Tulip festival opens in Emirgan Woods
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
It has been planted million of tulips in various shapes for the Tulip Festival, which opened Sunday at a ceremony held at the Emirgan Woods in Istanbul. AA photoThe seventh-annual Istanbul Tulip Festival opened Sunday with a ceremony at Emirgan Woods. Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş said the municipality has planted 12 million tulip bulbs. Tulips traveled to Holland from Istanbul 350 years ago, but have finally returned home, Topbaş said. “We planted 600,000 tulip bulbs in 2005, bringing tulips back into our culture again. They are a part of our life.”
“Istanbul is in some ways like a small country, and Turkey’s is like a continent. Everything can be grown, somewhere in the country. It is possible to see all kinds of plants in Turkey thanks to our diverse geography. This is why we want Istanbul and Turkey to become a center for these plants,” Topbaş said.
The municipality continues to work to beautify Istanbul by making it greener, even though it has sometimes been criticized, Topbaş said. “The cost of the tulips is about 2.5 million Turkish Liras. This is a very insignificant amount of our overall budget. We are also producing organic food coloring from the tulips, starting this season,” he added. The municipality’s greening projects also include working with Van’s Yüzüncü Yıl University to produce an inverted tulip, and planting 30,000 Judas trees in Istanbul.
Symbol of friendship
The tulip is also a symbol of the long friendship between Turkey and the Netherlands, Dutch Ambassador to Turkey Onno Kervers said. “This year the importance of this symbol is even greater, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Holland. No war has occurred between our countries for 400 years, and our friendship has lasted since then.”
Following the speeches, a seven-layer cake decorated with tulips was served. The cake was prepared using organic food coloring produced from tulips. Those in attendance were also offered Turkish lokum.