Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

x0x Flowers and gardens Turkish style

Expand Messages
  • TRH
    [See more at : http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden_history/west_asia/turkish_gardens.htm ] x0x Flowers and gardens Turkish style A couple of thousand years ago,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      [See more at :

      http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden_history/west_asia/turkish_gardens.htm ]

      x0x Flowers and gardens Turkish style

      A couple of thousand years ago, the hanging gardens of
      Babylon were built and were counted as one of the seven
      wonders of the ancient world, and before then there was
      the Garden of Eden, long thought to have been in the
      Harran area of present-day Turkey We see at
      Topkapi Palace and also at Yildiz Palace
      the use of smaller kiosks or mansions set in gardens
      Topkapi actually has large open spaces but they
      were not devoted to gardens; they were for ceremonial
      occasions

      NIKI GAMM

      ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

      Westerners tend to think of gardens as the
      well-planted, beautifully tended and orderly areas that
      we know from trips to France's Versailles Palace,
      Britain's Royal Botanical Gardens and the much smaller
      ones those of us who have free-standing homes try to
      keep in immaculate order from one year to the next.
      This seems to be such a totally Western concept that
      has yet to be adopted in Turkey.

      With this in mind, perhaps you won't be terribly
      impressed with the helter-skelter gardens you may see
      in Turkey, including the fairly new phenomenon of
      windowsill plants. In the 1960s, Turks weren't into
      plants and interest in them came later, for instance in
      the early 1980s when the then Mayor of Istanbul
      Bedrettin Dalan decided to give Istanbul some green
      spaces and planted tulips in parks and playing fields.

      This tradition continued not just with new green areas
      being planted with trees, shrubs and flowers, but older
      park areas were reclaimed and replanted, too. Nor was
      just the municipality involved; the Istanbul Touring
      Club leaped in and restored the Yildiz Palace
      gardens, the Emirgan kiosks, Khedive Kasri on the
      Asian shore and so on as part of the late Çelik
      Gülersoy's efforts to restore old buildings and turn
      them into places that the public could use as
      restaurants, tea gardens, catered parties and so forth.

      Gardens in the past:

      But all this rather gets us ahead of ourselves. What
      were Turkish gardens like in previous centuries and
      what do we know of them now? The Ottoman Turks are
      thought to have got their ideas from the gardens of
      Persia, either from miniatures or because in their
      migrations west into Anatolia some of the Turkish
      tribes passed through the Persian area. You may
      remember that a couple of thousand years ago, the
      hanging gardens of Babylon were built and were counted
      as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and,
      of course, before that was the Garden of Eden, long
      thought to have been in the Harran area of present-day
      Turkey.

      Persian manuscripts depict buildings around which we
      see enclosures consisting of carefully sculpted
      flowering trees and flowers with birds sitting or
      flying around, while outside the enclosure plants and
      grasses seem to be decoratively scattered around with
      trees located just outside.

      A 15th century banqueting scene in a Shiraz garden
      could have portrayed what we know of Istanbul's
      Sa'dabad banquets in the early 18th century. And in
      another Persian manuscript from Shiraz we see a pool
      with streams running through the miniature. According
      to Professor Nurhan Atasoy, in her book on imperial
      gardens, the Persian idea was based on what people
      thought paradise would be like when they got there,
      with streams running through it and flowering trees.

      Ottoman manuscripts display similar characteristics,
      giving some credence to the idea that Persian ones
      influenced gardens in Ottoman times, or at least that
      is what one can understand from the miniatures. A
      garden could hardly have been something the nomads
      would have had a chance to plant. Nor is it likely that
      a rich Byzantine garden culture still existed given the
      territorial advances made by the Ottoman Turks with the
      subsequent destruction and refugees trying desperately
      to get out alive. Istanbul, in any case, had long been
      left to those who were too poor to escape and soldiers
      who decided to stay and defend the Byzantine capital to
      the death.

      On the other hand, with the conquest of Tabriz in 1514
      Sultan Selim brought any number of craftsmen who were
      experts in their art to Istanbul. Laboring in the
      palace workshops, these artists used their obvious
      talents to incorporate flowers into their tile and
      embroidery designs.

      We know, of course, that the Ottomans had a singular
      love of flowers and enjoyed having them on their
      garments, in their tents, as embroideries, on porcelain
      and depicted in poetry, and wherever else they thought
      appropriate. Flowers had a particular significance in
      poetry because the words used were, in essence, code
      words for the way in which the lover and beloved were
      described and in mystic poetry the lover and beloved
      were the worshipper and the worshipped, that is to say,
      God.



      Imperial involvement:

      Think of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. He conquered Istanbul and
      when he wasn't out warring, he spent what free time he
      had tending his gardens, and he especially loved
      vegetables. The Greek author Christobolous described
      Topkapi as having very large, lovely gardens that
      contained plants and fruit-bearing trees. There was
      plenty of water from the nearby Yerebatan cistern for
      the groves and meadows. One has to remember, of course,
      that what was actually called the "New Palace" was far
      smaller and simpler than the current Topkapi
      Palace with its high walls, gates and small
      pavilion-like buildings that take up space.

      We know that Sultan Ahmet III had a tulip garden in the
      fourth courtyard at Topkapi Palace. The sultan,
      along with his grand vizier, was the initiator; or
      perhaps it would be better to describe him as the
      promoter of the Tulip Period, or Lale Devri, that
      captured so much attention in Turkey and Europe.

      The years between 1718 and 1730 were a special time in
      Istanbul. The arts flourished and tulips were
      unbelievably popular. It rubbed off in Holland where
      there was speculative trading in tulip bulbs for a time
      before the bubble burst. It's hard to think that at
      one time the price of one bulb reached the equivalent
      of $5,000. Because the prices went so high, people even
      bought shares in bulbs. After the market plummeted,
      you practically had to give them away free. But of
      course as we now know, the Dutch never lost their
      interest in tulips.

      In Istanbul, a special pleasure palace called Sa'dabad
      (the Place of Happiness) was built between today's
      Kasimpasa and the Koç Museum along the northern shore
      of the Golden Horn. Actually, it wasn't a palace at all
      but a series of kiosks and pavilions, gardens, streams
      and wonderful parties. At night the illumination was
      supposed to have been provided by turtles wandering
      around the grounds with candles on their backs.

      Actually, the area was already a favorite picnicking
      ground as 17th-century travel writer Evliya Çelebi
      notes in his "Book of Travels" (Seyahatname). He and
      friends used to go there during Ramadan to break their
      fast, recite poetry and drink and carouse until the
      early morning, when they had again to resume their fast
      for the day.

      We see at Topkapi Palace and also at
      Yildiz Palace the use of smaller kiosks or
      mansions set in gardens, although we might not
      particularly understand how the gardens were originally
      set out. Topkapi actually has large open spaces
      but they were not devoted to gardens; they were for
      ceremonial occasions. That much we can understand from
      paintings by foreign artists, especially in the 18th
      century works of Jean-Baptiste Van Mour. This past year
      there was an exhibition displaying some of these
      paintings at the Topkapi Palace Museum from the
      Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam alongside paintings by the
      contemporary Ottoman artist Levni.

      But by the 18th century, foreign influence was having
      an effect on what was happening in Istanbul. Turkish
      ambassadors had been going to Paris, where they were
      influenced by, for example, the Court of Versailles'
      gardens. In the meantime travelers and ambassadors were
      coming from the West and brought with them ideas about
      what gardens should, in their opinion, look like. The
      cross fertilization, at least to the extent that is
      known today, rarely seeped down to the general populace
      from the level of imperial government officials.

      We do know that in the 19th century the yalis, or
      waterfront mansions, had gardens. The palaces did, too,
      but most likely no one among the lower classes could
      afford to think of such things. Space was at a premium
      in lower-class areas, and there weren't any markets
      where flowering plants were sold as there are today.

      One example from a century ago is Yildiz
      Park, which has areas being looked after but seems a
      bit wild, perhaps it was intentional as part of the
      plan for the area under Sultan Abdulhamid II. He had
      waterfalls, small lakes, trees, shrubs and flowers put
      in to what had originally been a wooded area where
      members of the previous Ciragan Palace
      household, occasionally women too, had been used to
      walking in. But most likely the rather unkempt look
      about the place has more to do with lack of funding and
      governmental interest than anything else since things
      only began to get better after municipal governments
      and ministries realized the value of attracting
      visitors.

      Istanbul today is in much better shape. We now can buy
      plants almost everywhere. Sometimes a street seller
      will come right to your door. People are taking pride
      in putting plants outside their windowsills, and a
      reasonable variety is available at the many florist
      shops that have sprung up. The municipalities are
      interested in planting trees along the streets to
      encourage a better ambience for the neighborhood,
      although it is up to individuals to get, plant, water
      and maintain the tree forever after.

      Istanbul really is looking better and better.

      __________________________________________________________________
      Copyright 2005, Turkish Daily News. This article is redistributed with
      permission for personal use of TurkC-L readers. No part of this article
      may be reproduced, further distributed or archived without the prior
      permission of the publisher. Contact: Turkish Daily News Online on the
      Internet World Wide Web. www.turkishdailynews.com

      For information on other matters please contact tdn@...
      __________________________________________________________________
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.