12 April Thursday

World's Largest Tulip Carpet Laid in Istanbul

As part of the 13th edition of the annual Istanbul International Tulip Festival, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) introduced the biggest tulip carpet in the world in Sultanahmet Square on Thursday.

The IMM is displaying the world's biggest "tulip carpet" to visitors in the city's historic Sultanahmet Square. As part of the 13th annual Istanbul Tulip Festival, a 1,734-square-meter tulip carpet that was made of 565,000 live tulips, which is also the biggest in the world is on display. Thousands of Istanbulites and tourists accompanied Istanbul Mayor Mevlüt Uysal during the opening ceremony of the carpet.

The world's largest tulip carpet, laid in the form of a Turkish traditional carpet pattern, takes shape in central Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square. Made of petals from 565,000 tulips and covering a 1,734 square-meter area.

Taken from the Turkic homeland in Central Asia's Pamir Mountains to Anatolia and spread worldwide, the tulip is the symbol of Turkey and Istanbul. The tulip was brought to Europe in the second half of the 15th century. Tulip bulbs sent by the Austro-Hungarian Empire's ambassador in Istanbul, Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, who was also a botanist, first arrived in Vienna and then in the Netherlands where tulip fields cover most of the country.

The designers are copying a traditional Turkish carpet design dating back to 100 years ago, which is known as "the eye of the heart."

The pattern is formed over a dark-pink tulip floor with the use of white, light pink, yellow and red tulips in different sizes.In the 18th century, there were over 1,500 tulip species in the Ottoman Empire and they were seen as a symbol of the prosperity of the empire.

It was also a period of enlightenment for the Ottomans, during which extensive cultural and artistic interactions were made with the rest of the world, especially the Europeans.

The entire period was known as the "Tulip Age" and lasted until an economic crisis befell in the last decades of the empire. The tulip production gradually decreased over time, so did the wealth of the Ottomans.

"It is the right of our nation to claim that the motherland of tulip is Istanbul," said Vasip Sahin, governor of Istanbul, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the tulip carpet on Thursday.

"It is the spiritual symbol of our city," the governor added.

In 2005, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) started an initiative to revive the tradition and boosted the production of different tulip species and introduced an all-new Tulip Festival, which lasts nearly a month in April.

"Each year, the festival has been growing while drawing more and more visitors, locals and tourists alike," said Istanbul Mayor Mevlut Uysal.

According to the mayor, the botanists in Istanbul have been working hard to increase the production of new tulip species so as to catch up with the Ottoman period.

To add fun to the 13th Tulip Festival, painting, sculpture and calligraphy exhibitions focusing on tulips are taking place in several venues, along with a beach football tournament and a women's tennis cup scheduled for the occasion.

The tulip carpet in Sultanahmet Square will be on display until the end of April 2018.

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