Zeugma mosaics draw huge interest in Turkey's Gaziantep
The number of tourists visiting the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in the first six months of the year increased by 70 percent compared to the same term last year.
The Zeugma Mosaic Museum is the world’s biggest mosaic museum, which opened seven years ago on an area of 30,000 square meters in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.
The “Gypsy Girl” mosaic, a bronze statue of the god of war “Mars,” Roman-era fountains and mosaics unearthed in a villa on the edge of the Euphrates are on display at the museum.
The museum, which holds the Presidential Grand Award, is among the most popular spots in the city.
This year, the number of tourists visiting the museum reached its highest in the last four years.
The number of tourists was 118,369 in the first half of 2015, 63,006 in the first half of 2016, and 72,626 in the first half of 2017. This number increased to 123,170 in the first half of this year.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Gaziantep Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Bülent Öztürk said the museum was the vision of the city, displaying rare artifacts in the world.
Öztürk said the museum, which displayed mosaics mostly produced in the Roman era, was one of the most visited venues in the city. “This year, the number of visitors is more than the total visitor number of 2016,” he said.
The culture and tourism director said Gaziantep had become a center of attraction for local and foreign tourists especially in 2017 and 2018.
“With the project ‘Now it is time for Gaziantep,’ which started last year, we have reached our goal of one million tourists. Now, we are coming closer to our new goal of 1.5 million tourists. The Gaziantep Governor’s Office, Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate, Metropolitan Municipality and district municipalities are maintaining promotional works in tourism,” he said.
“We see Turks, who are living abroad, especially in July and August. Germany ranks first among the international visitors. It is followed by Cyprus, the Netherlands, and Iraq. There is a high demand for reservations at our hotels in September, October, and November. In these months, when temperatures fall, the number of tours increase,” said Öztürk.
The Zeugma Mosaic Museum covers an area of 30,000 square meters and includes three different buildings, which have five seminar and conference rooms, administrative units, a library and exhibition fields.
According to officials, the Gypsy Girl mosaic, which is the symbol of both Gaziantep and Zeugma, is the main factor for the rise in visitors. The mosaic is displayed in a special section on the museum’s second floor.