There is one week left to EXPO 2016 Antalya, one of the most important horticultural exhibitions in the world, opens its doors to tourists from Turkey and abroad. On April 22, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will participate in the opening ceremony of the exhibition, themed after "Flowers and Children," in the southern Turkish province of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast. More than 40 countries are expected to participate in the EXPO, which will run for six months, from April to October on a 112-hectare exhibition site. There are several ambitious gardens inside the exhibition site, including a 3,150-square-meter Chinese garden called "Moon's Jewel," and a 1,200-square-meter Japanese garden. China and Japan have some of the oldest gardening cultures in the world. Chinese garden project manager Meng Qian Wang said China's horticultural history goes back more than 4,000 years. A 30-member staff from China worked for three months to complete the second-biggest garden of the exhibition, with the biggest belonging to Nepal. Meng Qian Wang said that the garden to be exhibited in Antalya took its inspiration from the gardens of Suzhou, one of the country's oldest cities, known as China's Venice. He said an important part of the city of Suzhou, in the Jiangsu Province of eastern China (about 100 kilometers [62 miles] northwest of Shanghai), is under water. The city is located in the Yangtze River Valley and on the shores of Lake Tai.
"We planted pure Chinese plants in this garden," Meng Qian Wang told Anadolu Agency, adding that another important aspect of Chinese gardens is their large surface spaces. He said that rooms in the garden had roofs inspired by bird wings, prepared in China and transported to Turkey. The Japanese garden's project manager Takeo Fujimoto told Anadolu Agency that the garden they started to prepare in Oct. 2015 will be ready next week. Fujimoto said they tried to replicate Japan in the garden: "We utilized rocks, green areas and waterfalls specific to Japan," he said.
His team created artworks and lighthouses with bamboo trees that came from Japan. To symbolize Turkish-Japan friendship, he said they used flowers grown in Turkey. Fujimoto said the sakura tree was one of the key components in Japanese gardens. "Sakura is a kind of cherry tree that bears no fruits. This tree symbolizes the start of life, in other words the spring, as well as the inevitable end." Organizers expect millions of tourists from both Turkey and abroad will visit EXPO 2016 Antalya to experience the gardens and enjoy cultural and artistic activities, along with national and international congresses, panels, meetings and seminars.