Tulips are starting to blossom in the Turkish city of Istanbul

The tulip is one of the most prominent flowers in Turkish culture and history.

For some countries, spring has sprung, bringing with it colourful flowers and lush foliage.

Cherry blossom season has already begun in parts of Japan, China and South Korea, while in Malaysia, plenty of Tecoma trees are already blossoming.

In Istanbul, Turkiye, tulip season typically heralds the arrival of spring, a time when some of the city’s most popular spots will be covered in tulip flowers of all colours and sizes. It is said to be a delightful visual feast for both locals and visitors alike.

At the Sultanahmet Square, an expansive carpet of tulips will be woven into the grounds, using a special method of tulip cultivation. Similarly, these tulip “carpets” can also be found at the Emirgan Grove, Gülhane Park, Yıldız Grove, Soganlı Botanic Park, Beykoz Grove, Büyük Çamlıca Grove, Küçük Çamlıca Grove, Fethipasa Grove and the Hidiv Pavillon Grove around the city.

It is said that tulips were brought to Anatolia by the Turks of Central Asia’s Pamir Mountains – the tulip’s original homeland – and are among the most important symbols in Turkish culture. The tulip is a bulbous and herbaceous plant, and has been used as an ornamental motif in handicrafts since the 12th century in Turkiye.

This beautiful, colourful flower can be found in the Ottoman period as a subject of poems, edicts, stories and miniature paintings. Tulip motifs can also be seen in mosques, tombstones and palace as decorations, as well as in carpet and rug patterns, on caftans and dowry chests, and even on coins, battle helmets and cannon castings.

Tulips were cultivated during the 16th century in Istanbul, when the city was the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The flowers were planted throughout the city’s gardens.

For centuries, horticulturists and garden enthusiasts have developed a wide variety of tulips (at one point, it is said that there were over 2,000 varieties!), many of which are still in existence today. In fact, the city has its own variety – the Istanbul tulip.

Tulips of every colour, shape and size can now be seen in Istanbul. — TGATulips of every colour, shape and size can now be seen in Istanbul. — TGA

The colours of the tulip also carried different meanings. A red tulip symbolises love, while a white tulip represents purity and innocence. Purple blooms represent nobility and romance, and yellow means joy.

There’s also the black tulip, said to be quite rare, which signifies ... well, rarity.

And if someone gives you a striped tulip, he or she means to say that “you have beautiful eyes”.

The tulip was first exported to Vienna in Austria, and then to the Netherlands, in the second half of the 15th century.

These days, many people actually associate the tulip flower to the Netherlands rather than Turkiye or even Central Asia.

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tulips , Istanbul , turkiye , blossom


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