By MerrilHope


Karen and I went to Emirgan Park to see the lush carpets of tulips in oh so many varieties and colours that are part of the annual Istanbul Spring Tulip Festival. Stretching from the Bosphorus shore outwards and upwards, (seriously upwards to well above sea level - hard work but great views), it is 117 acres of water falls, duck ponds, paths and walkways that weave in and out of the trees with picnic areas and 3 Ottoman pavilions now transformed into restaurants - all of which makes the park a popular destination especially for anyone who owns a camera (everyone)!! We walked and admired and walked some more, overwhelmed by the carefully cultured blooms planted in beds so densely that the impact of colour was breathtaking and truly gorgeous.

Originally a wild flower, the Ottoman Turks began cultivating the tulip around 1000AD. The botanical name is Tulipa, derived from the Turkish word for a Turban. In C16th the tulip was introduced to the Netherlands by Carolus Clusius, a famous Viennese biologist. By 1636 European demand for this brightly coloured flower was so great that in Amsterdam a single bulb could cost as much as a house. People sold their homes and farms to buy Tulip bulbs to grow for profit. When this 'Tulipmania' subseqently collapsed, many people lost all their savings in what is sometimes called the 'Tulip Crash' - the first example of an economic collapse.

In Ottoman history, the period 1713-1730 is known as the 'Tulip Era'. A time of peace when textiles, carpets, ceramics and tiles all started to feature the now familiar tulip symbol. Most souvenirs and tourist ceramics today incorporate this design.

This shot, straight out of the camera, chosen because they looked like a carpet of flames, is just one of 40+ images I took of today's Tulipmania. These stunning cultivated blooms couldn't be more different from yesterday's brave daisy or the wild flowers last Monday. My third flower photo this week but it is April after all and I am completely surrounded.

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