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5 September 2008

Paradise Found - Izmir birds of paradise (Kus Cenetti)

A Jewell in the eye of the Aegean

Kus Cenetti (Bird Paradise) is the name given to a large swathe of land and salt flats in Izmir NW of the city towards Cigli. This area has not been reserved for people but as the name suggests has been reserved for birds.
There are many types of birds that come to visit this area and I would like to name some if not all but I am not a keen bird watcher so I cannot but I can assure you that they have feathers and they can fly. Most of the birds come for a fleeting visit but some stay for longer periods of time. If you live in the Karsiyaka area of the city you will occasionally hear the cries of gaggles of geese that pass overhead on route to their paradise.

Not being a big bird watcher I am not really interested in learning the names, English, Turkish, Latin or otherwise. All I do know is that it makes for a great place to chill out from the hustle and bustle of city life. In the crowded city streets of Izmir and the crowded apartment blocks of the suburbs it's nice to know that a place like this exists.

If you travel to the bird paradise when there are few birds and it is the wrong season, you will probably ask the same question as I did, "Where are all the birds?" and you may be disappointed. Going to a place aptly named 'Bird Paradise' situated in such a vast space and not seeing a single bird, just a coffee shop/snack bar and a projection room showing the birds that the wardens have filmed could be a drag for some people. However, the staff are friendly and share a wonderful camaraderie, the place is clean and well looked after and they are willing to show the film of the fluctuating and seasonal bird population to anyone who shows an interest. The last I checked it was free. Rather than taking your children to a huge local supermarket to buy toys why not take them to see some nature instead. It doesn't cost as much and they may even learn something.

Admittedly this place is not for everyone. I must admit I was surprised to find such a place in Izmir. I assumed most Izmirians preferred to sit in a cafe, bar or restaurant eating or drinking than visiting a big open space with a slight chance of seeing some flamingos or pelicans. On the two visits to the Bird Paradise i never really saw the place busy at all, but the air quality, the lack of people and the long walking areas make this a wonderful place to recharge your batteries and to gain some type of inner peace.

A lonely road inside the area of the Bird Paradise.

In the past few years the city has moved closer and closer to the Bird Paradise as companies, conglomerates and maybe even the state are eating away the land with new developments. There is a huge industrial estate on it's doorstep, beyond that a huge supermarket and beyond that new apartments and projects that number in triple figures. Where these apartments are now, only four years ago was open and barren land. Now with Izmir expanding rapidly like every other developing countries' cities in the world maybe the stay of execution for the birds of paradise could not be far off. In the future it could be very possible that the birds of paradise's home could be slowly eaten away by the hungry bulldozers of the local property developers. The peace shattered as the earth moving equipment moves in as yet another piece of paradise is lost to the onslaught of human development. Let's hope this will never be the case.

A serene and peaceful scene in the protected area with not a budgie in site.

Links below you may find of interest in connection with the above blog:

Voice newspaper article

Bird watching tours Turkey

If you look to the left on the map, you should see a place called Camalti, it is towards this direction and takes roughly 10-15 minutes after the passing big Kipa in the Cigli area.

Two other driving times are possible:

By taxi = you could be there in 2 minutes but with a heart attack and four near miss crashes en route to boot.

By granny = If you want a more leisurely drive you can ask your granny to take you. It could possibly take about 6 hours via 14 hat and dress shops, and you would have the extreme pleasure of enduring almost 6 hours of idle banter about incontinence and your dead grandfather's mistresses.

A word of warning if you want peace and quiet, don't take the kids, don't take the in laws and definitely don't take a friend, just go on your own, you will find it much more pleasurable. Other people tend to have a way of rubbishing your ideas.



viviane said...

I love Izmir! I go at least once a year because my daughter lives there and I love the city. But I hate the summer in Izmir. Once I was in August, terrible, and twice in June- July, terrible but less...

I went to Cesme also and I like the place.
I hope you will be able to go on with this Izmir blog project because I loved it since the first time I came here, at the very begining...

I love turkish people and their culture!

Will be back!

Izmir-2-blogger said...

Nice to know that people love Izmir or indeed Turkey.

If you have any comments about good experiences, bad experiences or anything you would wish to share with our blog readers please go ahead and either leave a comment like the blogee Viviane above or email izmir2blogger@gmail.com so that i may post as a seperate post (rather than a comment). If your post has acceptable language and is relevant to the topics on Izmir and surrounds you may get posted.