[MANUSCRIPT MAPS / IMPORTANT LEVANTINE PORT CITIES] Port de Smyrne [i.e., The Port of Smyrna] = Izmir Körfezi’nin iskandil haritasidir, 1909-1913.

[MANUSCRIPT MAPS / IMPORTANT LEVANTINE PORT CITIES] Port de Smyrne [i.e., The Port of Smyrna] = Izmir Körfezi’nin iskandil haritasidir, 1909-1913.

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ANONYMOUS, Manuscript, [Izmir], [c. early 20th century].

Manuscript map in black, blue, and brown ink on a special textured paper. 67 x 48 cm. In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters) and the title in French. Light splits on fold traces. Otherwise, a very good map.

An extremely rare and attractive manuscript nautical chart on a special paper showing the depth measurements, islands, and vessel routes of the early 20th century Port of Smyrna (Izmir), one of the most important Levantine port cities in the Mediterranean, also containing the hinterland of port with railways and roads.

The map shows the Chios and heights, the land bound by the mountains of Ida and Bergama (Pergamon), Cumae, and the Gulf of Çandarli (Elaitic Gulf). Just in front of the Karaburun plains lies a small island called the British Island, really close to the shore. The reason behind the island’s name is that a British merchant ship was once captured by pirates here and its entire crew was executed. From here forward, there is a 14-mile stretching eastwards and southwards. Next comes the island and the Gulf of Urla. An indication of the salt in the places made shallow by the Gediz River can be seen as a rising white hill from the sea on the left. Rock formations extend from Foça to the mouth of the Gediz River. There are two rocky shoals about one mile off the shore, one above the sea surface and the other submerged. The area in between the shoal and the shore, that is, the western part of the mouth of Gediz River offers a convenient anchorage opportunity for large vessels. Its depth varies between 10-15 fathoms, its position providing shelter against all kinds of winds, and the ease of making sail render the area an important location.

The shallow extends over an area of 44 miles, limiting the sea route considerably. The depth of the shallow part is not more than 10-12 fathoms.

Çatalkaya comprises two sharp cliffs, the higher of which is called Korax, standing 2000 feet above sea level. Due to their shape, the cliffs are also dubbed “Double Breasts”, by the locals. At its foothills begins the Gulf of Urla, and its location dominates the entire gulf.

The Port of Izmir is now a cargo and passenger port located to the east of the gulf. It is the seventh largest port of Turkey in terms of container volume and thirteenth in terms of cargo tonnage.

Source: PINAR, ILHAN: Izmir city plans and maps from the Ottoman era.