All my life I believe that tulip came from The Netherlands, but that was all wrong. Tulips were imported in the 16th century from the Ottoman Empire aka Turkey into the Netherland. Turkey and tulips were like something that can’t be separated. Under the reign of Sultan Ahmed III, Turkey was known on its Tulip Era. That time, tulip was very popular, it also became a symbol of power and wealth, portraying the Ottoman Sultans.
The name tulip came from Persian word ‘Tulipan’ that means turban. It was because in those time, the sultans wore tulip on their turban, also tulip shapes quite similar with turban. Until now, tulip or known as lale in Türkçe plays an important rule to Turkish art and culture. Tulip is also the national flower of Turkey.
As an Istanbulian (does this even a word?) myself, I didn’t want to miss any opportunities to see those beautiful flower. Thanks God the Istanbul government held Istanbul Tulip Festival during the month of April, this year remarks the 13th times of the festival. You can easily find tulip in every corner in Istanbul, from famous big park to small park in every district. But, the most awaited one is of course the world’s largest tulip carpet.
Tulip Carpet @ Sultan Ahmet Square
Every year, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality organize the world’s largest tulip carpet. Take places in Sultan Ahmet Square (in front Hagia Sophia to be exact), the 1.734 square meter tulip carpet is made of 565.000 different colors of tulips and makes a Turkish carpet motif.
As I read the information on the internet, the number of tulips to create the carpet has its own meaning. 565.000 tulips were made as large carpet to commemorate the 565th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet. So every year, the number of the tulips were added as the anniversary of the city.
I was so eager to see the so called world’s largest tulip carpet, since almost every billboard in Istanbul displayed its advertisement. So, I skipped class to go there, because in weekend, it gonna be a full sea of people. It was quite crowded, but I could still took proper photos of the tulip carpet. I must say it was quite amazing to see how the artist made a large carpet from hundred thousand of tulips.
Another amazing thing about the event was because every Sultanahmet Square was adorned by tulips of many color. The beautiful became more beautiful in spring.
Emirgan Park: The Best Place to Enjoy Tulips
Long before I live in Turkey, I heard about this place a lot. They said it like the Turkish version of Keukenhof. So when spring came, going to Emirgan is definitely a must! Emirgan Park located in Sarıyer, a charming district in the European side, really close to the Bosphorus Strait.
On the gloomy Saturday, I went there. That day Istanbul was really packed, let alone the transportation and the traffic. I had to take 4 different transportation to reach Emirgan Park. The bus journey was quite pleasing, because the bus passed Bebek, one of the most beautiful district in Istanbul. I really like the area, since it located in the side of Bosphorus and there were so many cute houses and cafe. Also, Rumeli Hisari a beautitul fortress located there too.
So I reached Emirgan Park after 2,5 hours. The park was not really cramped, because I think because it was already 5 pm and the rain started to fall. But that doesn’t made my desire to see tulips went away. So, I followed the path to the park. Oh my God, it was beautiful. I can finally see the tulips up close. There were so many colors of tulip, red, purple, red, pink, you name it all. My favorite is the dark purple, almost look a like a black tulip. Mystical yet so beautiful.
As I walked through the park, it became more and more beautiful. My favorite side of the park is the pond and the side where I could see Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge from there. I just sat, people watch, and enjoying the moment. Too bad, I went alone that day so no one could take my picture. Also I am too scared to ask strangers to take my photo. How if they took my camera and phone away?! Yes, I am that paranoid 😓
People could also do picnic in the Emirgan Park, there is a special section for those who want to picnic. Doing picnic surrounded by tulips, that is the dream. Next year, I am going back to this beautiful place, maybe doing picnic, take more photos, or just walking adoring the tulips.
Not only those two places that have tulips, but everywhere in Istanbul is like a giant park of tulips in the early spring. But for now, the tulips season are over. See you again next year, beautiful tulips.