“Mesopotamia tour” increases interests of tourists
Çetin Aydın - ADIYAMAN
Changing name of the tour in the southeastern Anatolia region as “Mesopotamia tour,” the number of tourists visiting the region has increased by 30 percent while tourism professionals have predicted that this increase will reach 100 percent.
The tour, previously known as Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) tour, did not arouse the interest of many tourists as technical association of the name prompted people to perceive the tour as a trip about infrastructure projects, Burhan Akyılmaz stated, an officer from Silkroad Development Agent.
“By creating the Mesopotamia brand, we have overcome this perception of the technical concept in the minds of the consumers and travelers,” Akyılmaz added.
“Mesopotamia tour” presents a tourism package covering trips to the southeastern province of Gaziantep, Adıyaman, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Batman, Siirt and Diyarbakır.
Pointing out that the name Mesopotamia represents the historical roots of the region, tour agencies also supported this change and started selling the trip with the new brand, he stated.
Commagene biennial, which has been held in the southwestern province of Adıyaman between Aug. 20 and Oct. 20, has also contributed to this increase in the number of tourists, he added.
The biennial organized around Mount Nemrut, which has been a ceremonial and burial tumulus for King Antiochus I of the ancient Commagene kingdom, inspired by the theme of creating “an imaginary civilization” on an “island” of creator Nihat Özdel.
The works of some 53 artists from 23 countries have been presented while the sites of the exhibition are Nemrut Tumulus, Cendere Bridge, Karakuş Tumulus, Arsemia, Kahta Castle and five islands formed after Atatürk Dam on the Euphrates River.
Another reason behind increasing interest to the region is Mount Nemrut in Adıyaman, which is ranked on the UNESCO World Heritage List and known as “the place where the sunrise and sunset are most pleasantly observed.”
“We are trying to attract astronomy researchers here to make Mount Nemrut a dark sky park as the surrounding area of the mountain is without light,” Akyılmaz stated.
Pointing out that they decided to cooperate with the Turkish Space Agency, he said that the horoscope with lion figure on Mount Nemrut reveals that astronomy studies were conducted even in the ancient period.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Castle Kahta in Adıyaman after the restoration works of the castle, the governor Mahmut Çuhadar stated that the area of Nemrut hosted 165,000 tourists last year, noting that the area already reached this number on Sept. 15 this year.
“We are aiming to reach 250,000 by the end of the year. We are working to have between 300,000 and 350,000 next year,” he added.
Mount Nemrut is a 2,134-meter-high mountain, notable for the summit where many large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the first century B.C.
The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1987.
Mesopotamia is a historical region situated within the Tigris-Euphrates river system, including Türkiye’s southeastern parts, present-day Iraq, Kuwait, parts of present-day Iran and Syria.