The 12th Istanbul Tulip Festival in Full Bloom

Tulip Festival in Full Bloom
Emirgan Park has the most species and number of tulips planted this year, with 160 varieties. One needn’t go too far into the park to be surrounded by thousands of colourful flowers.

The tulip is a flower long rooted into Istanbul’s history and life. It can be found in Ottoman era paintings, clothing, mentioned in poetry and considered a symbol of perfection and beauty; it remains the country’s national flower.

The celebration of this flower commences in spring every year as tulips blossom in parks and flowerbeds across the city.

The 12th Istanbul Tulip Festival started April 1 and will go on till the end of the month as tulips of 160 varieties bloom across the city.

Tulip Festival in Full Bloom
You can’t miss the festival without spotting a local cat eyeing the tulips!

Amongst the 160 kinds of tulips planted this year, one can easily spot the sharp-edged petal of the Greigii tulip with its yellow and orange colour. The elegant Lily-flowered white tulip, dancing delicately in the sun or the Darwin hybrid tulip – the most common tulip found in a variety of colours all over the city.

Tulip Festival in Full Bloom
One needn’t go too far into a park to be surrounded by thousands of colourful tulips.

To see the best of the festival one can venture to one of Istanbul’s many parks. The largest offering of tulips is at Emirgan Park with 3,000,000 planted this year along with planned concerts, exhibitions by local artists and a photography competition. One can roam the 117 acres of parkland to see the flowers and escape from the rush of city life. The park will also host a painting exhibition by Ismail Acar at the exhibition hall at Emirgan Park, starting April 8.

If you don’t have time to head to a park, just stop and smell the tulips on your daily commute, as the city plants millions of buds in flowerbeds across Istanbul.

To mix your visit to the Festival with a little bit of history one can head to Sultanahmet Square to see the world’s largest tulip carpet on display starting April 21 till the end of the month. 564,000 tulips will be used to make the carpet, spanning an area of 1,731 square meters. And if the tulips suddenly cause the blossoming gardener in you to emerge, you may also purchase tulip bulbs at Sultanahment Square on the last week of the festival.

Tulip Festival in Full Bloom
For those looking to combine the festival with some sightseeing head to Sultanahmet Square, which will have the world’s biggest tulip carpet on display starting April 21.

Other official parks and public areas one can head to see the Tulip Festival are:

Gülhane Park
Gözdağı Korusu
Yıldız Korusu
Soğanlı Bitkiler Park
Beykoz Korusu
Göztepe 60. Yıl Park
Büyük Çamlıca Korusu
Küçük Çamlıca Korusu
Fethipaşa Korusu
Hidiv Çubuklu Korusu

Tulip Festival in Full Bloom
Lavender plants are also in full bloom across the city parks, amidst the tulips you can enjoy the scent of lavender and watch bees pollinating.

To learn more about the 12th Istanbul Tulip Festival and the many activities surrounding it, head to the official website.

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Sara Faruqi
Sara recently moved to Istanbul and is busy exploring its streets. You can find her on Instagram and Tumblr.

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