Tarsus prepares to welcome pilgrims for the Pauline year
The Turkish city aims to invest funds in tourist structures to welcome all those who will make their way to the area for ecumenical, cultural and liturgical events which Benedict XVI has announced will take place next year.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Tarsus, St Paul’s birth place, is preparing itself to welcome all of those who will visit the city in 2008, proclaimed by Benedict XVI in January last the Pauline Year.  On the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of the apostle to the gentiles, the Pope announced “a series of ecumenical, cultural and liturgical events, as well as various pastoral and social initiatives, all inspired as Pauline spirituality”.

Situated along Turkey’s southern coast in front of Cyprus, today Tarsus is a city of almost 20 thousand inhabitants refers Adana - Anatolia News Agency – and it is preparing itself to meet the appointment.  The district administrator, Abdulhamit Erguvan, maintains that “Our goal is to make tourists pleased and invest in the future of the city, you cannot make such a an effective promotion even if you spend 100 million dollars”. Erguvan placed particular attention on the fact that “there is no well-arranged hotel in the city for tourists to accommodate”.

President of the chamber of commerce, Mehmet Karagozlu, for his part maintains that the lack of basic facilities creates problems in the ancient city.  His project aims “opening some old Tarsus houses which have been restored, as boutique hotels”. “The year of Saint Paul – he maintains - is a very good opportunity for us and our main goal is to create a good image”.