Tulips in Turkey continued to remain popular, and in the early 18th century, the ‘Age of the Tulips’ or ‘Tulip Era’ began. There were tulip festivals and it was a crime (punishable by exile) to buy or sell tulips outside the capital.
The Tulip was actually originally a wild flower growing in Central Asia. It was first cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000AD. Mania in Turkey struck in the 16th century, at the time of the Ottoman Empire, when the Sultan demanded cultivation of particular blooms for his pleasure. The name ‘tulip’ came from the Turkish word for turban.
The flowers were introduced into Western Europe and the Netherlands in the late 16th century, probably by Carolus Clusius, who was a biologist from Vienna.
In the 1590s, Clusius became the director of the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, the oldest botanical garden of Europe, founded in 1587. He was hired by the University of Leiden to research medicinal plants. While doing so, his friend in Turkey, Ogier Ghiselain de Busbecq, the ambassador of Constantinople (present day Istanbul), had seen the beautiful tulip flowers growing in the palace gardens, and so sent a few to Clusius for his garden in Leiden. This was the start of the bulb fields in the Netherlands that can be seen today.
In the beginning of the 17th century, the tulip was starting to be used as a garden decoration instead of the former medicinal purposes. It soon gained major popularity as a trading product, especially in Holland. The interest for the flowers was huge and bulbs were sold for unbelievable high prices.
Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom.
They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.J Carrey
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