Located southest of the Anatolia Region in Turkey, Gaziantep is well-known for its long gastronomic history which has been at the core of its cultural identity since the Iron Age. Nowadays, gastronomy remains the main driving force of the local economy. In a city of 1,890,000 inhabitants, 60% of the active population is employed by the sector, and a significant 49% of the enterprises are mainly dedicated to food, including spices, cereals and dried fruits. In Gaziantep, gastronomy is also synonymous with festivity, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion.
Gaziantep Pistachio Culture and Art Festival has livened up the city and stands as the flagship event with its wide range of performances combining gastronomy, music, literature and folk art. Other local festivals included the Shira Festival, which is an unique 3-day event gathering almost the whole city to share the diversity of local cuisines inherited from the Gaziantep’s location on the ancient Silk Road. The city takes advantage of this distinguished geocultural location to enhance cooperation with sister cities, notably at the Silk Road Mayor Forum which aims to foster the development of sustainable cities by tackling poverty and environmental issues.
The Municipality demonstrates a strong commitment to improving urban quality of life and supporting sustainable development through many environmental and ecological programmes including a climate change action plan, an environment protection plan and the creation of an eco-park. This third programme is aligned with the production of renewable energy by transforming pistachio shells, unused until now, into an innovative source of energy foreseen to benefit both industrial and residential use.
As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Gaziantep envisages:
- nurturing intercultural dialogue through the Kitchens in Districts project aimed at establishing fully equipped kitchens for people with low economic resources to both cook and share their know-how with other denizens;
- enhancing social inclusion through the Atelier Without Obstacles project by offering vulnerable groups and disabled people training courses on the creation and management of creative enterprises;
- encouraging multi-levels cooperation by conducting research and collecting data with other Creative Cities of Gastronomy, notably on the history of the ancient Silk Road’s food culture; and
- organizing an International Festival of Gastronomy to share experiences and know-how with other Creative Cities of Gastronomy.