I knew that April is the month when one can see Istanbul full of tulips due to the Tulip Festival. It is the 7th edition now, and I wanted to go to Emirgan Park, the place where all the events happen. It was too far, so I decided to see Gulhane Park, near the Topkapi Palace instead.
The tulip is the national flower of Turkey. The wild species has been brought here from the Mongolian meadows, and only in the XVIth century the Dutch imported the tulip in Europe. You can see the tulip on the touristic logo and, recently, on the fuselage of the Turkish Airline plains. It was even “a tulip era” in the history of the country between 1718-1730, when it appeared on ceramics, embroideries and in the gardens.
From the airport, I took M1 subway line to the Zeytinburnu station, where I changed on the T1 tramway. It was a long way, of 16 stations to the Gulhane station where the park is. Along the exterior walls of the palace and underneath of the Parade Pavilion (where the sultans and their guests looked at the military parades), I arrived in the park. A lot of tulips, in different colors, and a lot of people. You can buy chestnuts or maize and stroll on the alleys.
I took again the tram to Kabatas and then I changed to the Tunnel or the Funikuler and went to the Taksim Squer, which is the heart of the modern city, in the elegant Beyoglu. By metro, I went to Levent 4, the financial district, where my next objective was. I am speaking about the Sapphire Tower, the highest building in Turkey (236 m), inaugurated on March 2011.
There is an observation deck on the 54th. floor which offers a panoramic view which breaks your breath! To the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, your sight wanders…The access costs 15 TL or 7.5 euros. You can drink a tea on the terrace and admire the view.
I ate in the mall (what you see is 18TL or 7.70 euros), and returned to the Taksim Square. There, in the middle, it is the Independence Monument sculpted by Canonica in 1928. I took the Havas bus(10 TL) to the airport. On the way, I saw the Valens aqueduct, functional to the XIXth century, which brought water to the city from the Belgrad Forest.
It was late and people were almost gone. My flight was scheduled at 0.50 a.m. Finnaly we took off. From 6000 m Istanbul was a sea of lights. Admirable view but my unprofessional camera couldn’t catch the splendor.
Dupa cum am spus deja, o escala de 11 ore pe aeroportul “Ataturk” din Istanbul mi-a dat ocazia de a vedea ceva nou in acest oras.
Stiam ca aprilie este luna Festivalului Lalelelor, aflat la a 7-a editie a sa, asa ca, normal, am vrut sa vad cum arata aceste indragite flori la ele acasa. Da, asa este! Laleaua este originara din stepele mongole, de unde a fost adusa specia salbatica si aclimatizata in Turcia, devenind totodata si floarea lor nationala. De aici a fost ea importata in Olanda, in secolul al XVI-lea, unde a cunoscut o dezvoltare deosebita a soiurilor si de unde s-a raspandit in toata Europa, astfel incat multa lume crede acum ca Olanda este tara sa de origine.
In Turcia, laleaua face parte din logo-ul sau turistic si se regaseste pe fuselajul avioanelor apartinand companiei Turkish Airline, ca un nou design. Numele sau botanic, Tulipa, provine de la “tulbend” sau “turban”, cu care se aseamana forma sa. Intre 1718-1730, sub domnia lui Ahmed al III-lea, Turcia s-a aflat in asa-numita “era a lalelei”, cand aceasta a devenit un stil. Ceramica pictata, broderiile si motivele de pe covoare purtau motivul florii, iar gradinile de lalele erau vizitate cu mare placere.
Initial, vroiam sa merg la Parcul Emirgan, unde au loc principalele manifestari din cadrul festivalului, dar era prea departe si nu as mai fi vazut altceva, asa ca m-am decis pentru Gulhane, micul parc de langa Palatul Topkapi. De la aeroport am cumparat cateva jetoane pentru metrou (2 TL/jeton) si am plecat cu M1 pana la statia Zeytinburnu, unde m-am mutat in tramvaiul T1, directia Kabatas. Tramvaiul trece incet prin diverse cartiere, astfel incat, chiar daca iti ia ceva timp, poti vedea cate ceva din oras. Am coborat in a 16-a statie, numita chiar Gulhane Parc. Am mers de-a lungul zidului exterior al Palatului Topkapi, trecand pe sub Pavilionul Parazilor, de unde sultanul si oaspetii sai priveau – din spatele geamurilor aurite dar zabrelite – parazile militare.