Every year, in the month of April, Istanbul hosts one of the biggest Tulip Festivals in the World-Istanbul Lale Festivali! Contrary to popular belief, Tulips are native flowers to Central Asia and Turkey rather than Holland. Tulips originally grew wild on the Asian steppes. Although tulips are associated with Holland, the commercial cultivation of the tulip began 3000 years ago in the Ottoman Empire. In 16th century, Turkey exported Tulips to Holland and they became sudden hit in Holland. Tulips have played an interesting role in Turkey between 16th and 18th century is famous as “Tulip Era”. This era is remembered as an era of peace and enjoyment under the famous reign of Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III. Even today, tulip plays an important role in Turkish Culture. Turks exchange tulips on special occasions whether it is birthday, proposals, business engagements, etc. Moreover, the association with tulip is also visible in architect, poetry, fabrics, arts and folklore. Turk designers use tulip designs in tiles, crockery and fabric which you can witness while doing shopping.
Since 2006, Istanbul has officially started celebrating their love for tulip by planting millions of tulips in Istanbul’s parks, avenue, in traffic roundabouts and in all open ground. Istanbul 16th Tulip Festival has started and will end April 30th. The official tulip festival dates are from the 1st to the 30th of April but depending on the weather you can sometimes see tulips blooming from the end of March into the first few weeks in May. With the arrival of spring, tulips started to blossom in parks all around Istanbul. As part of the 14th Istanbul Tulip Festival, green areas and parks in Istanbul have been all decorated with tulips. During the month of April, you can spot these glorious spring flowers everywhere in Istanbul. But for a real tulip treat and the International Istanbul Tulip Festival, you have to head to Emirgan Park. It is one of the largest public parks in Istanbul and has several tulip gardens. Emirgan Park is located by the Bosphorus in Sariyer, which is a little bit past the second Bosphorus Bridge. The park is open daily from 07:00 until 22:30. The top 7 parks to enjoy this Turkish beauty include Gülhane Park, Emirgan Korusu, Yildiz Park, Soğanlı Bitkiler Park, Beykoz Korusu, Göztepe Gül Bahçesi, and Büyük Çamlıca Korusu. If you happen to be in Istanbul during this time of the year, you’re in luck because you will have the chance to see the amazing ‘flower carpets’ from living flowers and the city parks which turn into actual tulip artworks!