Located in the picturesque Turkish coastal town of Ayvalık, and a brief ferry ride from the storied Greek island of Lesvos, this historical Greek house was erected in the 19th century as a camel barn. Abandoned for decades, the property was bought and restored in 2016 by PICT co-founders Evrim Emir-Sayers and David Selim Sayers with the dream of turning it into a space devoted to education and intellectual exchange. It now serves as PICT Aegean, the southern branch of the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking, where summer workshops, artist residencies, and scholarly conferences bring together creative and critical thinkers from all backgrounds on the matchless shores of the Aegean Sea.
On the ground floor, a massive iroko table spanning 4.2 meters in length serves as the gathering point for lectures, courses, and workshops. The lecture area is framed by ancient, handmade stone walls, illuminated by a sliding door opening onto the garden space, and flanked by an open kitchen stocked with refreshments.
Nestling along the staircase leading onto the upper floor, the small but select PICT Aegean library invites visitors for a browsing session. The current collection is focused on philosophy and Turkish studies, with particular sections devoted to world literature and graphic novels.
With its comfortable set of designer pinewood sofas arranged around a fireplace and opening onto the garden space, the PICT Aegean common area welcomes visitors for their morning coffee, afternoon break, or evening discussions and games.
Visitors are invited to enjoy the private terrace, surrounded by handmade stone walls, equipped with cast-iron deck chairs, and protected by a sail-shaped sun shade. In the evenings, the PICT Aegean terrace plays host to intimate gatherings and film screenings.
The small garden adjacent to the terrace is used for the production of organic food, with herbs and vegetables harvested for local consumption as well as flowers that aesthetically round out the space. A favorite gathering spot for local butterflies, the garden can be enjoyed for its view from the terrace as well as for the delicious taste of its products!
The nearest airport is Edremit (Koca Seyit) Airport (EDO), located 40 km from Ayvalık and served by direct flights from Istanbul and Ankara. Inexpensive shuttles take you from the airport to Ayvalık city center, a mere 5-minute-walk from PICT Aegean.
In the high season, daily ferries connect Ayvalık with Mytilini, the capital of the Greek island of Lesvos, itself reachable by plane from Athens. Tickets for the one-hour ferry ride can be purchased from several centrally located offices in Mytilini and Ayvalık alike.
Photo Credit: © by Gulseren Safak