Fountains of Çeşme

The direct modern translation of ‘Çeşme’ from Turkish is ‘Fountain’, a description of the town almost certainly derived by the plentiful and varied water supplies in and around Çeşme including thermal springs and potable water supplies provided for both local inhabitants and transient mariners restocking their provisions through the ages. 

Necessity & Usage of the Ottoman Fountains

Globally until the early 20thcentury plumbing supplying running water to homes was rare. During the Ottoman-era houses were provided mostly by an ornately dressed Saka (water carrier) who collected water from public fountains in leather sacks and poured it to customers ceramic jars. Most homes contained a cistern that collected well or rainwater. However, this water was only suitable for daily use. The tanks would also be used to hang food to keep it cool and stop from spoiling. 

Ottoman Fountain Structure

Where the water supply to a fountain is not wholly consistent, the water collecting chamber (such as with the Murabutzade and Castle Street fountains in Çeşme) is a principal element collecting water as a safeguard against drought and water shortage. Terracotta pipes linked to the central supply system provide water intake to the fountain chambers. The chamber keeps water-cooled and provides distillation against impurities which are collected up to a level of 20-25 cm at the base, above which the water is released to flow through the spout.  Typically, impermeable plaster covers half the chamber; above this, the stone is left uncovered to allow for evaporation with an overflow hole immediately above the water collection level to expel any excess water. The upper level has a cleaning and maintenance opening typically covered with a shutter blind. Brick or stone domes form the roof of most fountains. 

For full in-depth material including detailed drawings of Cesme fountains we would recommend the comprehensive study by Ahmet Karaçöl, ‘Investigation of the Ottoman Period Fountains in Izmir/Çeşme for their Preservation‘. The study was published in March 2011 in English as a thesis submitted to the Graduate School of Engineering and Sciences of İzmir Institute of Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Architectural Restoration. Compilation of information on this page relies significantly on data from Ahmet Karaçöl’s thesis.

Below are a selection of 15 fountains that can be found today in the centre of Çeşme, they are listed in alphabetical order with notes on their characteristics and respective locations: 

Castle Fountain (1508)

Location: Inside the castle at the original main gate (south wall) between the mosque and Çaka Bey tower. Situation: Forms significant part of the castle entrance camber. Size: 2.57m x 4.34m x 2.54m. Status: Excellent condition restored as part of the extensive castle renovation. Properties: Cut stone facade and rubble masonry.

Castle Street Fountain (1718)

Location: Sk. 1002 (near Sk. 2015). Situation: Attached to adjacent building. Size: 2.23m x 3.38m x 2.95m. Status: Fountain restored 2012 from plastered and painted state by Çeşme Municipality and Umart Mimerlik. Properties: Rubble masonry set with mortar, cut andesite jug shelf and basin, and marble.

Municipality plaque inscription reads: “There’s a relatively big subscription in the middle of the humpback niche. The outer line of the subscription is not smooth, and the subscription text is written in thuluth as three lines. Above the text is a circular figure. As the subscription has been painted and damaged in this way only these words can be read: ‘The prayer Fatiha for the spirit of ……who did works of charity and acquired merit by God.’ Year 1115”

Çatal Fountain (Unknown date)

Location: Junction Sk. 2051/2042 (opposite Çeşme amphitheatre). Situation: Freestanding. Size: 3.30m x 2.33m x 2.71m. Status: Relocated in 1990’s, listed for preservation July 1992, currently in carpark area and used as storage/display by adjacent florist. Properties: Front – cut stone arches and rectangular columns, rear – rubble masonry with mortar.

Church Fountain (1832)

Location: Sk. 2030 (behind Ayios Haralambos Church). Situation: Set on church wall. Size: 1.99m x 1.45m x 0.58m. Status: Relocated from north-side of church (high street) after 1988, listed for preservation July 1992, currently used for sanitary and street cleaning purposes. Properties: Cut stone with mortar.

Church Gate Fountain (unknown date)

Location: Sk. 3013 (near Sk. 3023). Situation: Set on wall. Size: 1.94m x 1.57m x 0.18m/0.74m. Status: Adjacent to preservation listed old church gate (unknown church demolished) but fountain is not listed. Surrounded by building materials and marked with graffiti. Properties: Previously slate stone with decorative elements, after 1988 completely covered with tiles.

Hamaloglu / Hafize Rabia Hatun Fountain (1851)

Location: Junction Sk. 1021/2032. Situation: Freestanding, adjacent to the southeast corner of Çeşme cemetery. Size: 4.25m x 3.40m x 3.50m. Status: Listed for preservation July 1992, restored October 2015. Properties: Cut stone facade, red & white arch stones, rubble masonry dome, Ottoman inscription in depicted jug on façade arch keystone, with tulip motives either side of spout stone.

Ilica Road Fountain (unknown circa late C18th)

Location: Ataturk Boulevard (near Migros MM). Situation: freestanding. Size: 3.52m x 3.18m x 0.66m. Status: Not protected, moved from Çeşme-Ovacık road, forms wall of tyre service garage, defaced by graffiti. Properties: Cut stone on front facade otherwise rubble masonry.

Ilyaszade Fountain (1780)

Location: Junction Sk. 2032/1005/2009. Situation: Freestanding. Size: 4.16m x 3.86m x 3.80m. Status: Restored after 1970, listed for preservation July 1992, maintained in good condition. Properties: Cut stone facade and arches, plastered rubble masonry dome.

Attribution by Ahmet Karaçöl in study states “Built by Seyyid Muhammed, the son of Hafız İlyas according to the panels on each of four façades, and repaired in 1829 according to an additional panel at the right side corner of the front façade (Geyik 2007)”

Kabadayi Fountain (1839)

Location: Junction Sk. 1005/1043. Situation: Attached to adjacent building. Size: 4.60m x 3.33m x 3.35m. Status: Listed for preservation July 1992, reasonable condition considering decrepit adjacent building. Properties: Cut stone facade, columns and arches, rubble masonry dome covered in plant growth.

Kaymakam Fountain (1886)

Location: Sk. 1065 at corner of Sk. 1015. Situation: Freestanding. Size: 3.70m x 3.11m x 3.05m. Status: Listed for preservation July 1992, renovated and relocated in 1986 due to construction of Çeşme harbour road. Properties: Cut stone on all facades, slate stone eaves, rubble interior, cement plastered dome since transfer.

Municipality plaque inscription reads: “Kaymakam Sadik Bey Fountain was constructed by kaymakam Sadik Bey in 1303 (Hegira calendar), 1886 (Gregorian calendar). By the leadership of Association of Cesme Hotels, it was restored by the support of Izmir Zone Foundations Directorship and Municipality of Cesme, sponsorship of Dear Mehmet Akpinar and Umart Architecture October 23 2015.”

Köste Street Fountain (Unknown circa late C18th)

Location: Junction Sk. 3025 (previously Köste Street)/3033. Situation: Currently freestanding was attached to demolished property boundary wall. Size: 3.19m x 2.53m x 2.42m. Status: Listed for preservation July 1992, restored from plaster covering, good condition. Properties: Cut stone and rubble masonry, pitched roof.

Municipality plaque inscription reads: “As there isn’t a subscription the date of construction and the person who built it is unknown”

Köste Street Wall Fountain (Unknown)

Location: Junction Sk. 3013 (previously Köste Street) corner of Sk. 3019. Situation: attached to wall. Size: 2.05m x 1.78m x 0.66m. Status: Not protected, repaired 1990, recently (since 2015) overpainted in green gloss. Properties: Yellow & white cut stone.

Memiş Ağa Fountain (1798)

Location: Sk. 2009 corner of Sk. 2002. Situation: forms part of private residential building structure & walls. Size: 3.04m x 2.54m x 2.46m. Status: Listed for preservation July 1992, overpainted in whitewash. Electrical pylon constructed directly in front. Properties: Cut stone on front facade and cement plaster on side.

Murabutzade Fountain (1776)

Location: Sk. 2006 corner of Sk. 2008/9. Situation: adjacent to two walls of private residential building and roof forms terrace of same. Size: 2.86m x 3.10m x 3.50m. Status: Listed for preservation July 1992, fully renovated prior to January 2015 including removal of extensive plastering and overpainting. Properties: Cut stone on front facade and rubble masonry set with mortar elsewhere.

Municipality plaque removed sometime between since September 2015 and November 2018. Attribution by Ahmet Karaçöl in study states “Built by Ayşe Hatun for her deceased husband Murabutzade Hacı Hüseyin Kaptan in 1776 (Kayın 1988, Geyik 2007).”

Saliha Fountain (1800)

Location: Junction Sk. 1015/1016 (in front of Osman Ağa Mosque) Situation: freestanding. Size: 3.83m x 3.46m x 2.57m. Status: Listed for preservation July 1992, moved in 1990’s and renovated. Properties: Sandstone with mortar.

Attribution by Ahmet Karaçöl in study states “Built in 1800 by Seyyid Hüseyin Ağa the son of Şerif Ağa and his wife Hacı Saliha, the daughter of Ehli Bıçakçı (Geyik 2007).”

Description to be added