Emirgan Korusu, Istanbul's forest city park

Emirgan Korusu park (or forest, Korusu in translation means forest) is a historical city park located in the Emirgan locality and the Sarıyer district of Istanbul, Turkey which we visited during our Easter trip to Istanbul. The park covers an area of 117 acres on a hillside and is enclosed by high walls. Emirgan Korusu has two decorative ponds and plants of more than 120 species. The park is closely associated with the tulip, the traditional flower associated with the Ottoman Empire.

Fortunately for us, we chose the perfect time to visit this place since Easter was in the middle of  April, you might say the beginning of spring, and this time coincided with the Tulips Festival.

The traditional flower of the Ottoman Empire is also one of my favorite flowers, and what I saw in Emirgan Korusu was breathtaking. Tulips can be found in various colors, and every color has it's own meaning. For instance, white tulips symbolize worthiness and can also be used to send a message of forgiveness. Red tulips stand for love, yellow tulips represent brightness and sunshine, pink tulips carry a sense of attachment and love and are appropriate for a close one or a family member, purple tulips is tied to royalty, but also abundance and prosperity, etc.

*A useful tip is to know your flower colors and always do research when making a bouquet. Each flower and each color send a message, be careful not to send the wrong one.

During our visit, Emirgan Korusu was really well landscaped. There were figures made out of flowers everywhere. A garden in the form of a tree made out of tulips and flamingos shaped out of roses and many others. It was a real pleasure walking around them and enjoying them.

Something else that really caught my attention was that every few meters guards were protecting the park. Tourists are not allowed the enter the gardens with the flowers and tear the flowers off. Now it would be even better if it wasn’t necessary to have guards, but at least when it’s inevitable, they have a solution for it. I would kindly like to aks tourist as well not to destroy such beautiful work and allow other people to enjoy it too just by watching. It will be great if we could promote the best of our Balkan traits!

As I mentioned, the park is so big that the two the hours we had weren't nearly enough to enjoy it. We entered through the bottom entrance, located near the Bosphorus and we exited at the top. The walk was thoroughly enjoyable, and we took our time as well as lots of photos. The park is enormous, and our tour guide told us we had only seen a small part of it. No wonder they’ve called it forest, and we hope to be back soon to explore more.

On our way we passed by one of the ponds, I’m sure it was not natural but man-made, but there was this waterfall filling the pond, and it was so beautiful, clean and neat. We stopped to soak more of this view and capture some pictures as well as get some rest.

Spending more time in the park, you’ll eventually get hungry, and when it comes to food, there are several restaurants you can choose from as far as we understand. However, we managed to see and pass by only one of them. We spoke to our tour guide and asked if we can stop and have a bite to eat, but apparently, you need to book well in advance and minimum of a week before your visit. I would definitely do this next time we visit Istanbul, it would be a lovely lunch.

The end of our park trip was approaching, and the way out we came across a wedding. It's always a great experience to witness something like this in entirely different culture, although I think it wasn’t that traditional, the place is fantastic for wedding photos, especially in spring when everything is blooming.

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