How Tulips were exported from the Islamic world to Europe?

Culture Contributor
The blooming yellow tulips in the spring

Today everybody knows that tulips can be found in abundance in Holland but very few people know where it actually came from. Holland is beautified by bulb fields that give a charming shade to scenery of Dutch land. Tulip is an eminent flower of the Dutch culture. Several areas in Holland is covered with enormous fields of tulips and other bulb flowers that can be enjoyed. You can esteem more than seven million flowering bulbs at Keukenhof, every year. Holland is well known for major flower exporter all over the world. If you want to have a glimpse of such endearing place and you really want to be calm and relax, so the only one place I would suggest you to go and walk is, in between the bulb fields in the Westland region and Aalsmeer.

Origin of Tulips

Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador of Emperor Ferdinand I, used to import tulips into Holland to Suleyman the spectacular, in 16th century. When De Busbecq came to know about enlightened hybrids growing in the royal court in Istanbul he was surprised. That tulip touch his heart so deep that he shipped some bulbs to Carolus Clusius in Prague, who at the end took over the botanical garden in Leiden, to make sure the extensive dispersal of tulips in Europe.

In early 1000 AD, tulips were first raised by Turks. But tulips were at first, the uncultivated flowers from Central Asia, Hindu Mountains in Kazakhstan.

Tulips were added to artistic works of the Seldjuks, mainly in the city of Konya. It was the capital of Anatolian Seldjuks in the 12th century. Tulip was the first creative art of Seldjuks; but as per history, tulips along with its culture came to Anatolia with Turks.

Sultan Mehmath II was interested in gardening. It was his most loved hobby, therefore after Ottoman conquest, when Constantinople was remolded as Istanbul, Sultan called for tulips and scattered all over in parks and gardens of the Topkapi palace.

Sultan Suleiman was a great poet; he was so in love with tulips that many times he gives a touch of tulips in his poems. His poet name was “Muhibbi”. He was attracted towards tulips; and he modified his plantation by using tulips in Istanbul.

Tulip as a poetic flower in Rumi’s words and in Islamic art

Rumi, the great Anatolian Sufi, bring up tulip in his poem entitled “so Recklessly Exposed”; as tulip has specific position in Sufi culture, and he says, “December and January, gone.

Tulips coming up. It’s time to watch how trees stagger in the wind and roses never rest”

Tulip is famous in Islamic art because it is shaped like the word, “Allah”(God), in Arabic script, ,and the Arabic word (“lale”) ,which means tulip also resembles with the name of Allah, that is why this flower is very famous in Islamic art and culture.

Mosque of Rustam Pasha in Istanbul

Later on, tulip was considered the national symbol of Ottomans. Tulips attracted people so much that its plantation became a popular culture all over Ottoman Empire.

Let’s know and praise tulips–related art.