Turkey's historical Beypazarı city seeks nomination for UNESCO list
The Beypazarı district is seeking nomination to the World Heritage List. "We are confident and hopeful," Mayor Tuncer Kaplan said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency.
Stressing that only one candidate is selected among over 130 candidates per year, Kaplan said they held meetings and took the necessary steps for candidacy.
"We believe that Beypazarı deserves the World Heritage status more than many places," said Kaplan, adding that Beypazarı has a long history which was home to Hittites, Ancient Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks, and the Ottoman Empire.
Besides having rich cultural assets, the region has played a strong role in agriculture, he said.
"We are Turkey's leader district on agriculture. We provide %12-13 of the total vegetable need of the country," stressed Kaplan.
Producing nearly 60% of Turkey's carrots, he said the district is leader in lettuce, green onion, and spinach farming.
The region has a great capacity in seedling production and provides for Turkey's southern provinces of Adana and Mersin, he added.
"We are getting results of fruit saplings which planted three years ago. Our fruit garden project has been continuing on over 200 dunums of land," or 200,000 square kilometers, the Beypazarı mayor said.
He said he also put efforts to strengthen seed process facilities,
greenhouses and beehives.
We will also become prominent with our fruit farming, especially strawberry, in the upcoming two years by diversifying fruit crops, he added.
Beypazarı is famous for its local food such as Beypazarı kurusu, which is a traditional long-lasting pastry, as well as high quality natural mineral water, "tarhana" -- dried crushed mixture of fermented yogurt and wheat flour that is usually served as a soup -- "eriste" -- traditional noodles -- and stuffed grape leaves.
"This year, we are planning to organize a gastronomy festival in cooperation with Ankara University," said Kaplan.
Referring to the 25th International Beypazarı Festival, held on Sept. 6-8, the mayor said that the traditional festival boosts trade in the region.
"The best part is that local people of Beypazarı embraced, loved and embarked on the festival," he added.
The promotion campaign was carried out via social media and reached nearly four million people, the mayor highlighted.
One of the attendees Ivy Mousanda Chilengi, wife of Zambian ambassador to Turkey, told Anadolu Agency that she had visited the festival twice.
"I usually buy local products such as dried food and vegetables," said Chilengi, highlighting that Zambia and Turkey have similar cultural features.
Zambian people are also keen on festivals where people exhibit their hand-made products, she said adding that Beypazarı is a quite and lovely place and that she enjoyed the festival.
The festival was attracted by thousands of people from Turkey and several countries including diplomats from Japan, Morocco, and Senegal.
Beypazarı is a member of the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions.