Thursday, April 7, 2011

Antalya-Belek Garden of Religions





Since 2004, three of the world's great religions have been united under one roof there. It's a meeting place where Christians, Muslims and Jews pursue their beliefs in peaceful co- existence. 



A mosque, a church and a synagogue in immediate proximity to one another? 

'Yes, there is such a thing here. It's unique in the world,' said the Turkish tour guide, not the least bit devoid of pride. The project was initiated by Betuyab, an association of investors in the tourism industry, and opened in 2004 in an international spotlight. 

But the excursion programme of the guide's tour organization gives it little more than a mention. Vacationers have to search to find out more. At the hotel reception, the existence of the religious facility is known, but not much else. The tour guide said the interest among guests is too low. 

Father Rainer Korten sees things differently as he has plenty of feedback indicating the opposite from vacationers. It has calmed down at the facility, which initially received a lot of attention from outside Turkey. 

'The big wind that swirled in the beginning primarily with an eye toward Turkey's negotiations on entering the European Union is hardly noticeable now,' said Korten, a Catholic priest from Antalya. Services are well attended, which is in the interests of Christians residing in Turkey. 



The Garden of Religions lies about four kilometres from central Belek and is easily reached by taxi or bus. It's only about a half hour drive from Antalya airport. All three houses of God are open to groups and individuals for both regular and devotional visits. 

The site's architectural design encourages reciprocal encounters. A fountain in the centre connects the paths to the mosque, church and synagogue. The paths themselves are flooded with light and radiate comfort and a feeling of security and belonging. 



'There is only one God. We are indeed all brothers and sisters,' said imam Sonay Yildirim, who happily invites visitors to join him on a guided tour. 

The atmosphere of the Christian Sunday service is familiar and open. Many Christians, who have chosen to live in Turkey, come from the nearby cities of Antalya or Alanya. Every unknown person is given a friendly greeting and accepted in the spiritual community. After the service, there is a chance to dine together and have a chat. After that, it becomes quiet again in the garden of religions in Belek.

7 comments:

  1. @ Tânia Marques Sim, você deve vir ver este lugar

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  2. Very, very beautiful your country my dear friend. I love beaches, churches, each one of this things there are inside my mind and my heart too. Bye bye, thank you very much for your friendship. Reagards. LuGoyaZ.

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  3. @ LuGoyaZ Thank you. Yes, Turkey is very beautiful country. Here is Antalya where is the magnificent city of the mediterranean. You should come and taste these beauties.

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  4. Thanks for your visit in my blog. Very nice poem. Big hug. LuGoyaZ.

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  5. Hi we are travelling to SIDE at Easter. Is it possible to find out the times and dates of the Catholic services? thanks

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  6. @ Anonymous, Yes, it is possible. There is a Catholic Church in Belek near Side. For more information: http://antalya-magnificent-city.blogspot.com/2012/03/easter-holiday-in-antalya.html

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