DIYARBAKIR, Turkey

A historic building in eastern Turkey will be turned into a learning institution that will introduce the world to the rich food culture of a southeastern Turkish province.

The project in Sur in Diyarbakir province is being implemented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Diyarbakir with the support of the Karacadag Development Agency with coordination of the Ministry of Industry and Technology.

The Chamber of Commerce service building will serve as the Gastro Innovation Center to introduce the tastes of Diyarbakir, the city of civilizations.

Visitors will be instructed on dish preparation that will be promoted in tasting workshops to local and foreign tourists.

Secretary-general of the Karacadag Development Agency, Hasan Maral, told Anadolu Agency that the group has supported projects in Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa provinces since 2009 with coordination of the Ministry of Industry and Technology Directorate General of Development agencies.

The Gastro Innovation Center has a budget of 4.6 million Turkish lira ($642,000), according to Maral, who said the agency will grant 3.3 million lira to the project.

Maral said Diyarbakir has important tourism potential, not only the natural riches of the city but the food and beverage culture should be explained to visitors.

“Although our food culture was rich, we could not make it commercialize and promote it nationally and internationally,” he said, while stressing the importance of the center. “Now, with this center, we will train young people who will grow up in this field. We will enable visitors from outside the province to taste here one-on-one and see the food culture of Diyarbakir.”

Maral said the Chamber of Commerce will soon move to its new building and the center will be opened for service by making necessary restorations and improvements to the building.

An application was filed earlier this year with UNESCO Creative Cities Network in gastronomy.

“Our aim is to include Diyarbakir to this network this year,” he said. “If we do this, our city will come to the fore with its food and beverage culture.”

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