As part of the agreement signed by both countries after the Turkish “Salvation War”, 500,000 Turks from Greece and 1,500,000 Greeks from Turkey were forced to immigrate and abandon the land they used to call their home.
Given the political and historical circumstances of the time, the Population Exchange Convention could be seen as a rather rational measure. Nevertheless, it was a real tragedy for all those thousands of people who had to face expatriation irrespective of their own wishes. .
One of the places that has suffered the most from this necessary bilateral immigration is the town of Alaçam in Samsun Province, Turkey.
Alaçam was back then a town full of wealthy Greek tobacco traders, who by 1870-1900 had built almost 100 mansions there. These houses were offered to Turkish people coming from Greece after 1923 and became a sort of property for those who had lost everything during the exchange process.
63 of the total number of mansions are nowadays protected by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. However, these impressive mansions in the town of Alaçam have been abandoned and left to decay for many years now, perhaps due to the town’s poor finances. Most of these old mansions are now nothing but standing ruins waiting for new owners to restore them.