Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.23
Antalya's Expo 2016 opened with hopes that the six-month food-themed world fair will be a catalyst for a tourism industry revival in the southern Turkish province, located on the Mediterranean Sea coast. The expo, one of the most important horticultural exhibitions in the world, is expected to attract 8 million visits over six months and aims at constituting a permanent and unique tourist attraction for the region.
National pavilion of Azerbaijan, covering about 2000 square meters of the exhibition space, was assembled under the support of the Heydar Aliyev Center. The Azerbaijani delegation at the exhibition included Deputy Director of the Heydar Aliyev Center Adil Kerimli, Minister of Agriculture Heydar Asadov and Azerbaijani Ambassador in Ankara Faig Bagirov.
The Azerbaijani national pavilion features the rich fauna, unique biodiversity and culture of Azerbaijan's gardening along with samples of national carpets and artworks reflecting the nature of Azerbaijan.
The official opening ceremony for the expo was held Friday night with the attendance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoglu and other international guests.
"This Expo is the culmination of many years of work and today we witness the magnificent result of all this hard work," said Bernard Oosterom, president of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH).
"I am convinced that this Expo opens the way for Turkey to host many other major international events but always remember, it started here!" Oosterom said.
Expo 2016 Antalya, on a 112-hectare exhibition site, includes, notably, Turkey's first agriculture and biodiversity museum, a greenhouse, Turkey's largest congress center, two amphitheaters, an artificial island and a science and technology center for children.
Some 53 participating countries introduced their national horticultural tradition emphasizing international diversity.
Together with Turkey, 53 countries, from 4 continents, have put innovation, art, technology and imagination at the service of the beauty and the poetry of gardens.
Forty "urban best practices", selected at both national and international levels, have been displayed to introduce innovating solutions to environmental problems, organic farming, biotechnology and agricultural techniques.
A number of activities have also been scheduled throughout the Expo to enable children to develop environmental awareness and responsibility. Issues such as global warming, ecological farming, the protection of biodiversity, sustainability and food security will also be addressed. There are several ambitious gardens inside the exhibition site, including a 3,150-square- meter Chinese garden called Moon's Jewel and a 1,200-square-meter Japanese garden.