Turkish Tulip Motif

Turkish Tulip Motif

As you know, I live in Turkey and a few days ago I thought I would do some work in my small garden. I bought an Orange tree, some Rosemary bushes and some Tulip bulbs.

When I planted my Tulip bulbs, it got me thinking because I had heard that Tulip bulbs were actually given to Europe by the Turkish. So, after a little research, here is an interesting story for you.

Tulips were originally a wild flower found growing in Central Asia and the Turks started cultivating them around 1000AD. They loved them and by the time of the Ottoman Empire, tulips abounded in many forms. In fact, in the reign of Sultan Ahmed III (1703-1730), it was known as the Tulip Era.

The different types of tulips were given wonderful names such as ‘Matchless Pearl’, ‘Rose of Coloured Glass’, ‘Those That Burn The Heart’, Light of the Mind’ and ‘Increaser of Joy’.

Tulips were defined as nobility as well as privilege, and their images appeared on textiles, silk, ceramics, and in paintings. There was even poetry written on their beauty.

They actually arrived in Europe a lot earlier than this; in fact, it is thought around 1554. This is when Ogier de Busbecq, the ambassador of Ferdinand I, (the Holy Roman Emperor to the Sultan of Turkey), sent tulip bulbs and seeds to Vienna. There, the famous biologist, Carolus Clusius, was very impressed with the beautiful flower. Eventually, they ended up in Holland, where, as they say, the rest is history!

Gerome Jean Leon The Tulip Folly

Gerome Jean Leon The Tulip Folly

A Dutch Garden of 1600s

A Dutch Garden of 1600s

By 1636, tulip bulbs had become their 4th leading export after cheese, herring, and gin. But they also caused chaos in the financial world for a brief time around March 1637, when the cost of the bulbs rose to crazy levels. One bulb could be sold for more than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. This period was known as Tulip Mania and the term is still used today across the world when the financial market is too crazy.

Obviously things settled down for the selling of tulip bulbs, but Holland did develop an incredible tulip industry, growing and exporting all around the world. Their tulip fields are an amazingly beautiful sight to behold and are a favourite with Spring time visitors.

As for me, I planted my tulip bulbs (coming from Holland) and await their flowering so that I can cut a few and have them in my home to admire their beauty.

Jo Tempest.

Dutch Tulip Fields

Dutch Tulip Fields

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