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Tulip time has kicked off in İstanbul
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 17 Apr 2011 Sun 08:41 am

Tulip time has kicked off in İstanbul

17 April 2011, Sunday / SEVIM ŞENTÜRK,

The sun is finally shining. Plum and almond trees have begun to flower. The air is filled with the fragrance of hyacinths. Late afternoon rains are showering everywhere across the country.

Children have taken to the streets, some playing hide-and-go-seek and others bouncing a ball… Hooray, spring is finally here (even if reluctantly so). So what does this mean? It means that its tulip time is in İstanbul over the next few weeks. Tulips of yellow, orange, purple, pomegranate, cloudy red, light pink and a kaleidoscope of colors are all flowering along the streets and gardens of the city. Its time for people to get out of their homes and take a stroll through the streets and enjoy the spectacular show that İstanbul is putting on for us. Anyone who considering getting out of the city these days should perhaps change their plans and stay in İstanbul.

But wait! Before setting out to discover the tulips, it might be handy to read some of our news first, because we have explored the best routes to view the tulip displays and even where to find whole fields of tulips. Our tulip coverage ranges from the famous traditional tulip displays at Emirgan Park, to the machine ordered by Necmettin Amca in Silivri’s Seyman village especially to help him grow tulips. For those wanting to see all this beauty carried across the city and onto their own home balconies, we also have some of the finer points of growing and taking care of tulips at home. In short, by virtue of the Sixth International İstanbul Tulip Festival, we have examined the best places to taken in this rare April flower, a flower which for some represents earning a livelihood, but for most is simply a gorgeous addition to the spring months.

Not just once a year, but ‘Lale’ every day

When we hear the word “lale,” (tulip) we tend to immediately think of the flower. But there are also some remarkable women who are named Lale. We decided to seek out some of these women and decided to ask them whether they like tulips and whether they grow them at home.

One famous Lale in Turkey is artist Lale Mansur. We met with her in Emirgan Park, which has the most tulips in the city. When the subject turned to whether or not she actually loved tulips, she said: “Let me say from the start, I love all fragrant flowers. For example, I love honeysuckles and hyacinths.” But she added, “Tulips help promote me, that’s it.” As to how it was her name came to be “Lale,” she told us, “Well, my name was going to be Yıldız, but then it was changed to Lale.” As it turned out, even though she loves flowers, she doesn’t grow her own tulips, or rather, she just never had the opportunity. Mansur tells us, however, that she is determined to do so in coming years. When it comes to the topic of the municipality expenditure on tulips which some people feel is unnecessary and excessive, Mansur has this to say, “Rather than spending our money on other things, at least let it go to flowers that will be a feast for our eyes.”

Another well known “Lale” is Lale Manço, who unlike Lale Mansur, says she absolutely loves tulips. She says she finds them elegant and decorative. So much so, in fact, that she says she is thinking of getting a tulip tattoo. She tells us that her most significant memory relating to tulips is one with her late husband, Barış Manço, who once filmed an episode of his show “From 7 to 77” in the Netherland at the famous Kokkenhof tulip field.

Another Lale is Lale Orta, who is a referee. She says she loves her name, because it is a constant reminder of a kind of melancholy aspect of her life, in that it reminds her of her mother and father, who are no longer alive. Lale Orta said she loves to grow tulips in her home for this reason. As to how it was she came to be named “Lale”, she said: “I was a sort of naive, melancholy baby. My mother and father gave me that name because they thought a tulip was a perfect reflection of who I seemed to be.” As to her favorite memory of tulips, Lale Orta says it was the time she was selected as one of 12 successful women in the 2008 Emirgan Park Tulip Festival, in a section of the program called “Lalelerden bir Lale,” or “A Tulip among the tulips.” Tulips are of course very important for İstanbul. During the reign of Sultan Ahmet III, they were the favored flower of the whole city. Sources state that during the 16th century, there were nearly 2,000 kinds of tulips grown in İstanbul alone. And not only were tulips being grown and raised, they were also being embroidered into fabrics, etched into buildings, painted onto tiles and written about in literature.

Special tulip beds were designed for palaces and wealthy homes. Poetry and written works focusing on tulips were gathered into tomes on tulips. It is for all these reasons, then, that Sultan Ahmet III is called the sultan of the tulips.

But this state of being did not last long. A Flemish trader who came to İstanbul in 1562 was presented with a tulip bulb as a gift and, in fact, this changed the course of the fate of tulips. By the time the 17th century rolled around, tulips were being grown and nurtured by Europeans.

As for the situation involving tulips at this time in the Ottoman Empire, it was bad. The tulips were no longer blossoming, as they had been sterilized. And so, following the 18th century, the period of tulips ground to a halt for the Ottomans, leaving them behind simply as imagery in poetry.

No longer wishing to turn a blind eye to this situation, the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality rolled up its sleeves six years ago and decided to bring İstanbul’s true flower love back to the city.

Tulips were planted in parks, gardens and along streets. And an “International Tulip Festival” was declared and takes place every April. So now is the time to take advantage of all this beauty around you in İstanbul. After all, with a fortune having been spent on this show, every single tulip of the 11.5 million tulips of 62 types have opened their petals.

Where can you see all the tulips these days?

Emirgan Korusu: This is one of the first spots that comes to mind when thinking about tulips. You can see here every variety of tulip planted in İstanbul.

Büyük Çamlıca: This is a great alternative, especially for those living on the Asian side. In particular, sunsets and sunrises present an extraordinary view of the tulips.

Hidiv Korusu: Many people simply refer to this spot as the “tulip bed” during the month of April. A great spot to enjoy a cup of tea and view the tulips.

Soğanlı Bitkiler (Bulb plants) Park: This park is located along the coast in Zeytinburnu and is literally a tulip paradise. Stop here simply to enjoy the tulips.

So who grows all these tulips?

When it comes to who is responsible for growing all these tulips, one has to turn one’s sights to the village of Seymen near Silivri. This is one of the central tulip growing spots that provides İstanbul with its flowers. In response to a proposal from the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, village headman Necmettin Eren and 12 other people agreed to plant tulip bulbs on fields set aside for wheat, sunflowers and potatoes. And now? They are very happy they agreed to do so. Not only are they growing the bulbs they will later plant for tulips, they are also earning good money.

They are aware of just how important this work they do is. Their goal is to take over the tulip market, dominated by the Netherlands. “Tulips were our flower. And they should still be ours. Tulips should be sold not as Dutch tulips but İstanbul tulips,” Eren says.

Not: I love tulips, and I think the city in where tulips suits best is Istanbul !

MrsBee, Aida krishan and bloopearl liked this message
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