Dear readers,

I find it difficult to put the beauty of Istanbul’s tulip gardens into words. The following three paragraphs are adapted from the April 17, 2012 Turkish Daily Hurriyet newspaper. The photos are my own.

No passage to spring in Istanbul would be complete without the color offered by Turkey’s most famous flower, the tulip. In parks, squares, and simply along the roadside, the flower is blooming throughout the city right now as part of the Seventh Istanbul Tulip Festival.

This year, work crews have arranged the flowers in a number of geometrical shapes and produced figures such as amulets, waterfalls, the Turkish flag and various human figures. As Istanbul is also the 2012 European Capital of Sports, there are also tulip figures relating to sports.    

The tulip, or lale, was first commercialized by the Ottomans and then exported to the rest of the world. Ninety percent of the tulip bulbs planted this year come from Turkey.  In addition to parks and gardens, crossroads, rest areas and walking areas in the city have been decorated with 11.6 million tulips at a cost of 2.68 million Turkish Liras. 

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