24 July 2010

I remember Smirna

While visiting my mother at her summer house in Turkey last June, I noticed an electrical box of some sort on a wall. It had been serviced by a local electrician and plumber who had the ingenuity to name his company Smirna.

Smyrna was, of course, the original name of the city of Izmir located about 70 km to the north of mom's house. Prior to the 1919-1922 Turkish-Greek War and the subsequent collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Smyrna was a cosmopolitan city inhabited by, besides the native Greeks, Armenians and Turks, a sizable population of European origin. They were known as the Levantines. Their descendants are still around (see this page, for example).

Kudos to our electrician who keeps the old memories alive.

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