Smyrna/İzmir was in ruins in September 1922. Philip Mansel explains to Ozan Ozavci how that unique entrepot changed from a Greek-cosmopolitan to a Turkish port town, and the devastating consequences of the Great Fire.
Philip is affiliated with the Institute of Historical Research in London and the Levantine Heritage Foundation.
Once known as ‘the Pearl of Levant’, Smyrna/İzmir was in ruins in September 1922. An eyewitness of the town Hortence Woods wrote in her diaries that the town centre was “a most melancholy sight, sad as sad could be.” Recorded on 7 December 2022, in this podcast episode the author of the widely acclaimed Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (2010), Philip Mansel tells Ozan Ozavci how that unique entrepot changed from a Greek-cosmopolitan to a Turkish port town within a space of a few years. The two discuss the repercussions of the Balkan wars, the Great War of 1914-1918 and the Turkish War of Independence in 1919-22.
What happened to the town after the landing of the Greek army in May 1919 and then the return of the Turkish forces? How did the Great Fire of September 1922 begin and ruin the Greek and Armenian quarters? And what did the Turkish authorities, including the general in command of the city Gazi Mustafa Kemal, do at the time of the disaster?
Episode 24 – The Pearl of the Levant
Podcasts are published by TLP for the purpose of encouraging informed debate on the legacies of the events surrounding the Lausanne Conference. The views expressed by participants do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of TLP, its partners, convenors or members.
MAIN IMAGE: OVID KURTOVICH, THE GREAT FIRE OF SMYRNA (1922), OIL ON CANVAS. BENAKI MUSEUM 38238.