Izmir Sevgi Yolu – A City’s Walk Of Fame

Each city has its own personality, with qualities that either attract or repel the visitor, and if you’ve read our previous posts on Izmir, you’ll know we were very much attracted to the Aegean city. 

It’s a confident city without being cocky or in your face. It’s surrounded by mass tourism but remains unaffected by it. It’s a city generally used by tourists as a thoroughfare to get elsewhere in Turkey but Izmir doesn’t seem to care. Should you bother to show your face in the city and stick around, you’ll be made more than welcome without being fussed over. And if you don’t show your face, well, Izmir knows it’s a special city and is content to continue with daily life whether you’re there or not. 

Sevgi Yolu, Izmir
Izmir’s walk of fame – Sevgi Yolu

Of course, all this is just an impression gained from a six day visit last September. But it was six days where we didn’t once leave the city to visit nearby major tourist attractions. Izmir itself kept us entertained purely because it’s got a take-us-as-you-find-us attitude about it. We visited the more well known places on lists made for us by friends – places like Asansör and Kadifekale – and we went off in search of recommended drinks such as Izmir’s special fincanda Türk kahvesi (Turkish coffee boiled in the cup).

But we also came across our own little finds that added to our Izmir experience. For food, we just had to try their famous street food, söğüş (a cold kebab of sheep’s tongue, cheek and brain), after noticing it everywhere. And, where sightseeing was concerned, streets like this also caught our attention: Izmir Sevgi Yolu.

Sezen Aksu, Izmir Sevgi Yolu
Sezen Aksu – Turkey’s most famous singer and actor?
Sevgi means ‘love’, ‘affection’, or ‘fondness’ and yol means ‘road’ ‘path’ or ‘trail’. But Izmir Sevgi Yolu is no Lovers’ Lane. One day, when we decided to walk along the streets away from the seafront, we found ourselves walking along this star lined, pedestrianised walk of fame – fame of the Turkish variety. Well, Hollywood has a walk of fame. Why not Izmir?
Cem Karaca, Izmir Sevgi Yolu
Cem Karaca

Our aimless stroll became a star spotting expedition as we wandered along the perfectly straight, palm lined street. We’re no experts when it comes to Turkey’s legends of music and film but we did recognise a few names. Sezen Aksu carries almost goddess status in the world of both music and film and crosses all generations. You’ll struggle to come across anyone in Turkey who hasn’t heard of Sezen Aksu.

Barış Manço, Izmir Sevgi Yolu
Barış Manço

And Cem Karaca and Barış Manço – both of them legends of the famous Anatolian Rock scene that began back in the 1960s. (Click this link to hear some samples of Anatolian Rock. Both Cem Karaca and Barış Manco are featured.) We’ll hold our hands up at this point and admit that we didn’t recognise any of the other names, but we’re content with three.

Izmir Sevgi Yolu
Izmir Sevgi Yolu

For us, stumbling across little finds like this is what makes exploring new places memorable; they’re added bonuses that make up the bigger picture of a city once you’ve crossed all the must-sees off your list, and on returning home, they’re usually the places we remember much more than those must-sees.

If you know any of the other stars that make up Izmir Sevgi Yolu, we’d love to hear about them.

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  1. And these are the moments/memories that aren’t in any guidebook! 🙂

  2. @ Joy: Very true. We’re all too busy charging around what we think we ought to be seeing instead of looking at what’s all around us. I remember your Rome posts, just after we’d been. It was like we’d seen two different cities because you had more time there. Really interesting. 🙂

  3. this is so very interesting! who knew? thanks for showing this!

  4. If I had to live in a city in Turkey, it would be Izmir.

  5. @ Jaz: We thought it was good fun. 🙂

    @ BacktoBodrum: When we were in Izmir we actually looked at some rental prices because we thought it would be nice to do a few months there and explore the area, too. 🙂

  6. Amazing how long you have to stay in a country to catch the pop culture reference. Three out of a boulevard sounds impressive to me.

  7. Amazing Julia, didn’t know about Sevgi Yolu – izmir is one of my fav cities, and they do care a lot for art, music, so I am not surprised. Sezen Aksu and Baris Manco are huge at home! Loved the Sevgi Yolu road, with the palm trees!:) ozlem

  8. Hi,

    Completely off topic, but I don’t know where else to ask this.

    Looking at Jeremy Seal’s website, he states that “29 Apr to 3 May … provisional literary event at Kayakoy, Fethiye.” and

    “May 18-27, writing week on Turkish gulet from Bodrum.”

    Haven’t found anything on the English sites about the Fethiye event. Would really like to know more. Any inside info? The gulet cruise is probably booked from the UK.

    Jeremy Seal’s book on rowing down the Meander/Menenderes river is freshly out. He also wrote “Santa, a Biography” and “A Fez of the Heart”, all nice reads.
    Nice website with pics of Turkey too.

    I read your blog frequently and like it very much. I’m gearing up to move to Turkey (don’t know where yet) and your blog has been a nice inspiration.

  9. @ Anonymous: Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about the literary and writing trips. The Kayaköy one may appear in the local press nearer the time. We’ll give it a mention if we do hear anything about it.

    Thanks for bringing our attention to Jeremy Seal, too. 🙂

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