Tulips in Istanbul

Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Tulips in Istanbul

When do the tulips bloom in Istanbul and are there some magnificent displays / gardens? I know thy use the tulip motifes alot in their tiles and carpets so I was thinking that might be a nice time of year for a several day visit. We visited Amsterdam one year when the tulips were in bloom - is there any display in Istanbul to compare with Keukenhoff Gardens?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 05:28 PM
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I remember seeing tulips blooming at Topkapi and Dolmabache palaces at the end of April/beginning of May. There were small beds of them in various shades.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 11:13 PM
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There is a Tulip Festival in Istanbul. This year the 5th one will be organized. Previous years it started on the 5th, 7th and 12th of April. So you should check on the web, by writing : Lale festivali, on google. maybe in february or March.

Almost all the boulevards will have tulips planted and the large Emirgan Park has been the traditional place for the major displays. You will probably also have big displays in Gulhane park and some other parks as well.

And, "Yes it is worth coming to Istanbul" for the tulips and other things

Did you know that the first tulip was taken from istanbul to Holland in the fifteen hundreds?

I attended the 400th anniversary ceremony of that event when i was very young, when the mayor of Istanbul gave a potted original Ottoman tulip (white and pink)to the Dutch representative, who had a four horse 16th century replica carriage waiting there. I have always wondered if it was taken all the way to Holland by that carriage.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Thanks Otherchelebi for your response - I have visited Istanbul briefly once before and I know there are MANY things to see - just thinking about what time of year would be good for a longer visit. Could you suggest any day trips? or EASY overnights from Istanbul - we do not want to rent a car.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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Beginning of April may be too cool or rainy. later in the month, or early May is usually more pleasant.

There are a number of major conventions in Istanbul in May 2010, and you should check for lodging as soon as possible if you prefer May.

Spring is generally very beautiful in and around Istanbul.

Short day trips to the Princes' Islands (Burgaz, Heybeli or Buyuk) involving a tour with a horse carriage and lunch, are quite peaceful and scenic.

My most recommended overnight trip is to Iznik (Nicea) the town of the famous tiles with tulip designs, now housing a recovery with many kilns and struggling artists, as well as a dedicated foundation.

You can take a fast ferry to Yalova, from Yenikapi (75 minutes)and then a Minibus to Iznik, usually every hour, (60-70 minutes) There are two decent hotels, Camlik and one other on the lake side promenade with good lake view.

And, here's something i wrote last year on Iznik:

Iznik is an old town. It has withstood the onslaught of the ages behind its crumbling city walls. Not a very friendly town, but has a few hotels and a plethora of struggling artists trying to paint Iznik designs on Kutahya porcelain and sell them to the not so willing to buy tourists, who are usually packaged daily in Istanbul.

There are just a few restaurants, few fast food places, no beaches on the lake, but terrific sunsets, a very pleasant walking or biking lake shore, and antiquity reaching back some two thousand years. The walls, the amphitheatre, the tombs, the very old mosques, the original tile kilns, the hamam, the basilica, the nearby spa, and the modern development of beautifully landscaped small semidetached houses two kilometers on the highway to Bursa called ‘Darka’ are must sees.

You can walk everywhere within the city in just a couple of hours, wondering where the famous ecumenical councils took place so many, many years ago, and why did the crusaders, Arabs, Seljukis and Mongols ever bother with this tiny place.

Like most cities with not many visitors and not receiving migrations of industrial or agricultural workers, Iznik has no show-offs or new rich. It is possible that they still carry memories of feudal lords, occupying hordes and imperial tax collectors in their collective subconscious. Hence, there are no specially designed houses or gardens or shops, and all the inhabitants appear to lead a very simple life despite the rich orchards, the olive groves and the profuse vegetable production in the city environs.

It is also interesting to see that except for a few houses on the lake shore, the hospital, and a school, there are almost no buildings outside the original city walls. And, if you go to the mausoleum of the Arabic or the Turkish giant soldier of folk tales, on the hill behind Iznik, you will see the city in its entirety and take your photographs after making sure that you get a blessing from the tomb.

Getting away from the old, if you want to experience the new in Iznik, if you look respectable, and say that you just want to look around, the security guards will probably let you into Darka, and you can sit by the shore and have something to drink and eat.

And the next time you are in Istanbul and have a few days to spare, you may remember the tranquil and very, very local Iznik with its somber monuments which do not at all bring Xanadu to mind, and get a feeling of repeating the previous déjà vu that you had when you first came here. And afterwards, you will want to share it just as I am sharing it with you.

For a good history of the city and details of all the sites, read John Freely’s “Turkey Around the Marmara”, 1998
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