ISTANBUL, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Turkey on Wednesday marked "Museum Selfie Day" by allowing photo taking in more than 300 museums and ancient sites across the country for the first time.
Responding to the calls by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turks flooded into museums to snap a selfie with their favorite exhibits and posted them with the hashtag "#MuseumSelfieDay," as the ban on selfies was lifted for the entire day.
"The event is a very powerful tool to promote the historical and cultural values of a country, and the ministry is doing a very good job in using the strength of social media," said Serdar Korucu, a journalist.
Museum selfies became popular in 2015, when two American singers, Jay-Z and Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter, shared theirs with the Louvre Museum in Paris. Their selfies went viral on social media, boosting significantly the number of visitors to the museum.
According to a recent research, 43 million Turks, almost half of the population, are actively using Facebook. In addition, Turkey ranked fifth in using the photo-sharing social network Instagram.
For Ali Saydam, a columnist with the Yeni Safak daily, the Turkish ministry assessed the potentials of social media very well in launching the Museum Selfie Day.
"It also means that the authorities are open to new communication tools in advertising the country," Saydam recently wrote.
Korucu started his selfie trip with the Pera Museum in central Istanbul, where he took selfies with the exhibits of his favorite Armenian artist Sergey Parajanov.
"From here I will go to several other museums, including the world-famous Hagia Sophia located in the ancient part of Istanbul," he said.
The Hagia Sophia Museum, an architectural wonder left from the Byzantine era, tweeted in the morning, "are you ready for the Museum Selfie Day?"
"Let the museum marathon begin!" read a post on Instagram with a photo taken in one of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums.
"As far as I have followed the event on social media so far, I can say that it is a real success," Korucu said. "All I could see were numerous selfies shot in various museums in many different parts of the country."