Smyrna Church Plans

The 1922 fire of Smyrna destroyed the heart of the old city along with many churches of different congregations. The few surviving Greek Orthodox churches with one exception (Agios Voukolos) were subsequently destroyed by authorities in the 1930s and 40s and though reports, old postcards and some photos do show these buildings, the architectural plans do give a more complete picture of their architecture. The first of these plans held at the Ottoman State Archives office with the text translated indicating with a note that it ‘will be rebuilt’.

This document shows the plan of the Evangelistria (Evangelismos Theotokou, built 1867) Church, located in Tabakhane (Debbağhane) district in Smyrna. The document is dated 6 November 1903 (Rumî- 24 Teşrin-i Evvel 1319) and its code is İ. AZN. 56-10. It seems that the neighbouring houses were owned by the Armenians, namely Kirkor Kuyumcuyan and Gerkas Esayan, and the neighbourhood of this church, Agios Haralambos neighbourhood, was populated by Armenians as well as by Ottoman Greeks. The plan is clearly done officially, complete with a revenue stamp, so perhaps part of a submission for the rebuilding (1908) of this building to the city authorities?

Remains of this church as seen in the late 1930s.

Architectural plan of the Zoodohos Pigi (Life-giving Spring) Church, located in Alaybey neighbourhood of Cordelio, Smyrna. This document is held in the Prime Ministry’s Ottoman Archives in Istanbul and displays the enlargement project for the church. Its code is İ. AZN. 53-26. The document was written on 11 January 1904 (Rumî-29 Kanun-i Evvel 1319).
According to the document, the church was located on Tasvir sokak in the Alaybey neighbourhood in Cordelio and its director (müdür) was M. Nikola, son of Dimitri the Pilgrim (Nikola Efendi veled-i Hacı Dimitri) in January 1897 (Rumî- Kanun-i Evvel 1312).
It may be noted that ‘zira’, which was equal to 75-90 cms, was used as a measure of length in the sketch. A ‘parmak‘ is another Ottoman measure of length, was equal to 1/24th of a zira.

Additional information contained for the Zoodohos Pigi Church.

According to this document, the Greek Orthodox community in Boudjah sent a petition, asking for the permission for the construction of the Evangelismos Theotokou Church, to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior in September 1900. The church was built in 1903 and today there are no visible remains.

Sketch of the Agios Trifonas Church, located in Pınarbaşı near Bournabat, held in the Prime Ministry’s Ottoman Archives in Istanbul. It shows that the pretty chapel also had a holy spring (ayazma). The date of the document is 13 January 1918 (Rumi- 13 Kanun-i Sani 1334) and the code is I. DUIT. 135/39. The document does not show the construction date but its very late registrations by the Ministry of the Interior (Dahiliye Nezareti).

Images and information courtesy of Ümit Eser, 2018.