İzmir Dergisi, 8 terabytelık Dünyanın en büyük İzmir Arşivi

Alsancak Railway Station

It brings far away places closer for 150 years...

Article: Prof. ETİ AKYÜZ LEVİ / Dokuz Eylül University, Head of the Architecture Department, Faculty of Architecture 

Construction of railways, which is one of the most important reconstruction studies determining the development of İzmir in the 19th century, has great significance in terms of being a first not only for the city of İzmir, but also for the Ottoman Empire.

İzmir-Aydın and İzmir-Kasaba (Turgutlu) Railways held a significant place in the transportation network of the Ottoman Empire and became very effective on the Empire’s social life and commercial relationships. Agricultural products produced in the backlands of the city were transported by railway network to İzmir, which occupied a central position in the region, and these products were then transferred to the port to be sent to overseas countries.

Alsancak Railway Station is the starting point of İzmir-Aydın Railway, which was constructed by an English company upon the agreement signed in 1856 and which was put into service in 1860.

Alsancak Railway Station is situated close to the port and at the end of Talatpaşa Boulevard, Şair Eşref Boulevard and Ziya Gökalp Boulevard in the district, which gave its name to the station (Punta). One of its facades overlooks Atatürk Street and the other one faces Liman Street. The building is surrounded by the British Consulate, St. John Church and Anadolu Hotel Management and Tourism Vocational High School, which was formerly used as the English Hospital. The houses located across the station, which were previously used as lodgings for railway workers, are currently used for different functions, such as the Railway Museum, Kindergarden and City Library. Other structures situated across the station include the 3rd Area Board of TCDD (State Railways of the Republic of Turkey) and PTT (Postal Telegraph and Telephone) buildings. Next to the 3rd Area Board of TCDD stands the first Clock Tower of İzmir.

Striking decorations

The building with a symmetric facade reflecting the linear construction plan is linked to Atatürk Street and Liman Street. The western front, which functions as the main entrance, includes the administrative rooms next to the entrance hall, and the wooden double-leaf door leads to the waiting room through the hall. Ticket offices are situated on the western part of the building, which has a striking appearance with its high ceiling, stained-glass windows, plasters and column heads adorned with plant motifs.

Lateral surfaces of the waiting hall downstairs are divided into three equal sections on one side and five equal sections on the other side by double plasters and column heads at ground floor. Each of these sections includes a niche with a barrel vault reaching down to the floor. There are wooden double-leaf doors at both sides of the central openings of the three sections in northern and southern facades. These wooden doors are dysfunctional today. In the second floor level, there are stained-glass windows in vertical rectangular form which centre the above mentioned niches. In the western and eastern facades, there is a semi-circular space in the middle with stained-glasses and a rectangular stained-glass window on each side. There is a door on each end of the wall surfaces in the western section, ticket offices in the middle section, a vaulted division on each side of the eastern section, and a wide passageway in the central section leading to the linked platforms. This section, which includes a room on each side, leads to the platforms through three vaulted openings. The wooden double-leaf doors are designed as glazed on the upper part.

Load-bearing pillars and vaults add a poetic expression to the building, and the platforms are given a rhythmic meaning by the striking steel roof trusses forming the upper cover. The glass-covered divisions in the middle section of the steel roof truss with a triangular form contribute to the lightening of the interior space.

Some of the load-bearing pillars, which are formed with stone and brick rows, are plastered.

In the section where the platforms are connected to the other street, there are three openings – two of them are identical and the other one is wider. The opening in the middle functions as the entrance. In the eastern facade which faces the platforms, the rhythmic vaults and some of the vaulted openings functioning as doors or windows have been preserved in their original form, while some of them have been changed in the course of time. Some windows have authentic balusters with metal sockets.

Facade characteristics

The building block in the main entrance was arranged to form a jetty on both sides, and station entrance was emphasized. The western facade of the building facing Atatürk Street is surrounded by the 3rd Area Board of TCDD (State Railways of the Republic of Turkey) in the south and the State Railways Hospital in the north.

Administrative sections in the southwest are two-storied, and facade construction includes an entrance in the middle and a window on each side. Windows are arranged in the form of twin windows. The same design is used in the second storey which displays a twin window on the door. The facade is made of white ashlar stone, and stone frames are beige-yellow in color. The section from top to the window bottom in the ground floor is made of green stone walls. The windows are in type of guillotine.

The facade facing Atatürk Street is one-storied in the front and the waiting hall rises at the back with its remarkable stained-glasses. There are two windows on each side of the symmetric western facade with entrance niches next to it and three windows in the middle. The windows are identical, vaulted, stone-framed and with metal balusters, and have wooden Venetian shutters. Door openings are also vaulted at the top and they are wider and higher than the windows. One of the doors is currently used as a niche for the cash-dispenser. The wooden door in the southwest is double-winged and has a fixed glass section on the top. There is a spiral stone parapet in the upper section of the facade. The horizontal effect of the spiral parapet circling the upper section of the facade is divided in the southwest by stones of different colors and qualities used in the frames which uplift the massive body of the facade (Regional Directorate), and its wholistic effect is fragmented by metal balusters at some points in the middle and northwestern section (Railway Station and Hospital).

The northern facade overlooking Liman Street is symmetrical with one window on each end, a door on each side and four window openings in the middle. These openings are vaulted at the top. The upper section of the facade rises in the middle and forms a curve, and the clock is displayed in the middle section. The facade is plastered and the doors have wooden double wings and metal balusters.

The additional building next to the main structure is decorated with similar motifs to establish harmony.

Consequently, railway stations, which brings far away places closer, unites people and reflects the unison of local and universal identity, are indispensible elements of a city’s identity and significant focal points in history. In this respect, Alsancak Railway Station constitutes a significant example.