UNESCO Gaziantep applies to World Heritage List

UNESCO Gaziantep applies to World Heritage List

GAZİANTEP - Anatolia News Agency
UNESCO Gaziantep applies to World Heritage List Poutheast Anatolia’s Gaziantep, home to one of the first settlement sites in the world, is applying to join the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Gaziantep is a very rich area in terms of culture and heritage, Sezer Cihan, an official in charge of urbanization at Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, recently told Anatolia news agency.

“There are many archaeological areas and all of them can be an example to the world,” he said.

“We have the ancient city of Karkamış, the Yesemek Open Air Museum and Sculpture Atelier, the ancient city of Dülük and Rumkale fortress. There are many castles, mansions, mosques and churches in the town,” said Cihan. The city’s 5.5-kilometer “History and Culture Road” project has received awards in the past, while the traditional architecture of the 200 mansions in the Bey Neighborhood has also been restored, he said. “There are many mansions in other cities, but Gaziantep’s neighborhoods are unique,” said Cihan, adding that there were many other cultural treasures located in the Bey neighborhood, including caves. “We have started archival and photography work for the caves.” Cihan said Gaziantep had applied to enter the cultural heritage list six months ago. “We were told that the city should enter the world heritage as a whole, not through individual cultural artifacts. The representatives told us that the city’s chances were very high.”

Noting that they would also host representatives from UNESCO, Cihan said: “We will evaluate the sites and areas with them. We will take their comments and prepare a report on this.”

Gaziantep has become a brand city with its culture and history, said Cihan, adding that the latest restoration projects and archaeological works had drawn attention to the city. Moreover, many people had begun to visit Gaziantep thanks to the latest projects, he added.

“In order to present the beauty of Gaziantep and its cultural and historical heritage to the world, we should enter the UNSECO World Heritage List,” said Cihan. “By getting on the list, the city will be able to present itself better in the international arena.” UNESCO recognition will bring economic and employment benefits, said Cihan. The important aspect of the list is to raise awareness in terms of cultural heritage, said Cihan. “There were many areas and mansions which were left without care. We have restored them, and this UNESCO heritage list raised awareness in terms of cultural history.” A team from the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Italy’s Bologna University are carrying out one excavation in Karkamış, which is located in an area littered with land mines on the Syrian border. The goal is to completely unearth the ancient city with its roads, squares, city walls and temples and turn the city into an archaeology park, Cihan said.

Karkamış has the potential to become a significant archaeological area just like Bergama and Ephesus in western Turkey, according to Cihan.

Gaziantep flourishing as new museum destination

GAZİANTEP - Anatolia News Agency

The southeastern province of Gaziantep is already famous for its many museums and attracts Turkish and foreign tourists alike.

Now, the province is preparing to become a “museum city” with the addition of newly planned museums.

Gaziantep, which is well-known for its Zeugma Museum, which houses mosaics unearthed from the ancient city of Zeugma, plans to attract visitors with other newly opened venues, including the Bath Museum, the Toy Museum and the Atatürk Memorial Museum. Construction on the three museums has already started.

The province’s future lies in its tourism potential, Gaziantep Mayor Asım Güzelbey recently told Anatolia news agency, and added that authorities planned to build 10 museums within the next 10 years, including the three currently under construction.

The Toy Museum will open in a historical Gaziantep mansion and will operate under the direction of Sunay Akın, the founder of the Istanbul Toy Museum, according to information acquired by Anatolia news agency from the Gaziantep Municipality Culture Department.

The city’s museum will be a more developed version of the Toy Museum found in Istanbul’s Göztepe neighborhood. The Gaziantep Toy Museum will not only exhibit old toys but will also exhibit how the development of civilization was reflected through toys, according to officials.