İstanbul is once again preparing to welcome the International İstanbul Tulip Festival. Every April since 2006 the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has planted nearly 100 million tulips, symbolizing the coming of spring, in İstanbul’s parks, avenues, roundabouts and practically anywhere there is open ground. The result is a tradition of a splendid spring flower festival with bright splashes of color everywhere.
This year, as part of the eighth edition of the International İstanbul Tulip Festival, which will take place on April 1-30, about 14,420,000 tulips — almost equal to one for each person living in the city — of 270 different varieties have been planted in İstanbul.
Typically, work crews arrange the flowers in a number of geometric shapes and figures such as waves, dolphins or the Turkish flag. In addition to parks and gardens, crossroads, rest areas and walking areas in the city have been dotted with the tulips at a cost of TL 13 million. With the addition of other bulbous plants, such as hyacinths and amaryllis, 20 million plants have been planted for the festival with Emirgan Park — a historic urban park located in one of İstanbul’s finest neighborhoods along the Bosporus on the European side — being the main venue for the festival.
This year the biggest novelty from previous tulip festivals is the “Tulip Museum” the municipality has established in Emirgan Park. The museum has rarely found tulip species, and also exhibited are paintings of old Ottoman gardens. Furthermore, the İstanbul City Council has decided to bring together a group of academics to research the role of tulips in Turkish culture as part of the festival.