The Cities

The festivals inaugural year featured five city exhibits from the Anatolian region. This year the organizers intend to have a total of nine cities exhibited given their popularity amongst visitors to the festival. The cities are exhibited in a three dimensional manner where the artisitic goal is to have a virtual and realistic experience. The cities that are to be displayed at the festival include: Istanbul, Konya, Mardin, Van, Izmir, Gaziantep and Kilis.

The City of Istanbul
The festival celebrates this stunning city that straddles Europe and Asia, with a display of its most famous structures, from the Blue Mosque to the Ataturk Bridge over the Bosphorus. In the middle of the exhibit is the Maiden’s Tower where short videos are screened, while outside artists demonstrate traditional Ottoman crafts like gilding, marbling and calligraphy
The City of Izmir
İzmir has almost 3,500 years of recorded urban history and possibly even longer as an advanced human settlement. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia and the third most populous city in Turkey. The ancient city was known as Smyrna, and the city was generally referred to as Smyrna in English, until the Turkish Postal Services Law of 1930 made "Izmir" the internationally recognized name.
  House of the Virgin Mary
The House of the Virgin Mary is located on Mt. Koressos in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Selçuk in Turkey.[1] Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint Johnand lived there. Pope Paul VI visited the shrine on July 26, 1967, and Pope John Paul II on November 30, 1979. Pope Benedict XVI visited this shrine on November 29, 2006 during his four-day pastoral trip to Turkey. The conclusion of his homily mentioned the martyrdom of Father Andrea Santoro in Trabzon which had taken place nine months prior to this visit.
The City of Konya
After entering through the historic Karatay Gate, visitors see one of this city’s landmarks, a replica of a museum dedicated to Rumi, the 13th Century Sufi poet. Next to it stands a mosque where traditional prayers take place, while the Whirling Dervishes give daily performances of their spellbinding form of meditation
  The City of Mardin
Another historic gate ushers visitors to this city famous with its stone-carved houses and its multi-religious character. Inside a traditional dwelling, festival goers can sit on hand-made carpets and enjoy the crafts, music and traditions of this historic city
The City of Van
The imposing Hosaf Castle marks the entrance of this Eastern Anatolian city, home of the oldest surviving Armenian Church of Akdamar. Inside are pictures and slideshows of the original Icons with a backdrop of Mount Ararat as seen from Lake Van
The City of Gaziantep
City of Gaziantep is famous for its historical places and cuisine. Museums in the city hosts ceramic pieces, figures, seals from the NeolithicChalcolithic and Bronze Ages; and various riches from the HittiteUrartuPersianRoman and Byzantine civilizations. The famous mosaics of the ancient city of Zeugma are separately displayed at the Zeugma museum. The dessert of baklava is originally native to this city and famous throughout the world along with burmalı, künefe (shredded dough with sweet cheese) and kadayif (shredded dough with pistachios)
  The City of Kilis
The name of Kilis is thought to be originating from two possible sources. First one the arabic word for lime which is "Kil'seh", was shortened and became Kilis. The reason is that the soil of Kilis contains high levels of lime. Second possible source is turkish word for church, which is "Kilise". Around 16th century Armenian pilgrims who traveled to St. Hovhannes Monastery in Kilis, caught the attention of nearby Turkish villagers. When Turks asked Armenians where they were traveling, they replied "Kiliseye gidiyoruz, Kiliseden dönüyoruz"; translates " We are traveling to and from the church". Among the cuisines, Kilis Kebabi is renowned, along with its breads, baklava and stuffed vegetables. Sights in the town include a number of Ottoman era mosques and stone houses with courtyards and elaborate carved wooden fittings.