My time in Istanbul was a bit tumultuous, to say the least, but one thing that I felt extremely lucky to experience was celebration of tulips.  The Istanbul Lale (Turkish for ‘tulip’) Festival occurs every year in April, just as the beautiful buds blossom.  Although Tulips are widely-acknowledged as a Dutch flower, the Turks claim that it was exported to Holland in the 17th century.  Whatever the case, there is no denying that the Turks highly value the tulip: the shape of their traditional tea cup is even representative of it!

Turkish Tea

Tulips and Taxis

Colorful laleler line the streets of Istanbul throughout the month of April, making it easy to spot them regardless of where you are.  However, the most spectacular displays can be found in Yıldız, Emirgan, and Gülhane parks.  All of these parks are stunning, but I found Gülhane to be the most beautiful.  It can get crowded, as the park sits within the grounds of the old Topkapı Palace.  However, the ambience is calming regardless and the tulip beds are overflowing with color and life.  If you’re ever in Istanbul around this time, it’s definitely a must-see.  Enjoy!

Tulip Peach

Tulip Yellow Red

Tulip Orange