My only recommendation to the guy manning the small gift counter where we left a small donation in the box (in lieu of admission) was that signage in English would be a good addition to draw international tourists.

      After a quick wander around the old cemetery behind the house, we moved on with our plans for the rest of the day.
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Narlı, Narli

    Join us:

    FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android