Interest in Miniatürk increases
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
The operating manager of Miniatürk, Resul Erkan, says visitors rarely leave the park without first taking a photo next to the mockup of the Bosphorus Bridge.Miniatürk on the shores of Istanbul’s Golden Horn is celebrating a decade of providing a pint-sized tour of the architectural beauty of Turkey and the former Ottoman realm, having welcomed 6.5 million visitors over the past 10 years.
“We have seen a 300 percent increase in the number of tourists in the last three years. It will be much more in the next 10 years because our name is being heard more, and transportation opportunities are increasing every other day,” said Resul Erkan, the operating manager of the park, which was constructed on the shore of the Golden Horn with the slogan “a small model of a big country” in 2003.
The park features mockups of Turkish and Ottoman structures at a scale of 1/25. There are currently a total of 122 structures at Miniatürk, 59 of which are from Istanbul, 51 of which are from Anatolia, while the remaining 12 are drawn from the former Ottoman Empire that now lies outside of modern Turkey’s borders.
“We add one or two works every year in line with demands and criticism,” Erkan said.
He said a selection committee of academics made decisions about the works to be displayed in the park and that their goal was to display 160 to 170 structures in the park. Erkan said they received demands from every province and even from abroad as visitors wanted to see a structure from their local city.
“We offer demands to the selection committee. We have many demands at the moment. It doesn’t mean that all of them will be made. We receive the most demands for the following structures: the Basilica Thermal Roman Bath, which is located in Yozgat Sarıkaya and known as the first thermal treatment center in Anatolia; the walls of Diyarbakır, the al-Masjid an-Nabawi [in Mecca] and Şebinkarahisar Castle. There is big demand for the Kaaba, but we don’t lean toward it because it has a spiritual side,” Erkan said. Of the 6.5 million visitors that have come through Miniatürk’s doors over the 10 years, the manager said nearly 3.6 million people, including students, teachers, police officers and soldiers, had come, taking advantage of discounted ticket prices.
“Some 464,000 visitors were foreign tourists,” he said. “We also make contracts with travel agencies and promote the park in different ways. Visitors are being informed in nine different languages with the help of headsets.”
Erkan said visitors rarely left Miniatürk without first taking a photo next to the mockup of the Bosphorus Bridge.
According to Erkan, among the mockups that receive the highest demand in the park are the Bosphorus Bridge, Mardin stone houses, as well as the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Halil-ür-Rahman Mosque the Pool of Sacred Fish.
“There is also the Olympic Stadium. Maybe the stadium does not draw attention, but we put in a system that allows people to listen to the songs of the big four football clubs. When a Galatasaray fan is listening to the song of his club, a Fenerbahçe fan gets angry and a rivalry occurs there,” he said.