By Lale Koklu
Restauranteurs and cafe owners in one of Turkey’s ancient cities are hoping the recent awarding of UNESCO City of Gastronomy status will offer a cash boost to the local economy.
Hatay was among a handful of cities across the world recognized last week for its exceptional cuisine.
The region, which is bordered by the Mediterranean and Syria, is famed for its distinct food, which reflects the province’s mixed Turkish and Arab history.
Sabahattin Nacioglu, head of the Hatay Tourism Association, said Hatay’s cuisine including around 600 dishes that could be distinguished as coming from the region.
“We need to represent this title in
The city of Hatay, also known as Antakya, has been a tourist and pilgrimage destination for centuries. Founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals as Antioch, the city was one of the centers of early Christianity.
However, in recent years its proximity to the Syrian civil war has dissuaded many visitors.
“From now on, gastronomy tourism will also be at
Mustafa Sertbas, a pastry chef who specializes in making the cheesy dessert Kunefe, was equally enthused by Hatay’s among the list of eight cities marked out for their cuisine.
“We already knew that Hatay was a city of gastronomy but from now on
Cafe manager Yusuf Eser added: “I hope we will host
Bahir Muratoglu, a chef skilled in making regional delicacies such as flatbread with spicy red pepper, also predicted a boost in visitor numbers.
“This title will be heard across the world and many foreign visitors will come to our city,” he said. “We will welcome them with pleasure.”
Among the 64 cities designated as Creative Cities by UNESCO last week were Istanbul, which was named
The Creative Cities Network was established in 2004 to increase cooperation among cities. It covers crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music and media arts.