The design of the Turkey Pavilion referred to the great cultural diversity of Turkey’s history, a country that has always been a crossroads from West to East. The area in front of the route was dominated by an image of the pomegranate fruit. A symbol of the agricultural wealth of Turkey, the “Nar” – this is the Turkish word for pomegranate – represents diversity in unity, because it is just one fruit yet it contains so many little pleasures inside. So “Nar” is both singular and plural, and a symbol of fertility and abundance all around the world. The architectural design of the Turkish Pavilion was inspired by a modern interpretation of the drawing of the “Star of Selçuk”, placed at the entrance of the pavilion, and to the typical decorations of the Çesm-i Bülbül, the art of glass (literally ‘Eye of the Nightingale’), a form of glass blowing that was recreated here through small drawers with the various contents.
Flowers and spices to share
At the beginning of the exhibition there was a space entitled “Agriculture and man” recalling the importance of agriculture in Turkey, through the projection of photographs, while a second niche was an invitation to the Expo 2016 to be held in Antalya focusing on the theme “Cultivating a green life for the future generations”. Then came the Spice Market, an island that embraces a series of display units with all the spices that add flavor to Turkish cuisine, and that have been very important for the history of the Country, a must see of the spice route. Further along, sculptures of clasped hands as a sign of offering extended from a large white wall. Here some seeds were offered to the passing visitors as a symbol of the importance of sharing food. Another very interesting installation concerned the discovery of Göbeklitepe, the first sanctuary or religious temple in the world. A real size recreation of the main finding of the archaeological site was on display inside the Pavilion.
The Ottoman Palace: two exhibitions and an area for prayer
On the opposite side of the exhibition space, there was an indoor facility for events, workshops, exhibitions and seminars. The look of the building was inspired by the Ottoman Palace and hosted exhibitions of Turkish Coffee and The secrets of the Palace cuisine. The first one included a series of coffee sets from different historical periods and offered by a private collection. The second exhibition showed the delicacies of Ottoman cuisine, that is the last great Turkish empire. Here it was also an area for prayer available to all Muslims visiting and working at Expo Milano 2015.
The Ottoman fountain at the center of the refreshment point
Continuing the tour, another impressive space was the one that allows visitors to enjoy tea and Turkish coffee at the foot of an Ottoman fountain.
The Turkey refreshment area was in full harmony with the Pavilion’s open structure, and was, in fact, at the center of the exhibition route where it offered a buffet of Turkish delicacies. Two other spaces concludde the visit to the Pavilion: the Gaziantep cuisine, nominated as UNESCO City of Gastronomy, with cuisine means and tools from the Museum of Gaziantep, the only museum dedicated to cuisine in Turkey. Lastly, the Food and Art Island was a short exhibition of works that highlight food as an artistic subject.