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17 August 2006

Where to live in Izmir - Part One: Karsiyaka

Today's post, the first of our "Where to live in Izmir?" series, courtesy of Meryem. Click on any of the photos to enlarge. Note by: Izmir Blogger

My name is Meryem and I live in the area "Karsiyaka" of Izmir. Karsiyaka literally means "On the other side" and it is, from the city center of Alsancak and Konak. A road connects the parts, but on a regular basis a passenger ferry crosses the bay. There is also ferry for the cars to Bostanli boat terminal. Opposite the boat terminal (in Turkish: Iskele) of Karsiyaka you can find the busy centre with many shops and restaurants. If you continue to walk along the seaside, you have apartments with the following view from the balcony (see photo top left). The apartments with sea view are quite nice, some bigger than others. Some buildings look very nice on the outside, and you can take it from me, that those are maintained well and are nice from the inside as well.
When you pass the statue of dolphins and small basin with water, you are in the middle of Karsiyaka and Bostanli. Opposite of the "Bostanli Iskele" (a very busy place as cars also leave form here to the other side) the area of Bostanli starts. The liveliness stems from the many shops and restaurants and some nice cafes.

On Wednesdays, there is huge market where they sell fruit, vegetables, cheese, nuts, clothes and shoes!

The area furthest to the left, Mavisehir, is relatively the newest area and very popular among richer Turkish families. It is a matter of taste if you like these high 32 store buildings, although the colored villas are quite large and have a garden as well. (see picture of pink colored house) EGE Park is the shopping area, with many luxurious shops, a bowling centre and cinema.

So this was in short a tour through "the other side" of Izmir. I have been living here for 4 years now and I like it very much! All the shops you can find are here, there is enough parking space, the parks along the seaside are green, and go on for a few kilometers, it is easily reachable by the ferry from Alsançak... The only thing is, there aren't a lot of houses with gardens to be found, only the colored villas in Mavisehir... So if you don't mind living in an apartment, than Karsiyaka is absolutely worth checking out!

More pictures of Bostanli market


Reza Farshbaf said...

Great review about izmir particularly, bostanli. I am planning to move to Izmir with my wife and I have no idea which part of Izmir is the modest safe and people are open-minded.

Izmir Blogger said...

Good luck with the move Reza.

In regards to your comment which part of Izmir is the most safest area to live, well I would have to say it comes down to about three areas Bostanli which is in the Karsiyaka area, Guzelyali is also supposed to be safe and Bornova. This of course depends on who you talk to about personal safety, who you hang out with when you are in these locations and whose wife you sleep with. If you sleep with someone else's wife then you would get an ass kicking wherever you are.

It's all relative to how safe you are? In my personal opinion all areas of Izmir are reasonable safe in daylight hours. In the evenings and especially if you have a Biravoo (a huge amount of beer with your own personal pump) you should be weary of who is around you, what they are doing and as ever keep your wallet/purse safe.

Car theft is virtually non existent as far as I know. In the UK if you stopped at certain traffic lights when the lights changed to red you would be lucky to still have your wheels and not be propped up on bricks. I think we have more trouble due to the UK's own problem of the harmonious mix of nationals from different countries. It is not very harmonious at all and causes tensions, and tensions lead to crimes, fights, drinking binges, hooliganism and general kicking the shit out of of council and privately owned property. This is Britain 2009, what a warm and welcoming place. When I came here from the UK I was still in that frame of mind of looking over my shoulder all of the time for the occasional knife attack or thrown punch but as it turned out I began relaxing and didn't gain the same fear.

Izmir is a lot more relaxed and I don't doubt there is crime but it is undercover and as long as you don't go looking for it, I am sure you will not find it.

Reza Farshbaf said...

Thank you very much for your descriptive comment and I appreciate that.

Actually, I was thinking about karsiyaka but I am now intended to rent an apt. in Alsancak, Kordon area. I think it's more lively.

Mavishehir is supposed to be a good choice as well but I have no idea how much does it cost to rent an furnished apt in their complex.

Izmir Blogger said...

Alsancak is the central hub I believe of Izmir. Usually if you have to get anything big done or purchase something extra special you will probably only find it here. Mavisehir is at the opposite of the bay has some great villas over there possible rent of 2,000 upwards. And the main blocks near the EGS shopping centre would possibly set you back 1,000 - 1,500 in rent. These are estimates. Mavisehir can be lively as well if you like shopping centres.

There are three fairly big shopping centers on the doorstep if you lived in the Mavisehir apartments. The first and closest is EGS, the second is Carrefour a big french owned shopping center and the third one is Tesco/Kipa supermarket. All of these have the main shop as well as extra retail shops on the premises, the biggest of these would be Kipa.

It is a trade off of what you want exactly, if you want all action and no shopping centres with problems parking your car then Alsancak it is. If you want less problems parking your car and access to three fairly reasonable shopping centres then Mavisehir. The favourite shopping center amongst many and the best in my opinion is the open air shopping center area called Forum Bornova and this is neither near Alsancak nor Mavisehir but if you lived in Mavisehir Forum Bornova as the crow flies would be a good choice.

It's up to you I guess, if you are here then you can get a taste for the place but if you are not then I suggest you search around for even more information since not being here may put you in a place you don't want to be. Obviously with Alsancak being the main hub you are likely to get more crime there.

Whatever you decide good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, i'm moving to izmir with my husband and i would like to know which place is the best to live and not very expensive, taking into account that i don't drive.
My husband will work in Sirinyer but i don't know if it is a good area to live and shop. Thanks.

Izmir Blogger said...


I find Sirinyer a little boring but there is life there. It is not my locale, so, I don't really know the good places from the bad. Karsiyaka is always cheap and a good place to shop and eat and live. It depends on what you want for nightlife social life but obviously at the NATO headquarters in Sirinyer you will probably have an active social life but you don't want to be too far away from everyone if this is the case. If you divide Izmir in to three definite sides of the bay, left right and and centre back or in boating terms port, starboard and stern. The left or port side is busy active and usually where everyone wants to live (Alsancak), Sirinyer is also this side of town but higher up in the hillside. Then you have the right side or starboard side, Karsiyaka is here and is really an area rather than a town, good for cut-price shopping and cheap food and if you venture out in to other parts of Karsiyaka good for fine restaurants too. Then you have the centre back or stern. Here is Bayrakli and a huge navy and army base and lots of warehouses in the industrial estate. There is not much here and maybe there is room for a lot of development in the future but as of yet, I haven't heard of a single foreigner that lives here. There may be some foreigners but if there are, they live a very quiet life.

Your best bet is to maybe live in Buca which is very close to Sirinyer, it has many bars possibly because there are many students in the area from the 9 Eylul University. The shopping is ok and it is a pretty big area so you will always find something new. This way you should be able to have fun whilst living on the doorstep of your husbands workplace. I like Buca but some of the people are in my opinion maybe not as modern as the people living in Alsancak and Karsiyaka but everything is open to discussion. Living in an area really changes your perception of an area and you find that a place grows on you once you get your footing. Another great area which is still kinda to the back but left a little beyond Bayrakli is Bornova. There is a place called Forum Bornova there, do a search on this site under Forum Bornova and you will find some info. People love this place because there is an Ikea a Tesco Kipa and a general 'look at me I am sitting in a Starbucks and have a Versace handbag kind of way'. The Turkish elite can be very glamorous and like to show it. Although, I am not too sure that a Versace handbag and an after coffee visit to the Kipa with your Versace handbag hanging from the shopping trolley is very glamorous at all. Anyhoooooooo! You will find your feet sure enough and find the delights that Izmir has to offer, I am sure.

It is cheap to live in Buca as well as Bornova and Karsiyaka too, but in all of these areas they have there upmarket areas and you will be looking at a higher price tag for these. For an average place you can expect to pay between 850 TL - 1100 TL but for an upmarket place the sky is the limit. If you are working at NATO usually they have someone who helps you out with accommodation and where to go and how to find your feet and get up and running as quickly as possible.

Good luck!

Izmir Blogger

Anonymous said...

I live in Karşıyaka too. It's been 5 months and I love it! It's a 10 min. walk to the seaside and the greenery is lovely! There are plenty of grocery stores in the area and my neighborhood is quiet. Each building has its own character and the tree lined streets are a big improvement over where I lived in Istanbul last year. I'm an expat and I really am appreciative of living in a beautiful part of Izmir -- Karşıyaka. :-)

Anonymous said...


we are moving to izmir and I have a job near bolge metro (bornova). we don't have a car.
Has anyone got any ideas which area would be nice to live at? we are looking for something not too quiet, where they don't close the sidewalks at sundown (i. e. a lively area).
would be very glad for any tips.

Izmir Blogger said...

If you are moving to Bornova and you want to be close to a place which is not too quiet and they don't close the sidewalks at sundown probably the best place to be in Bornova would be somewhere near to Ege University or the Bornova Metro. If you are near to the Bornova metro you can always walk down to the metro, jump on a metro and be in Alsancak, the place that doesn't sleep if you know where to go that is. I am sure after a short time here you will find your way around.

Anonymous said...

Hi M, we just got back from Izmir last week (was there 3 days). My wife and I plan to move and live in Izmir (From USA) soon.
Enjoyed reading your weblog (very useful). Actually, our agent showed us the 'karsika' are and recommended also. I am glad that you also recommended this area. Would you have some info about private health insurnace/companies that if need to buy (cost and info)? Thx IV

Anonymous said...

I will e moving to izmir in december this year with hubby and hopefully 2 month old baby boy. Hubby was a bornova boy but I dont want to be too close to the inlaws, he will most likely get an office in alsancak. which area could you recommend? also do they have mothers groups in Turkey? thanks.

Izmir Blogger said...

There are many insurance companies around and like anywhere you have to shop around if you type in sigorta Izmir in Google it should bring up some selections to browse through. Some of these may have an English translation but since you have a Turkish person in the family shouldn't be a problem for you.

Izmir Blogger said...

You can find some information about an Izmir Women's Group at this link: IWAI