BIE Secretary General visits Expo 2016 Antalya

The BIE Secretary General, Mr. Vicente G. Loscertales, visited Expo 2016 Antalya to evaluate the state of preparation of the Expo. He met with the Secretary General of Expo 2016 Antalya Agency, Mr. Hasmet Suiçmez, and his team.

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During the working meeting, the organisers presented comprehensive information on construction, planting, content, participation, events, promotion, and marketing. The meeting was followed by a visit of the Expo site.

The BIE Secretary General commented positively on the attractiveness of the site and on the organisers' plans for the cultural programme. He stressed the importance of the coordination work with the participants to ensure high quality contents and beautiful gardens. A notable feature of Expo Antalya is the conservation of the gardens post-Expo and the use of the site as a permanent park.

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The Secretary General had the opportunity to meet the Governor of Antalya, Mr. Muammer Türker, and the Mayor of Antalya, Mr. Menderes Turel, and in their discussions, expressed his satisfaction with the progress made in the Expo preparation.

Expo Antalya opens next year on the 23rd April and will be the first international horticultural exhibition recognised by the BIE to be held in Turkey.

Turkey and the BIE

Turkey has a long history of Expo participation, dating as far back as Expo 1867 in Paris. Turkey became a member of the BIE in 2004 to strengthen its involvement in Expos and to improve its chances of hosting future International Expos. It then was selected to host Expo 2016 Antalya, a Horticultural Expo organised in partnership with the AIPH.

The Experience

Expo Antalya 2016 took place on an afforested 112-hectare site, developed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

The attractions on the site are being maintained in the post-Expo period, representing a long-term asset for Antalya’s tourism.

The site of Expo 2016 Antalya notably includes Turkey’s first Museum of Agriculture and Biodiversity, a tower symbolizing Hadrian's Gate, Turkey’s largest congress centre, two amphitheatres, an artificial island and a Biodiversity Theme Track for children, an Expo Lake and a plant statue exhibition.

Designed in the shape of an ear of wheat, the Museum of Agriculture and Biodiversity offers visitors a journey through the history of agriculture from 12,500 years ago to the present.

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The Expo introduced visitors to the gardening culture of participating countries. One of the main symbols of Antalya - Hadrian's Gate - was symbolised by the 111-meter high Expo Tower, with three viewing platforms - two outdoors and one enclosed - from which Expo visitors had the opportunity to enjoy views over the Antalyan landscape.

A conference centre was designed with a main hall that has a seating capacity of up to 5,000. The total capacity amounts to 9,500 people – including the Indoor Gardens, representing one of the most important and permanent legacies that the Expo has left to Antalya.

The two amphitheatres (one with the capacity to seat 800 and the other one to seat 5,000 visitors) hosted a range of events throughout the Expo, including National Days and other cultural events held by participating countries. Art performances or concerts by famous artists were scheduled at regular intervals during the Expo, while the small amphitheatre hosted events and shows, generally for children.

The Expo site also featured special areas dedicated to kids such as the Children's Island with its comfortable playing area, enabling children to learn whilst having fun. Following the Expo, the Island is being made available for school visits. A Biodiversity Theme Track, also specially designed for kids, is divided into three sections, corresponding to the three bio-geographical regions of Anatolia, the Euro-Siberian the Irano-Turanian and the Mediterranean floras.

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Other features of the Expo site include a terrace in the shape of the peony flower, symbol of Expo 2016, the Expo Hill, the Expo Forest, and Expo Lake, where regular light, sound and water shows were held.

The Expo Hill and the Expo Forest hosted the different gardening cultures of participating countries, where visitors could discover the diversity of horticultural products and the variety of ecosystems present around the world. Thousands of different species were showcased throughout numerous gardens and greenhouses. More particularly, 100 plant statues, the first of their kind in Turkey and largest ever held in the world in terms of scale and plant compositions, were created for the Expo.

About Antalya

A high potential for horticultural research

The nature that surrounds Antalya makes it an extraordinary location for a Horticultural Expo. Antalya is an environmental hot spot with endemic species of plants and plays an outstanding role in horticultural production in Turkey and in the Mediterranean region. The city has enough potential to become a leading centre for environmental and horticultural research.

A major touristic destination

With its 640 km long coastline and its rich history and incredible natural beauty, Antalya is a major touristic centre in the world with 12 million annual foreign visitors on average and 15 million visitors expected in 2016.
Known as the "Turkish Riviera", the history of the city and the beautiful beaches and mountains that surround it have turned Antalya into one of the most visited cities in the world.
There are approximately 300 antique sites to visit such as Aspendos, Termessos, Phaselis, St. Nicholas, Perge and the ruins of the ancient city of Patara. The excellent combination of the sea and sun, beaches, breath-taking waterfalls and authentic localities such as Olympos makes it virtually a wonderland.

Antalya, with its enormous variety of beautiful geographical features, has a temperate climate with on average 300 days of sun per year and an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.