Botanical Gardens, Istanbul University

We began by gazing out at the wonderful view from the terrace of the 
Istanbul University's Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Garden, belonging to Istanbul University, is the oldest and most diverse botanical garden in Turkey, housing more than 3,000 species of plants. This area, consisting of 17 hectares of gardens, is near to the Suleymaniye Mosque, with amazing views over the Golden Horn.

Hedges separate the different species of plants

It was fascinating looking around the Botanical Gardens. We saw all kinds of different plants, some of them quite new to us.

Fortunately, most of them were named, like this Marsileaceae, a form of water clover. 
Did you know that this can thrive for more than 100 years by continually reseeding itself?

We wandered through some of the nine greenhouses, housing a large variety of plant species, 
like palms, cacti and carnivorous flowers.

Many of the greenhouses had waterlily ponds, unfortunately it was too early in the season
for flowers to have developed

We could see the Galata Tower across the Golden Horn..

...as well as the Bosphorus...

In 1995, the plants and trees in the Istanbul University Botanical Gardens were placed under legal protection by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Despite this, there are reports that the government has plans to open this area to construction and development. It would be so sad if this oasis of tranquility in the midst of this bustling city, was to be buried under tons of concrete!

We finished our tour with lunch in a rooftop restaurant with a 360° view of Istanbul. What a great day out!

Our lunchtime view of the new Ataturk Bridge...

...and the Galata bridge

Elizabeth Coughlan


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