The Levantines: Past – Present - Future - A Symposium held to celebrate and study the heritage

Impressions | Photos | Videos
The Levant: land of fascination and of conquest! Westerners setting up roots in these lands of opportunity would live here for centuries, becoming a commercial and cultural bridge between West and East.

Generously hosted by the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, to whose officials we are very thankful, the Symposium main event was held on 3rd November 2010. The Izmir Chamber of Commerce were the perfect hosts, helping the smooth running of the main event, providing us with a gift pack, instantaneous translation services, fed us for lunch and dinner and created the perfect atmosphere for the exchange of ideas, reunion of distant relations and thoughts for future investment possibilities. More than a hundred participants were at the main event, with 14 delegates giving speeches on historical and cultural themes reflecting the heritage of Levantines.

A symposium as planned helped further the study the history of the Levantines and consider how the past and present Levantine concept can play a role in the modern world as a model for peaceful and multicultural cohabitation. These themes and aspirations were developed during the discussions, creating fresh opportunities and a pool of ideas for new relationships.

This web site aims to gather and preserve information and photos of The Levant and Levantine families. This reunion should also bring to life these mementos, and hopefully keep alive the notion of the Levantine spirit for future generations. Within this philosophy Andrew Simes and Jean Özmirza organized an exhibition - A Walk With Levantines - old photos, postcards and stamps of the Levant, held at the French Cultural Centre of Izmir, on the evening of 5th November 2010 and we offer our thanks for this service. In a similar vein, the living heritage was also celebrated the following evening with the Levantine ladies of Izmir painting exhibition, again a great success. This event was hosted at the Italian Cultural Centre in Izmir, and we also offer our thanks to this institution.

On the 4th of November and organized tour was arranged by the steering committee to visit the old houses in Buca (Boudja) and Bornova (Bournabat), including a visit the Manoli elders’ house, the Anglican and Catholic churches (these in Buca) and in Bornova a visit the Anglican Church and a tea party hosted in the garden of Brian Giraud’s house and we thank him for his hospitality. In addition the group paid a visit to the exhibition of Levantine Mansions, organized by Nedim Sönmez, held at one of the former Whittall houses in Bornova. Nedim Sönmez was also the perfect host offering all the visitor a gift pack that included the lavishly illustrated book highlighting the history and the present state of all 10 of the former Levantine houses that are now part of the Ege University.

On the 5th of November a trip was organized to visit the ruins of Ephesus.

The Istanbul leg of the program was also well attended, and included trips to the Covered Bazaar, Bosphorus Cruises and some visited distant cousins and soaked up the atmosphere.

Thank you all who made this vision a reality through hard work and diligent organization. Perhaps a similar event will be repeated in the future?

For further details of the programme past, please click here: