Following a 585 million Turkish Liras ($39,5 million) worth of investment, the Hatay Expo 2022 will open its doors on April 1 with an expectation to host around 2 million visitors this time.
Based on the main theme of “gardening,” the cultural and floral richness of the southern province of Hatay will be presented at the expo, where representatives from some 25 countries will come.
The symbol of the expo will be “Peace flower,” a kind of flower discovered in Hatay, and mascots will be mountain gazelles, which are native to the region.
The names of the mascots are “Defne” (Daphne) and “Zeytin” (Olive).
Lütfü Savaş, the mayor of the province, told the story of the mascots’ names in an interview with the daily Milliyet on March 15.
“Hatay has always been a trade center throughout its history, and we will use the fairground as a trade center. The expo officials will make contacts with grain, sapling, plant and herb suppliers. We will prioritize [the trade of] olive, olive oil and daphne. That is why we gave those names to our mascots.”
Inside the fairground, there is a “Garden of Civilizations,” a floral exhibition area symbolizing the 13 civilizations that left their marks in the city. There is a “Plant Museum” and a “National City Garden,” where local and national floral richness will be exhibited.
The expo is also presenting gastronomy as its “hidden theme,” in which visitors will get a chance to walk through a “Gastronomy Village,” getting a taste of local foods and delicacies.
“We will host visitors with our local cuisine, consisting of the Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Anatolian flavors,” the mayor said.
Şahin also highlighted that they invited Pope Francis to the inauguration of the expo.
Located along the Syrian border, Hatay has been home to various settlements since the early Bronze Age. As of 2020, the population of the city is around 1.6 million.