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Easter is the perfect time to enjoy Istanbul. The city offers you quality time with your family. Although the Christian community is small, Easter spirit still spreads through the city with a number of colourful events.

Patisseries in the predominantly Christian district of Kurtuluş are decorated with sweet yeast breads and elegantly painted colourful eggs. Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs are made each year as gift.

Easter bread (known as Paskalya Çöreği) can be found at almost all bakeries in the city but the favourite locations for it and delicious fluffy egg loafs are Nazar Pastanesi, Ustun Palmie and Arma in Kurtuluş.

Easter is traditionally celebrated with family. One of the best things to do is to indulge in an Easter brunch, which you can find at Istanbul’s exclusive hotels, restaurants and cafes, equipped with playful activities for children.

Celebratory Easter Mass is the biggest event at the Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul. I highly recommend you join the ceremonies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Church of St Nicolai in Yeniköy could also be an option to watch beautiful Easter ceremony.

The ceremony culminates with the lighting of candles. Regardless of whether you are religious or not, you feel illuminated and bright which is almost tangible.

Easter is also the time for tulip season in Istanbul, during which the tulip festival takes place. Tulip is one of the symbols of the city and has a major role in Turkish art. You see tulip motifs in Turkish tiles and ceramics.  It is a short-lived beauty of nature and embedded into national and Islamic culture of Turkey. There is a resemblance between the Arabic word Allah الله (God) and lale (tulip) ﻻ ﻟﻪ. This is why tulip motifs are used in mosque ornaments.

Rumi the great Anatolian Sufi, mentions the tulip frequently in his poems, one of which is as follows;

December and January, gone. Tulips coming up. It’s time to watch how trees stagger in the wind and roses never rest. (So Recklessly Exposed)

Every April city government plants millions of tulips in parks, squares, avenues and even in traffic roundabouts. My favourite place to see colourful tulips is Emirgan Korusu (Emirgan Park), located in the Sarıyer.

It is definitely a privilege to witness such stunning moments of these two religions in one city.

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