Category A1 International Horticultural Exhibition
01/04/2016 - 31/10/2016
Flowers and Children
Flowers and Children
Between 23 April and 30 October 2016, Turkey organised a Horticultural Expo in the city of Antalya under the theme “Flowers and Children”. Recognised by the 150th General Assembly of the BIE on 24 November 2011, the Expo was the first BIE-sanctioned International Exhibition to take place in Turkey.
The Expo aimed to address global environmental issues, to share experiences in horticulture and agriculture, and to increase quality of life through the creation of green spaces and new job opportunities. With its “Flowers and Children” theme, and motto “A Green Life for Future Generations”, the Expo encompassed four subthemes: History, Biodiversity, Sustainability, and Green Cities.
Inaugurated by President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a ceremony on 22 April 2016, the Expo gathered 4.69 million visitors during its six-month run. Located in a popular tourist region and close to Antalya’s international airport, the Expo was a popular destination for international visitors, with 29% of all visitors coming from abroad.
Developed on a 112-hectare site in Aksu, Antalya, the site was organised around the Expo Lake, with the 111-metre Expo Tower as the central landmark.
With over 26,000 trees, three million flowers and several hundred species of shrubs, cacti, geophytes and aquatic plants in the theme gardens, the site was a true festival of horticulture. The Turkish Biodiversity Theme Trail introduced visitors to the country’s diverse phytogeography, while the Ottoman Garden showcased traditional Turkish landscapes inspired by art in Istanbul. A section was dedicated to plants and wild crops from the Fertile Crescent, while the Expo Greenhouse offered a wide range of tropical plants and trees from further afield. Visitors could also discover Turkey’s first Museum of Agriculture and Biodiversity, offering a journey through the history of agriculture over the past 12,500 years in an iconic building designed in the shape of an ear of wheat.
In addition to the Turkish gardens and exhibits, a total of 54 international participants took part in the Expo via indoor and outdoor gardens. Inspired by World Expo 2010 Shanghai, organisers also arranged an Urban Best Practices Area, showcasing innovations from different cities in favour of biodiversity, sustainability and green cities.
Echoing the “Flowers and Children” theme, Expo 2016 was also a playful and educational experience for younger visitors. In addition to several playgrounds, the Children’s Island offered workshops and learning activities, while the Outdoor Cinema screened a range of animations aimed at children of different ages.
Every day at the Expos, a wide array of cultural events and performances took place, offering visitors a full entertainment programme until 2am. Alongside activities as part of the 26 national day celebrations, over 13,000 artistic and cultural events took place throughout the duration of the Expo. These included regular light and water shows on Expo Lake, theatrical shows, and concerts from Turkish and international artists. The Expo also showcased unique works of art, including 108 mosaiculture plant sculptures and artworks inspired by children’s drawings.
Prepared in consultation with participating countries, the Antalya Declaration was made on the closing day of the Expo, with the stated purpose of increasing environmental awareness and promoting it to younger generations. Within the Declaration, the Turkish Government pledged to plant one tree for every child born in the country via the “Newborns Forests Project”. The Declaration also stipulates that the Expo site is to be used as an international technology and training centre to promote international cooperation, to share knowledge in tackling agricultural problems and to raise awareness of key environmental issues.