Woodworking enthusiasts from all over the world will gather in Eskişehir, a picturesque university town in northwestern Turkey, from March 7 to March 27 to celebrate World Wood Day 2015, which will include a variety of exciting events
First established in 2012, World Wood Day is an annual cultural event held on March 21 to raise public awareness and promote the importance and benefits of wood. Observed concurrently on the same day as the International Day of Forests, which was officially recognized by the U.N. in 2013, World Wood Day aims to promote the concept that "wood is good" by highlighting its key role as an eco-friendly and renewable biomaterial in a sustainable world through biodiversity and forest conservation. World Wood Day was first held in Tanzania in 2013, China in 2014 and is now being hosted in Eskişehir, one of Turkey's most beloved and beautiful cities.
This unique celebration, co-organized by the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) and the Turkey Woodsmen Association (TOD), will unite wood enthusiasts from all over the world to share their passion for woodworking and to promote the significance of wood throughout history and its crucial role in the environment of the future.
This year's World Wood Day celebrations will consist of a series of wood-related activities and events hosted by the historical and picturesque Odunpazarı district of Eskişehir, with the opening and closing ceremonies held on March 21 and March 25, respectively. This year's theme for World Wood Day celebrations is "Wood and Humanity" and its focus is on recognizing the contribution and beauty of wood as well as rediscovering its significance for contemporary society.
More than 350 participants from nearly 70 countries are expected to travel to Eskişehir to participate in this nearly three week-long event with a two week-long joint group project titled "Building a Bridge" under the theme of harmony. During the week of March 16, there will be a series of activities held including a woodcarving show, woodturning demonstrations, a young adult furniture invitational and a folk arts workshop as well as a special event for children. The majority of this year's World Wood Day program will be held at the Kurşunlu Külliyesi, a complex complete with a mosque, madrasa and caravanserai that was built in the early 16th century. The official opening will be held during the day on March 21 in Odunpazarı Square, and will commence with a symposium held at the Rixos Hotel focusing on such topics as historical utilization and cultural values, art, music, literature and belief, endangered species and conservation issues and traditional knowledge and modern practice. Additionally, March 22 will be devoted to a day of tree planting in Vadişehir.
The highlights of the event, a wooden instruments music concert held at the Hasan Polatkan Convention Center, and an exhibition at the Kurşunlu Külliyesi, will be held on March 24. After weeks devoted to wood and all its glory, World Wood Day wraps up on March 25 with a closing ceremony at the Hasan Polatkan Convention Center followed by a special tour of Eskişehir on March 26.
Eskişehir is a wonderful city with the feel of a lively and young university town and also has a growing expat community. With the new high-speed train bringing the transportation time down to just two-and-a-half hours from Istanbul and even less from Ankara, Eskişehir is the perfect getaway for a weekend escape or a longer adventure. Set on the banks of the Porsuk River, where gondolas pass under walking bridges and a plethora of pedestrian streets, Eskişehir overlooks the Phrygian Valley, named for the Anatolian Kingdom that founded the city in 1,000 B.C.
Aptly named "wood market" in Turkish, Odunpazarı, is Eskişehir's Ottoman quarters composed of winding streets lined by 19th century, three-story, tiered, wooden, historical homes painted in pastels. The madrasa of the Kurşunlu Külliyesi houses the Museum of Meerschaum, which is referred to as "lületaşı" (white gold), and is a light, porous, white stone shaped into pipes and other objects, which Eskişehir is famed for. Plans also include opening up a World Wood Day museum in the city following this very special event.
Eskişehir also has a number of quite magnificent parks well worth a visit to coincide with this event held on the spring equinox. Kent Park, a landscaped masterpiece with a magnificent man-made sandy beach, offers a wide variety of activities including horseback riding and gondola trips. Sazova Park, also known as the Science, Arts and Culture Park, has the biggest Japanese garden outside of Japan as well as a fairytale castle, a huge galleon and an artificial pond, where people can enjoy a variety of water sports, such as optimist training and water skiing.
There is also the "Island of Love" on Porsuk Creek, devoted to the city's motto of being Turkey's city of love and affection, where you can immortalize your love by having you and your loved one's names inscribed on a plate displayed on a wooden block. So, start this spring off right by paying homage to nature and its majestic offering in the form of wood in this exciting and beautiful city, which Lonely Planet says, "may well be the happiest city in Turkey."
To learn more, visit: www.worldwoodday.org and www.woodculture.org