Every April since
2006, the city government in Istanbul has
planted millions of tulips in Istanbul's
parks, avenues, traffic roundabouts
and...really anywhere there is open
In recent years, the total number planted has been 30 million, including over a half-million planted as a huge "flower carpet" in Sultanahmet's Hippodrome (At Meydanı) in front of the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque.
The result is a glorious spring
flower festival with brilliant
splashes of color everywhere
The tulips begin to bloom around the
end of March or beginning
depending on the weather. They bloom
for several weeks and may delight the
eye and the spirit for nearly a month. The official dates for the festival are April 1st to 30th, but the blooms may be out in late March and still be charming into May, depending on the weather.
not be as rain-free as May or June,
but it usually has moderate
temperatures. It's a great time to
The tulip is one
of Istanbul's traditional symbols.
Brought to the city from Iran centuries
ago, it was favored and cultivated
here until tulip-love became
tulip mania. In the so-called Tulip
Period of Ottoman history,
a rare tulip variety could be sold
for a breathtaking sum.
Tulips made their
way from Istanbul to Europe—specifically
to the Dutch Republic (Holland)—where a similar tulip
mania soon consumed the imaginations—and
bank accounts—of Dutch tulip-lovers.
The Istanbul Tulip Festival is not just about tulips, however. Other flowers—pansies, bluebottles, etc.—are planted in contrast and for variety in shape and color. The displays are breathtaking.
There are plenty of tulips in view in Old Istanbul, especially around the tourism nexus of Sultanahmet, but you'll see them all over the city as well, including along the shores of the Bosphorus. An excursion to Emirgân Park (Emirgân Korusu), known especially for its tulips, is worth doing. More...
Come to Istanbul in April and enjoy
the Tulip Festival,
not to mention the thousand other things
that make this city, for me, the most
fascinating on earth. More...
Here's the Tulip Festival's website, with beautiful photos.