Have you ever heard of the surprising story of the Historical Asansör (Elevator), one of the main symbols of Izmir?
In the past, Karatas / IZMIR was a neighborhood where wealthy Jewish families lived. The height difference between Mithatpasa Street on the Coastline and Halil Rıfat Pasa Street was 58 meters.
Pedestrian access between the two settlements was provided by a 155-step street ladder. This ladder was called the “Karatas Ladder” for the Muslim population and the “Ladder of the Devidas” because of the house of the Devidas Family, which was at the top of the Jewish population. When the head of the Devidas Family fell on the stairs one day and broke his foot, Nesim Levi Bayraklıoğlu, a close friend of the Devidas Family, who lived on the coast, did build the historical elavator in 1907 to facilitate pedestrian access between the two settlements.
Above the elevator entrance door, there is an inscription in both Hebrew and French that writes “The elevator was built in 1907 by Nissim Levy”.
At the arrival point of the elevator, there is a wooden balcony supported by iron consoles, while the cast iron balustrades of the balcony are decorated with the most beautiful motifs of the period.
The elevator, which was built to facilitate transportation between the two streets, is the only one built for this purpose in Turkey and is among the few examples in the world.
It was sold to Serif Remzi Reyent in 1942 and its income was donated to the Karatas Jewish Hospital. Upon Reyent’s death, the Historical Elevator was left to her niece Ayla Okmen. The elevator remained closed for a while during this process.
The Historical Elevator, which was donated to the Izmir Municipality in 1983, was restored in 1985 and both cabins were arranged to operate with electricity.
The elevator also has a different charm with the house of the world-famous Izmir singer Dario Moreno, located at the entrance of Mithatpaşa Street.
The street where the famous singer lived with his 4 siblings and mother in the 1940s was named “Dario Moreno Street” with the decision of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in 1992, and Moreno’s house was organized as a museum.
The elevator, which is one of the most important structures of Izmir that has been standing for 115 years, not only facilitates transportation between the two districts, but also serves the city’s tourism as a restaurant, cafe and bar with a unique view.