Afyonkarahisar is seeking to become a ‘brand city’
I was in the Central Anatolian province of Afyonkarahisar last week to attend the “TÜHİD Anatolia Meet” organized by the Turkish Public Relations Association (TÜHİD).
Just like the events “Explore with Hürriyet” and “Garanti Bank Anatolian Talks,” the event organized by TÜHİD is very useful, both for the cities that hold such organizations and journalists who visit those cities.
Governor Mustafa Tutulmaz, who has been in office for nine months, was right when he said Afyon’s assets have not been properly promoted.
A two-day visit is not enough to see and experience all the beauties of the city.
Afyon is a crossing point. The Hittite, Phrygian, Lycian, Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk civilizations have left their mark all over the city.
The Phrygian Valley, which resembles Cappadocia, is a hidden treasure waiting to be explored.
In the ancient city of Ayazini, the Phrygian, Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk tombs lay side by side in the Ayazini village.
Such unique scenery cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.
A center for healing since ancient times
In the city center, there are more than five hundred renovated historic houses and a lodge for Mevlevis, which is the second largest one after the one in Konya.
Afyon has been known for its thermal springs with healing powers since ancient times.
Governor Tutulmaz said they had applied to become a member of the Thermal Cities Association, which has 20 members across the world.
Gazlıgöl, one of the oldest thermal springs and 25-kilometers from Afyon, suffers from uncontrolled housing development, just like Turkey’s other cities.
Gazlıgöl is the home of the Kızılay Spring Water but the spring water basin is full of housing estates.
Afyon’s other precious value is marble. The marble quarries from Roman times are still active.
The Italians and Chinese are very fond of Afyon’s marble.
We have even heard that Italians closed the quarries in their country and bought quarries in Afyon. They process this marble and sell it back to Turkey at a price five times higher than the marble sold by local companies.
The opium poppy that was minted on coins in ancient times, cream (kaymak), Turkish delight (lokum), and sujuk are other specialties in Afyon.
Afyon will become an important tourist destination
Governor Mustafa Tutulmaz, who constantly took notes during the event organized by TÜHİD, told us about the activities organized in Afyon over the past month.
A farm machinery fair, gastronomy festival, health tourism workshop, classical music festival, the 18th Jazz Festival, book fair, short film festival, and the Phrygian valley marathon are all events that have been organized in just one month, which show the huge potential Afyon has.
“Afyon will become an important destination in Turkey and the world in a couple of years,” Tutulmaz said.
Asım Kocabıyık’s farm and the Art Valley project
Asım Kocabıyık, the founder of Borusan, is from Afyon’s Tazlar village.
I had the opportunity to visit the village with Kocabıyık, before he passed away in 2012.
He told me about how he walked around barefoot in the streets of the village.
Kocabıyık would always say he owed a great debt of gratitude to Tazlar and wanted to invest in the village. His son, Ahmet Kocabıyık made his father’s dream come true.
Ahmet invested $10 million to build a modern farm on 2,000 decares of land.
The farm provides jobs to locals and various products are produced, including kaymak.
More importantly, a geographical indication was registered for Afyon’s kaymak.
Ahmet also plans to build the world’s second largest “Art Valley” next to the farm.