Istanbul's signature flowers, plants in cologne bottles

Published 27.04.2017 02:00
Updated 27.04.2017 02:02
Istanbul's signature flowers, plants in cologne bottles

Throughout centuries, the Bosporus breeze has carried the dazzling smells of Istanbul's signature flowers and plants like mimoza, linden, fig and tulip enabling a historical scent heritage. Now, these feasts for the nose are confined in elegant bottles for everyone to easily access

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's Culture Inc.'s design and souvenir brand Hediyem Istanbul has produced colognes inspired by five scents of various districts in Istanbul. İncir (Fig), Mimoza (Mimosa), Lale (Tulip), Ihlamur (Linden) and Boğaz Esintisi (Breeze of Bosporus) colognes are now on shelves.

The fig cologne has been inspired by Galata, which used to have fig orchards and fig trees that give out peace and joy. The scent, revived with scents of oranges and apples, takes us to the fig forest in the heart of Galata in Byzantine times through woody scents, fig leaves, coconuts, fresh lilacs and impressive rose scents. While it has woody tones underneath, Tonka bean and musk add warmth and durability. Along with the welcoming and unique aroma of fig, it is known for its therapeutic effects and as a source of antioxidants and potassium and contains enzymes and Vitamins C and A.

The fig trees of Istanbul date back to Byzantine times. Where the district of Galata stands today, there used to be "Sykai," meaning fig due to the plenitude of fig trees. The neighborhood then turned into today's Galata due to immigrants from Galia who had moved into the area since 270 B.C. One who told of the history of Galata and thought to have lived around 197 B.C. is Byzantine epic poet and geographer Dionysis Byzantios. He said, "Periegesis tou en to Bosporou Anaplous" (The Depiction of Sea Travel in the Bosporus). He work is considered one of the most important ancient geography texts and talks about Sykides, Galata's old name. Sykides is the plural of fig in Greek, and according to Byzantios, the region is named after the plenitude and the beauty of its fig trees. According to some writers of the time, this is the first time fig trees were planted and grown.

Mimosa breeze from Büyükada

There are certain flowers and trees that have become a symbol of Istanbul flora, mimoza being one of them. Especially in the last week of February, nature starts welcoming spring, and mimosa trees blossom one by one and let out a nice smell. The locals on the island cherish this beauty. This type, known as Island Mimosa, smells nice and is a tall tree called in Latin "Acacia Dealbata." While its native land is Australia and Tasmania, it somehow arrived in Istanbul, but no one knows how. With warm southwestern winds in spring, the branches flower one by one, and let out a scent that makes every house on Büyükada and other Princes islands smell great.

The yellow, shining flowers of the mimosa trees and their sweet and light smell give news that the spring is here. They bring freshness and joy to the island. The main note of mimosa cologne is mimosa flowers, aldehydes, romantic rose and fresh lilacs. There is an underlying musk that increases the attractiveness of this scent.

Scents of Linden Valley

Linden trees are shade trees thanks to their beautiful flowers. Since the Middle Ages, it has helped with perspiration, lowering a fever, easing the stomach and decreasing migraine headaches and stress. It has a sedative effect just like the linden tree, and a linden flower bath is calming and muscle relaxing.

Linden Cologne promises fresh air with a hint of musk. Enriched with fresh lemon, orange and green trees, the cologne includes hints of jasmine, rose and cyclamen. With woody and sweet notes and musk, the scent is very strong.

The Linden Tree is mentioned in almost all orders for bringing linden tree from the neighboring cities. The silvery linden tree, also called the "Hungarian Linden," has been planted all around Istanbul as a forest tree since the Tulip Era. It can grow up to 40-50 meters and lives up to a 1,000 years.

The upper sides of the leaves are dark green and have rare heathers, and the lower side is covered with silvery white feathers and takes its name from these silvery feathers. It's flowers blossom in July and it is found a lot in Hıdiv and Ihlamur pavilions and in the woods of Istanbul. Yet, Beşiktaş is the district famous for its Linden Trees. The area between Yıldız and Nişantaşı is called "Linden Valley."

"Ihlamur Valley" was known as the "Hacı Hüseyin's Vineyards" as it was the estate of Hacı Hüseyin Ağa during the reign of Ahmed III. Once Hüseyin Ağa was executed due to his shady estate, the Ihlamur Valley was confiscated and turned into "Has Bahçe" belonging to the sultan.

Known as "Hacı Hüseyin Vineyards" until the second half of the 19th century, this area was popular during the reign of Abdülhamid I (1774-1789) and Selim III (1789-1807) as well. With Abdülhamid's crowning (1839-1861), new plantations were built, and the Ihlamur Pavilion was built between Dolmabahçe Palace, Küçüksu Pavilion and Ihlamur Resort. Sultan Abdülhamid frequently visited these grounds and rested in a modest, small vineyard cottage. He hosted many esteemed guests, including the famous French poet Lamartine.

Two other buildings, "Nüzhetiye" and "Ilhamur Pavilion," were designed and built during 1849 and 1855 by Architect Nikogos Balyan within a green area surrounded by high walls and covered with linden trees.

Tulip Fest in Emirgan

The tulip is one of the flowers that symbolizes Istanbul's flora. Tulip bulbs planted between September and November flower the following February and May and announce the coming of spring. Emirgan Wood, granted as a gift by Murad IV to Iranian Emir Güne Khan and lying on the shores of the Bosporus between Emirgan and İstinye, welcomes the Istanbul Tulip festival every April. Tulip Cologne, inspired by the colorful tulips of Emirgan Wood and produced by Hediyem Istanbul, also contains Ylang Ylang, green vegetables, aniseed and other colorful fruits, bringing the scent of the tulips gardens around you. Convalleria, cloves and violets lie deep in the scent and caress the face. The lower tones contain powdery tones and incredible musk to take us on an enchanting journey.

According to a book written by Practitioner Mehmed Aşki Efendi who lived in the time of Selim III, tulips ended up in Istanbul thanks to Suleiman the Magnificent's love of gardens. His shaykh started growing a white tulip in his garden, and the nobles learned of this flower from him and started growing it.

During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Flemish Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq came to Istanbul as an ambassador of Austria in the middle of the 16th century and stayed for a long time, about eight years. He spent time examining the flora of Istanbul. When he left, he took tulip bulbs with him, and he gave these to his botanical expert Carolus Clusius and they started producing tulips. Clusius, a Protestant, took the tulip bulbs to Leiden when the Catholic pressure increased. At the time, the Netherlands was politically and economically growing, and the Netherlanders became rich by trading with the East from the Turkish tulips they grew in their gardens.

After the tulip craze in the Netherlands at the start of the 17th century, Istanbul named an era after tulips approximately 100 years ago. Ahmed III, who came to power in 1703, was a tulip lover. Thus, the elite of Istanbul started growing tulips in their gardens and 1718-1730 was called the "Tulip Era" in Istanbul.

Breeze of the Bosporus cologne

The breeze of Üsküdar is known to be chilly and Breeze of Istanbul Cologne was inspired by it. When you open a bottle, watch the water touch your face, just like fresh waves hitting the shores of the Bosporus. It includes the scents of black currant, green plants and lemon with touches of ozone, delicate flowers and fresh herbs. Inspired by the Bosporus shores, full of lovely cottages and mansions, this cologne also gives a hint of sandalwood, amber and musk and promises to open a window to traditional Turkish life in waterside mansions. While this combination of scents gives a feeling of freedom and freshness, it also invites us on a refreshing trip along the Bosporus. ISTANBUL / DAILY SABAH

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