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TRAVEL > Slow city Akyaka closer to UNESCO

MUĞLA - Anatolia News Agency

Muğla’s Akyaka town was declared a ‘Slow City’ in 2010 and since then work has been accelerated for the town to be recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO, according to mayor

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After being selected for Cittaslow, Muğla’s Akyaka began to attract many daily tourists. Now the town has been preparing to be included in the UNESCO list for protection of its cultural heritage and its biological diversity. AA photos

After being selected for Cittaslow, Muğla’s Akyaka began to attract many daily tourists. Now the town has been preparing to be included in the UNESCO list for protection of its cultural heritage and its biological diversity. AA photos

The Aegean province of Muğla’s Akyaka town, which was admitted to the International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) in 2010, has been preparing to be included in the UNESCO list for protection of its cultural heritage and its biological diversity.

Cittaslow is a movement born out of a little town in Tuscany in 1999, conceived by the former mayor of Greve in Chianti, Paolo Saturnini.

Inspired by the Slow Food movement, his idea was to develop a way of living based on improving quality of life by reducing the pace.

After being selected for Cittaslow, Akyaka began to attract many daily tourists, according to Mayor Ahmet Çalca, who said the town had an understanding of tourism that was different from other tourism centers.

Çalca said the town, located in the Gökova River Basin, had been planned according to field management. “We have applied for the biological diversity of Akyaka and the Gökova River Basin to be recognized as world heritage. After work to raise awareness among locals, we – the Muğla Governor’s Office and Akyaka Municipality – applied to the General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage. Then the application was sent to the Foreign Ministry, which will present it to UNESCO.”

Akyaka has enough historical and cultural features to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, Çalca said. “We have four species of marine life and 15 species of terrestrial life. Marine and terrestrial life is recognized as world heritage. When the town is included on the list, it will be the first time a region in Turkey with biological diversity will be included in this list.”

Çalca said nearly 20 regions in different parts of the world had been declared world heritage. He said the main industry for locals was tourism, adding that tourism would be diversified in the town with kite surfing, canoeing, paragliding, mountaineering and plant and bird observation. “Our goal is to create a region where individual activities as well as agricultural activities can be done,” the mayor said.

Capital of tourism in the region

They will work to promote their own culture to visitors as well as their natural resources, Çalca said. “We want to be the capital of tourism in the region. We are progressing toward this goal. We don’t open new zones for construction. The Gökova River Basin will strengthen its brand as a ‘slow city’ in the international arena. We will serve high-income people.”

Akyaka’s tourist facilities include 2,200 hotel beds and a tent camping area suitable for 400 people. Most visitors find their way to Akyaka for the Nail Çakırhan House and Azmak Stream, which is a great location for scuba diving. The area also boasts a natural park with archeological sites. Akyaka also hosts day visitors from cities like Aydın and Denizli. Day visitors generally go to Akbük, the kite surfing area and Azmak Beach.

May/07/2013

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