Traditions in Turkey

Love for the rose (Gül) and for the tulip (Lale)

The Turkish people have a love for all flowers, in fact our cities are full of flowered and manicured gardens, in particular  we have a love for the tulip “lale” and for the rose “gül”.

Tulip – Symbol of the sultans

Originally, the tulip was a flower of Central Asian origin (like the Turkish people), which arrived in Anatolia with various migrations. In Anatolia, its cultivation began centuries ago and it was in these remote times that the passion of the sultans for this particular flower was born.

In fact, the tulip, recalls the turban of the sultans … will it be the explanation of this passion? Perhaps, but the sultan who is most associated with the tulip is Suleiman the Magnificent. His passion for the flower prompted him to ask royal gardeners to create other colours.

So the tulip, as you may have guessed, is not Dutch. The flower arrived in the Netherlands via an ambassador, who sent the bulbs of this beautiful flower to the Dutch court.

As soon as the first flowers grew, it was love at first sight. But this sudden passion did not at all prevent the Turks from keeping alive the love for the flower which is also the symbol of their city, Istanbul.

The tulip will always recall the glorious past of the Turkish sultans.

Love for the rose (gül), an omnipresent flower

In addition to the love for the tulip, the rose is another of the flowers that the Turks adore. It is a flower that can be seen everywhere, both in its primordial form and in other forms. In ancient times, rose water was used for its healing properties, for its relaxing qualities. In fact, it was thought to cure nausea, indigestion, depression and more.

 Another form that makes the rose omnipresent in Turkey is that of names. In fact, Gül is a very common name as it is, but also composed, like gülbahar, flower of spring.  The nickname that a man gives to his beloved is “gülum” or “my rose”.

In the days of old, Ottoman women used rose oil as an anti-wrinkle, as an oil and body perfume in hamams. Today the uses of derivatives of the rose are different from those of the Ottoman centuries, but they still remain in the hearts of the Turks. We always use rose water for beauty packs or simply to refresh ourselves.


Turks have a passion for flowers that can sometimes seem like a veneration. As a child, walking in  parks with my mom, I saw  beautiful flowers and when I went to pick them for her, she stopped me and said “if you pick them they will die and their beauty will fade, while if you don’t pick them , their beauty will last longer and their beauty will be enjoyed by more people “.