Hatay’s Moses Tree draws huge interest
HATAY – Anadolu AgencyA plane tree, which is believed to have grown from the staff of the Prophet Moses thanks to the “water of immortality,” draws the interest of visitors from all around the country. The Moses Tree in the southern province of Hatay is believed to be 3,000 years old. The Hatay Tourism Association Chairman Sabahattin Nacioğlu noted a significant increase in the number of visitors to Hatay during and after the recent Eid al-Fitr holiday.
“This made us happy for the revival of tourism. Besides the historical places, tourists also visited areas like the Harbiye Waterfalls and the Moses Tree, which have great importance for the city,” said Nacioğlu.
“This place has a high tourism potential. The Samandağ Titus Tunnel, tombs and the Moses Tree were visited by lots of people, reviving tourism in the city. The Hıdırbey neighborhood, where the Moses Tree is located, is considered worthy to see. It is believed that the tree grew after Moses left his staff there. Besides, only an Armenian village in Turkey and our shores were among the highly visited places. We want local and foreign visitors to come and stay more in Hatay and also to see the beauty of the province.”
Landscape architecture and environmental studies have been conducted around the tree, which was declared a memorial tree by Supreme Council of Real Estate Antiquities and Monuments, Nacioğlu said.
The plane tree once maintained a barbershop and also plays host to local couples getting married beneath its boughs. Couples get married under the memorial tree with the participation of guests, drums and horns at the wedding ceremony, as villagers earn extra income through visitors, while the memorial tree witnesses the special moments of young couples.
Stating the improvement of relations with Russia would revive tourism, Nacioğlu adding, “According to the agreement made after shooting down the Russian aircraft, a convoy from Russia arrived in Antalya airport recently. This is good news. Turkey needs more moves to revive tourism. Hotels in Antalya have suffered from this crisis. However, the situation needs to change.”
Also, tourism will be buoyed by the end of the civil war in Syria, Nacioğlu said. “Hatay is being reflected in a negative way, but in contrast it is a quiet and peaceful town.”
The legend of the Moses Tree
There are various legends about the plane tree, which is believed to have grown from the staff of Moses and the “water of immortality.” According to legend, when Moses came here, he wanted to drink from the stream, which was believed to be the “water of immortality.” Moses bent down with its staff and drank from the water. Then, he suddenly realized that the staff produced leaves. Therefore, the Moses Tree is believed to be this staff. The tree is 7.5 meters wide and 17 meters tall.