Izmir is a 8500 year old Mediterranean port city. The characteristics of the ancient city is reflected through the city’s multilayered architectural texture.
The Izmir Planning Agency’s (IZPA) office is located in one of the important structures in the old city, that is Çukur Han. The building is a historical caravanserai located in the Kemeralti district of Izmir. As it is mentioned in Evliya Çelebi's Travel Book, it was built in the 17th century during the Ottoman period and served as a resting place for travelers and their animals along the trade routes reaching Izmir.
Çukur Han is an impressive example of Ottoman architecture, featuring a large courtyard surrounded by two-story vaulted rooms. The courtyard was used as a space for travelers to rest, socialize and conduct business. The rooms on the upper floor were used as accommodation for travelers and their animals, with separate sections for horses, camels and others.
The Çukur Han was renovated twice, firstly in 1906 and later in 2020. After being repurposed as a unit of shops, Çukur Han survived until today as one of the carriers of Izmirian culture.
Çukur Han was used as a printing house, a workshop, a restaurant, a coffee shop and insurance office until today, according to the official records since the 17th century.
The inn reflects the diverse cultural heritage of the Ottoman Empire, with Turkish, Greek, Jewish, and Armenian communities that have called Izmir home over centuries. Some of the shopkeepers of Çukur Han though its history has been Sabri Ali Şükrü, Filipoçi Şürekası, Yafe Elbağlı, Dryer Jon Kohen, Şeyhzade brothers, Yako Sidi, Vitali Abram, Isak Barmaymon and Bakırcıyan Ogard Franko.
While these names draw attention to the multicultural structure of Izmir with their memories, they also reflect the importance of harmony in Izmir culture.
The last renovation of Çukur Han began in 2020 and was completed in 2021. Prof. Dr. H. Meltem Gürel designed the restoration, which was implemented by Öget Architecture. The renovations were an outstanding private effort of the Han's owners, the Gürel family.
Taking inspiration from the historicity of Izmir, the monumental Çukur Han is home to the Izmir Planning Agency and IzDoğa of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.