July 10, 2010

Paraşüt Kulesi / Parachute Tower

I have always had fond memories of our family visits to the Izmir International Fair as a child.  The most vivid memory that I have is of the Parachute Tower, which stood in the middle of a circular plaza, surrounded by stands of perfume vendors.

There were many other attractions within the fairgrounds, both for children and adults alike, and I also remember the pavilions of exotic foreign countries with all the the promotional items that they gave away, and the open-air, white-tablecloth restaurants under the palm trees, the balloon vendors, and the ice-cream (Sütsan!) sellers...  But none impressed me as much as the the parachute tower surrounded by the perfume sellers!  Obviously for a child of ten the tower itself would be impressive, not only because it was really tall, but people actually jumped from its great heights and landed safely; and the perfume memory is probably related to the purchase or sampling of some cologne (kolonya in Turkish) by my parents, maybe the smells, or maybe the visual display of rows and rows of multi-colored glass bottles in all shapes and sizes.  

For the last 40 years I was dying to go back to take another lookthe nostalgic longing never left me all those years even though everyone in Izmir always mentioned that the fuar (the fair, as it is commonly referred to in Izmir) was not what it used to be. Even though I visited Izmir many times over the years, it was never the fuar season.

So, finally in 2009 my wishes came true: The parachute tower was still there and was operational, however the the perfume sellers were all gone, replaced mostly by food vendors and exhibitors, of which I found the pişmaniye makers the most interesting (and got to taste some after many years).   

The picture of me taking pictures of the tower, were taken by my niece, Ebru Atay.

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