Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep province wants to attract one million visitors annually, the museum's director told Anadolu Agency.
The museum is one of the largest of its kind and is home to unique ancient artifacts, such as mosaics, Roman-era fountains, bronze sculpture of Mars � the god of war in Roman mythology � and the famed Gypsy Girl.
Director Emine Ozturk said Zeugma Mosaic Museum has been transformed into a significant brand, promoting Gaziantep and Turkey worldwide.
About 113,000 tourists visited the museum in 2019 --19% more when compared to the same period in 2018, according to Ozturk. In addition, one-and-a-half million people have visited the museum since it was opened in 2011.
The newly-obtained 12 pieces of the mosaic of Gypsy Girl -- which was returned by the U.S. to Turkey after 52 years � are some of the most notable art pieces in the museum, Ozturk said.
Ozturk explained that interest toward the Gypsy Girl mosaic led to an influx of visitors to the museum, and 126,000 people visited since Dec. 8, 2018, when the famed artwork was first showcased.
Esra Taylan, a local tourist, said Turkey was like a paradise for cultural tourism because there were scores of artwork scattered across the country.
I believe that is wrong, she said of Turks first visiting sites abroad to see historical sites. Because we first need to see our own history, richness then set out for visits abroad. We had the privilege to visit fantastic pieces here, they are all beautiful.
Licensed tour guide Selda Sendikici said regional touristic tours would be organized regularly.
This museum is truly a source of pride for us. I've been conducting tours from Izmir for years, and the visitors can't help expressing their admiration after touring Zeugma Mosaic Museum, she said.
Source: Anadolu Agency