Since 2007, Turkey has been a part of the decades-long European Heritage Days tradition. This year, however, the country expanded its programme to include five different cities and a wider number of cultural activities across the country. Already synonymous with rediscovering history and culture of Turkey, this year the festival covers a wider number of regions to put more heritage sites on the cultural map of Europe.
Throughout September and October, various museums and archaeological sites opened their doors to raise awareness of the national cultural heritage under the slogan “Explore the Past, Build the Future!” Highlighting the major benefits of active heritage exploration, this slogan has attracted visitors to jointly celebrate shared European values and communities that contributed to creating and preserving the country’s most valuable historical sites, objects and monuments.
“The ‘Heritage and Communities’ theme indicates the importance of protecting and exploring cultural heritage created by local communities. In Turkey, European Heritage Days is organised as an awareness-raising scheme to highlight how local communities contribute to the understanding of “European Dimensions” in local, national and international level,” notes Umut Özdemir, European Heritage Days coordinator in Turkey.
Traditionally, European Heritage Days events in Turkey have been organized during the second weekend of September simultaneously with many other countries. This year, organisational changes have made it possible for a larger number of people to be a part of the the event and explore their local heritage attractions. Among the highlights of the 2016 edition of the festival, the town Erzincan organised a workshop showing the traditional wall construction, while Mudurnu gathered architecture enthusiast for a two-part event. Within the context of EHD, Mudurnu organised an architectural design workshop on 9th and 10th September and the designs created on this occasion will be exhibited on 29th October.
By motivating citizens to explore their past, European Heritage Days in Turkey aim to encourage present day generations to cherish their heritage for the future. With this goal in mind, this year’s programme marks a significant regional expansion to enable more people to get involved in celebrating the rich history and traditional culture of the country.