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Spring is in the air. After a long winter Istanbul is coming alive with colours of the season. The coming days are definitely some of the best times of year to be in this great lovely city, not least because the city is blossoming and there is an energy that comes with it.
There are a lot of great things to do in İstanbul in spring, from discovering Princes’ Islands to having a cruise on the magical Bosphorus.
The city parks fill with tulips and daffodils, and there is a sense of anticipation among people in the warmer days and sunnier skies.

Emirgan Park is one of the places I visit every year during spring. It is one of the largest and cosiest parks in Istanbul. The area was covered by cypress trees during the Byzantine era, and it was named ‘Emirgûne’ during the Ottoman Empire and later pronounced as Emirgan. Spring is the tulip season. Emirgan is the best place to see this short-lived beauty of nature, where you see over two million tulips. There are also more than 120 species of trees and bushes in Emirgan Park, which sits across an area of over 300,000 square meters. In addition to common tree species such as pine, weeping willow, linden, cherry, quince, peach and walnut, rare trees such as the Japanese cherry blossom tree can also be seen.

Visiting Princes’ Islands, an archipelago in the Sea of Marmara consisting of Kınalı, Burgaz, Heybeli, Büyükada and five other tiny islands, is a must-do activity during spring. My favorite is definitely the Büyükada which is the largest and the most beautiful one. As it is too crowded on weekend, I recommend you go there during weekdays. Its village has a number of charming residences surrounded by beautifully designed small gardens.

One of these is the Iliasko Yalı Köşkü at the foot of Hamlacı Street, which was during the years 1929–33 the home of Leon Trotsky when he was living in exile on Büyükada. It was also the place that he wrote his autobiography and began his History of the Russian Revolution.
There are two Greek churches in the village; The church of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Church of St Dimitros. There is one more church named Hagia Yorgi in the rural side of the island. the 6th-century Church is regarded as one of the most vital ancient Christian pilgrimages in Turkey. It is believed that prayers and wishes made at this church come true.

The island consists of two large hills separated in the middle by a broad valley, so that the road around it makes a figure eight. You can make the tour by fayton, the Büyük, or Grand Tour, going all the way round the island and the Küçük, or Short Tour, going around the northern half.

Spring is also the best time to sail up Bosphorus which is by far the best part of Istanbul with its shore.

It curves, narrows and widens which often looks like a lake located in the middle of the city. The Bosphorus is clothed in a magnificent cloak of purple when the Judas trees bloom in spring. It is the color of Byzantine imperial family. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is also depicted with this colour in Byzantine iconography.
There are palaces and iconic, handsome mansions (Yalılar) on both sides including Dolmabahçe Palace, the imperial palace of the Ottoman Empire, Çırağan Palace, Sait Halim Pasha Yalısı and Khedive Pavilion.

The buildings along the Bosphorus are predominantly Baroque and Gothic style. Nature and civilization intertwine and complement each other in an unprecedented way all along the shore.
Whatever happens, get on a ferry, join a private tour or walk along the shore and enjoy all the beauties and historic buildings that Bosphorus and its shores present you.


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