French Consulate

Today known to Izmirians as the Arkas Art Center, the building was initially constructed in 1906 as the Consulate of France. It was one of the most admirable buildings of Kordon at the time. France, along with the British and Austria-Hungary Empires, had been appointing a diplomat in Izmir since the early 15th century. In 1610, France joined Britain on the coast of Izmir to take part in the rapidly developing trade in the city. Situated on two parcels with its proper pier and court, the Consulate of France at the time was sustained until the mid 19th century. However, the building reconstructed following the 1852 earthquake was again damaged in the 1866 fire and 1880 earthquake.

In order to commission a consulate building on Izmir’s newly constructed quay, France assigned Emmanuel Pontromoli, an architecture graduate of the Paris Fine Arts Academy. The new consulate building appeared in Kordon in 1906. Along with the Smyrna Theater, which would be completed within a couple of years, the building was at the heart of Izmir and had a crucial place in the period’s bureaucratic and trade affairs.

The two-story, castle-like building is a traditional example of colonial architecture. The high entrance opens to a portico with arches, while the 2nd floor is designed as a balcony with columns. There is also a wide terrace on the roof of the building. Massive blocks covering the corners on both floors render a castle-like appearance to the building. The seaside of the building is allocated to residences and reception rooms, while the side looking over the avenue contains the consulate offices.

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