Today Holland is known for tulips, but they actually originated from Turkey. In the 16th century tulips were imported from Turkey to Holland, where they quickly prospered and their popularity spread.
The name ‘tulip’ is actually derived from the word ‘turban’, since the shape of a tulip resembles the shape of a turban.
An Era of Peace and Prosper
During the Ottoman Empire, from 1718-1730 was the Tulip Era, an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity without any uprisings, wars or border disputes. It was also considered the “Ottoman Renaissance” a time of political, social and cultural advancement. Gardening and “tulip mania” spread across the country.
The Tale of the Tulip
Turkish legend has it that a prince named Farhad, was once love struck by a maiden, Shirin. Distraught by the horrible news of Shirin being killed, he was so overcome with pain that he mounted his horse and rode over a cliff to his death. It’s said that for every drop of blood shed, a scarlet tulip bloomed. Making the tulip, especially the red tulip a symbol of perfect love.
Tulips in Turkey
Tulip, lale in Turkish, is one of the most iconic and traditional symbols of Turkey. Today, the tulip is still the national flower of Turkey. It’s also been a favorite motif of Ottoman artists and craftsmen. The Turkish tulip can be seen depicted on traditional ceramic bowls and carpets. Today the tulip motif can be seen all over Turkey. From Turkey’s tourism logo, the rear wing of a Turkish Airlines plane, the seat pattern on public buses and even hidden in the metal gates that surround public gardens.
I didn’t know there were so many types of tulips – Turkey has at least 14 different types. I was overwhelmed and surprised to see so many colors and varieties at the Tulip Festival.