This year’s world expo is the largest ever. With “Better City -- Better Life” as its theme, the international fair and exposition, which opened on Saturday and runs through Oct. 31, spans 5.28 kilometers and welcomed nearly 350,000 visitors on its first day. With 194 countries and 44 cities and organizations participating, it is expected that the total visitor count will exceed 70-100 million by the time its doors close in the fall.
The expo’s Turkish Pavilion is supported in part by the 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency and hosts a number of cultural highlights that enliven the expo scene. The Turkish Pavilion is set up on a 2,000-square-meter area and greeted 52,286 visitors on May 1 -- making it the third most-visited pavilion at the event. Seen as a prime opportunity to showcase Turkey’s cultural riches, the Turkish Pavilion focuses on the past, present and future as part of its theme of Anatolia as a cradle of civilizations. The first section of the pavilion takes visitors on a journey through time to learn about Turkey’s historic firsts. A map indicating the ancient sites of Turkey, the world’s first mirror and the world’s first manmade dam are featured here. In the middle section, 360-degree movie displays show scenes from the streets of İstanbul to reflect the pride of the city as a 2010 European Capital of Culture. Visitors then encounter the future in the final section, which is represented by a symbolic figure of the phoenix, a mythical bird which dies in flames and is reborn from the ashes, to embody aspirations for the future.
Between May 1 and 3, the Zeynep Tanbay Dance Ensemble performed on the Europe Stage, sponsored by the İstanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency as part of the arts and culture activities showcasing Turkey; today the İstanbul Sazendeleri Group is performing a concert titled “Doğu Rüzgarı” (Eastern Wind).
The Turkish Pavilion expects to greet 7 million guests by the time the expo draws to a close and is distributing information about Turkey in English and Chinese. The cultural activities to be staged include performances of traditional Turkish music, ballet performances and a traditional “Çatalhöyük” fashion show.