Tulips, Tulips Everwhere

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Tulips played such an important role during the Ottoman empire that there is a “Tulip Period” (1718 –  1730) in Ottoman History.   Arts, culture and architecture flourished during the Tulip Period, with architecture and decoration becoming more elaborate.   For instance, did you know that the Fountain of Ahmet III in front of Topkapi Palace is a known as an example of the influence of the baroque European style with classical Islamic elements?    Ottoman dress also incorporated this passion for the tulip.  Within Istanbul, one could find tulips in the homes and gardens of the elite and from the flower markets to plastic to silks and textiles.  The tulip was praised in poetry and used as a motif in painting.

At the same time, as the science of horticulture came into its own, Ottoman horticulturalists created Tulip cultivars that were tall, thin, and a single color with narrow contours, smooth and dagger-shaped.  Tulips grown in the gardens of Topkapi Palace earned an international reputation, as tulip cultivation became more and more important world-wide.  Even today, the tulip is considered the embodiment of perfection and beauty in Turkey.  While today, Holland is identified with the tulip, it’s important to remember that tulips originally came from Turkey.

 

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