We know the Dutch well… but the Turkish ones?

Avatar photo

Whether white, yellow, orange, red, pink, mauve and even black: in spring, the fields of blooming tulips enchant us with their splendid palette of colours. Did you know that these lovely flowers also arrive in Europe via Turkey? This country remains faithful to the culture of the tulip, and more precisely around Istanbul, where one can admire the most beautiful specimens.

Indeed, the tulip is originally a wild flower growing exclusively in Central Asia. At the end of the 11th century, this plant came to the Anatolia region, locals brought it back to the country from the Pamir mountains.

It was not until the second half of the 15th century that the tulip spread to the rest of Europe. But Turkey will remain, even thereafter, an important producer of these flowers. From the 16th century, it will become an ornamental flower. It was mainly in Istanbul, then capital of the Ottoman Empire, that it was cultivated on a large scale, to such an extent that, in the 18th century, there were nearly two thousand varieties.

Tulip Colors and Their Meanings
The Turks give the particularly varied colors of their tulips different meanings. Thus, red tulips symbolize love, white ones are a sign of purity and innocence, purple ones are the flowers of nobility and romanticism, yellow ones embody joy and hopeless love, while the tulip black evokes inaccessibility.

The Turkish tulip has inspired many artists and artisans. Since the 12th century already, it has been honored in handmade objects, poems and paintings. It is the flower that decorates many burials and is frequently depicted on the walls of palaces and mosques. We also find this bulbous flower on old carpets, coins and combat helmets.

How about a trip in the footsteps of the Turkish tulip?
If you feel like it, head to Istanbul and its surroundings to see them at their best. Here are some great tips:

  • Right next to Sainte-Sophie, the Hippodrome attracts many curious people. You will be dazzled by its imposing Egyptian obelisk and its dazzling fountain, monuments which, in spring, are surrounded by a superb carpet of tulips.
  • Are you looking for an enchanting place for a picnic? Meet in Emirgan Park. Between the trees nestle three historic pavilions which are found, in April, in the midst of thousands of tulips in bloom. Something to make your walk more than pleasant.
  • Gülhane Park was once only accessible to the royal court. But today, its doors are open to everyone. And that’s good, because in spring, you won’t believe your eyes. Alongside some 80,000 blooming roses, countless tulips also adorn the park. Preferably plan your visit in April, it is the moment of their full bloom.

Vast lakes, footbridges made of wooden planks, thick forests and panoramic views… The surprises follow one another in Yıldız Park. Follow the paths for a charming walk. In the spring, be sure to take some great holiday photos with the backdrop of tulips by the thousands.

Catherine Mills Avatar