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Antakya (Hatay 0326)


Antakya was historically known as Antioch. Antakya is a cosmopolitan city near the Syrian border and it has not experienced the 1980s and 1990s mass immigration of people from eastern Anatolia that has radically swelled the populations of other Mediterranean cities such as Adana and Mersin. As a result both Turkish and Arabic are still widely spoken in Antakya although written Arabic is rarely used. A mixed community of faiths and demoninations co-exist in the city. The numbers of Syrians visiting Antakya and Hatay province has risen sharply because since autumn 2009 Turks and Syrians can visit each other’s country without visa. Hatay is a popular film location. Independent contemporary art groups in Antakya are worked with Istanbul-based curators to take part in contemporary art projects in France (2009) during the Turkish season in France. Iskenderun had a school project with a Dutch school. In the STGM database a total of 61 NGO’s was listed of which 3 were dedicated to education and youth, 1 to culture and 0 to arts.

Mustafa Kemal University

Mustafa Kemal University is a state university located in the Hatay Province. The university was founded in 1992. Its main campus is in Antakya. Its fine Arts Faculty has departments in handicrafts, graphic design, sculpture, music, painting and performing arts.


Events and organizations that are relevant for art and culture in Hatay are:

-          Contemporary Art Meetings organized by 77 Art Collective (realized solely by efforts of local operators). 77 Art Collective was formed by Melih Apa. He produces contemporary art projects with his students in the courses at Antakya Mustafa Kemal University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpture.

-          2005: Antakya Contemporary Art Meeting, where the Istanbul Eurasia Art Collective (ASK) also participated in.

-          The ‘Invisible Cities: Building Capacities for Local Cultural Policy Transformation in Turkey’ project was conducted with the partnership of Istanbul Bilgi University, Anadolu Kültür, European Cultural Foundation and Boekman Foundation and started in February 2008. Goup Nidal, Yeşilpınar Municipality Festival and Samandağ Development Association were local partners.

-          In 2007 the first Antakya Biennale was held.

-          Hatay-Samandağ Art and Culture Festival.