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See Tulips Where They Originated—Turkey—During Istanbul’s Annual Tulip Festival

2 May 2016 No Comment

Turkish Tulips

Experience the wonders of Turkey—and the tulip—where it was first cultivated, during the annual International Istanbul Tulip Festival.

Given its architectural wonders, rich history and cultural heritage, Istanbul’s wow-factor is already off the charts. But this becomes especially true each spring, when the annual International Istanbul Tulip Festival (Istanbul Lale Festivali) bursts on the scene with its more than 18 million vibrant blooms.

Seem surprising? The tulip—originally a wildflower that grew in Central Asia—was first cultivated by the Turks as early as AD 1000. Needless to say, that’s well before the flower made its way to Western Europe and the Netherlands in the 16th century.

The word “tulip” comes from the French word “tulipe.” As the story goes, the term comes from the Ottoman Turkish word “tülbend,” meaning “muslin” or “gauze.” The then-unknown flower is thought to have looked similar to the turban and, as such, introduced this way. Referred to as “lale” in the Turkish language, the tulip’s name is also behind a period in Ottoman history—Lale Devri, The Tulip Era—the empire’s wealthiest period.

Not surprisingly, the festival offers breathtaking sights at every turn—even Istanbul’s avenues and roundabouts display a sea of colorful flowers. Nowhere is this beauty more evident, though, than in Emirgan Park, situated along the Bosphorus in Sariyer just beyond the second Bosphorus Bridge. As one of the city’s largest parks, it features several display gardens that showcase the bulbs.

Emirgan Groves, Göztepe Park and Sultanahmet Square are among the locations that host festive activities, too, such as live music, glass blowing performances and painting, sculpture and photo exhibitions. You may also encounter tulip-themed products for sale around town. Not to be overlooked are the displays at Beykoz, Yıldız, Çamlıca, Fethipaşa and Hidiv and Çubuklu Groves.

Adding to the appeal, this singular experience occurs when the Mediterranean is warm—but before crowds appear. At this time of year, it almost feels like you have the country to yourself, a fact that bodes well for visits to the highly trafficked Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.

Now, this breathtaking spectacle—a mainstay since 2005—is among the highlights of the April 18 departure of Luxury Small Group Journey Turkey: A Journey Through History.

The post See Tulips Where They Originated—Turkey—During Istanbul’s Annual Tulip Festival appeared first on Inside the Ampersand.

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