An “extraordinary reader” transforms the village into an ecotourism center

Ece Çelik – BİLECİK

The northwestern province of Kurşunlu village in Bilecik welcomes 500 tourists per month, thanks to ecotourism which started in 2012 under the leadership of Bedriye Berber Engin, who was awarded the title of “extraordinary reader” by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

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She started thinking about ecotourism, which she learned from books, and she turned Kurşunlu into an “ecovillage” with the participation of women from the village, she says.

The village has become the focal point for nature lovers with its natural beauties, and it has become a frequent destination for local and foreign tourists.

Entertainment such as dough rolling workshops, fruit picking activities, walking tours and henna nights are organized for visitors.

After deciding to bring the ecotourism she learned from books to the village, she invited experts, she said. “They did some groundwork and said the village could fit into ecotourism both in terms of beauty and cleanliness.”

“I presented our village in the television programs in which I participated as a ‘reader’. Then we opened a website to sell the products we produce. Then we set up a tent camp, consisting of 12 tents, which accommodated the first group of 27 people.

“We chat with the guests staying in our homes and talk about the culture of the village,” Engin said.

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The village receives an average of 500 guests per month, she added.

Engin was also named the “most book-reading adult” by the governor’s office because she has read hundreds of books so far.

“In the past, the village teachers got tired of me because I asked them for books all the time,” she said.

“After having three children, they became members of the municipal library. It made it easier for me to find a book. I told them the book I wanted, my children brought it to me.

Turkish, readers, ecotourism,

About Wesley V. Finley

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