Istanbul is mostly famous for its strategic location, the bridges that bring together Asia and Europe, its mosques, tulips, seagulls and of course, its Turkish bagels/tea duo. However, this ancient city, which inspired and still inspires maybe millions of people per year, has also magnificent parks that will make you fall in love with it all over again! If you want to explore the green side of this beautiful city, pack your picnic bags and let's dive into it!
Yıldız Grove & Park is one of the largest public parks in Istanbul, located in Besiktas. Yıldız park is in the Yıldız Pavilion, that was built by Sultan Selim III for his mother. The grove has lots of romantic pools, waterfalls and two manmade ponds, as well as beautiful gardens and 400 years old trees! The area used to be a forest in Byzantine times and in the late 18th century, Yıldız Park was converted into private hunting grounds for the Ottoman Sultans. During the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II, this area became a park, specifically when he decided to move from Dolmabahçe to the Yıldız Palace.
This gorgeous park is majestic during the summer with its flowers, plants, and trees, which were gathered from every part of the world. The beautiful sights of its pavilions and villas, built by various Ottoman rulers in the 19th and early 20th century, astonish the visitors. There are two beautiful old pavilions, Çadır and Malta, where you can rest, drink Turkish tea, eat breakfast, and have lunch. Yıldız Park also offers panoramic views of the Bosphorus. Here, it is a popular picnic place with those people who like enjoying their meals under the magnolia trees, bay leaves, Judas trees, silver limes and horse-chestnut trees, especially in the weekends. The park has also ancient oaks, cypress, pine, yew, cedar and ash trees.
Located in the heart of Istanbul, in Sultanahmet, the Gülhane Park is super close to Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Blue Mosque, and Underground Cistern! This is one of the most visited parks of Istanbul, which was once a rosary shelter and garden development place for Ottoman Palace. Gülhane Park was an imperial park till 1912 and today, this beautiful space is open to the public, and to all the nemophilists with its hundreds of years old walnut and oak trees.
Gülhane Park has massive but yet beautiful gardens and pools. This magnificent park is surrounded by important monuments as well. The oldest known monument “Column of the Goths” erected in the late third century CE. Tulips are a well-known symbol and flower in Turkey and due to that, during March and April, Gülhane Park is decorated with millions of tulips for the Istanbul Tulip Festival! If you are visiting İstanbul in Spring, don't forget to check out this famous festival! P.S. Tulips -which were originally cultivated in the Ottoman Empire- were imported into Holland in the sixteenth century!
With 117 acres of land overlooking the breathtaking Bosphorus, Emirgan Park is located in Sarıyer, in İstanbul. In the Byzantine era, this park was covered with cypress trees. During the centuries, the owner of the park changed several times, and by the end of the 1860s, it was owned by Khedive Ismail Paşa, who built within the park area three wooden pavilions, which still remain untouched. The three historic pavilions, the Yellow Pavilion, the Pink Pavilion, and the White Pavilion, were restored in time between 1979-1983 and opened to the public as a cafeteria and restaurant.
In here, you can enjoy the magnificent flora and fauna, public pavilions, jogging tracks, amazing fountains, green picnic areas, restaurants and playgrounds for kids. Just like in the Gülhane Park, you can also get to celebrate the Tulip Festival in a full colorful bloom in April! The park has also a variety of pine, umbrella pine, cypress, fir, willow and lime trees.
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