ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Tourist numbers that visited Turkey have increased during the first half of 2013. The figures increased by 7 percent when compared to the same period last year and Ottoman culture appears to be the main attraction
Topkapı leads the top of the list with 1.8 million visitors. After Topkapı Hagia Sophia comes with 1.6 million visitors.
During the first half of 2013, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Mevlana Museum were the most popular cultural attractions for tourists both from abroad and from within Turkey.
According to the latest data taken from the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey, in the period from January to June this year a total of 13.7 million people visited the country’s museums and archaeological sites. When compared to last year these figures show an increase of 7 percent. Visitors to the museums reached 5.2 million people and in the same period 3.1 million people visited cultural attractions free of charge.
The overall increase in visitors corresponded to 7 percent.
The visitor figures and choices also showed that the interest in the culture of the Ottoman Empire
was increasing. According to the latest data taken from the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Topkapı Palace
was the most visited cultural site in Turkey. The temporary exhibitions also changed the visitor figures. Topkapı Palace
notably hosted the Magnificent Art of Korea exhibition, featuring artifacts from various periods in Korean history, which attracted large numbers of visitors.
The palace attracted the highest number of visitors during the first two months of 2013.
The environmental reorganization also affected the visitor figures. Earlier this year, Topkapı Palace
rearranged the iconic palace’s gardens to more closely resemble the way they were in imperial times.
The gardens, which were once used by Ottoman sultans and their families during the spring and summer months, are now being re-landscaped with flowers and trees resembling those which had been present during Ottoman times.
“Istanbul Municipality has supported the project, and the decoration of the garden is still continuing in five different areas,” Haluk Dursun, the head manager of the palace, recently told Anadolu agency.
Noting that a total of 500,000 plants and flowers had so far been planted, Dursun said the planting started first with the Enderun Garden before other areas were converted into tulip gardens.
The changes have already attracted the attention of tourists, who typically photograph the gardens of the Sofa Mansion.
After Topkapı, the Mevlana Museum ranked second on the list. While Topkapı Palace
was visited by 325,685 people, the Hagia Sophia attracted a total of 313,549 people during the first two months of the year. Other places in Turkey such as Ephesus also ranked high on the list.
Mevlana Museum visitors
The Mevlana Museum of Konya attracted 900,000 visitors during the first half of 2013. Konya Museums Manager Yusuf Benli said there had been some technical problems at the museum and the exact figure for last year was not known. However, this year so far a total of 900,000 people have visited the museum, added Benli. Noting that the Mevlana Museum was the most visited museum in Konya, Benli said, “There are many different tourists from different countries depending on the time of year.”
During Ramadan a total of 4,000 people visit the museum daily. This is a very important figure, according to Benli. According to the latest data taken from the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Topkapı Palace
is the most visited monument in Turkey. The palace attracted the highest number of visitors during the first two months of 2013.