Redbud Time In Istanbul

When spring comes, Istanbul’s redbuds burst into bloom. We talked about Istanbul and its redbuds with Dr. Haluk Dursun.

How did you get interested in redbuds?
I got acquainted with the redbud, aka Judas tree,  in Hereke where I lived as a child. It’s called ‘Harup’ in that region. When I came to Istanbul in 1968, I learned that it was the most important tree on the Bosphorus. I started going to areas that have a lot of redbuds. There is a sort of ‘tree cult’ in Turkey. It goes back to our origins in Central Asia when we considered trees to be sacred. That’s why people in Turkey go out to look at trees.

Which parts of Istanbul have a lot  of redbud trees?
The redbud (Crecis siliquastrum) is a gift of God. It springs up autochthonously and its seeds are scattered by the wind. The Istanbul groves are synonymous with redbud watching. But there are also many isolated redbuds that bloom beautifully. I call them “Shah Redbuds”. You go out specially to see them.

How did the redbud tours get started?
The redbud tours started in 1983. At the time I also made some presentations about the redbud using İzzet Keribar’s photographs. There are countless people who learned about the redbud through me.

What does the redbud mean  for Istanbul?
The redbud is especially becoming to Istanbul. The palace discovered its beauty in the Ottoman period when redbuds were brought from areas near Istanbul and multiplied. To keep up the tradition, we are now developing a redbud garden at Topkapı Palace.

What was the significance of the redbud in Ottoman culture?
The redbud is a Byzantine tree. Constantinople became the new capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330, in the heart of the redbud season. But the Ottoman culture was one that loved everything beautiful. So it also adopted the redbud, which has even left its stamp on our literature although it is overshadowed by the rose and the tulip. 

SOME PLACES TO SEE REDBUD TREES, FROM HALUK DURSUN:

See the redbuds at Rumeli Hisar and in Cemile Sultan grove from Adile Sultan Palace at Kandilli.
See the redbuds at Rumeli Hisar from in front of the Erdal İnönü Mansion at Anadolu Hisarı.
Üsküdar, Fethi Paşa grove,
Bağlarbaşı, Abdülmecit Efendi grove,
Kuruçeşme, Cemalettin Efendi grove.
Vaniköy Papaz grove
Fenerbahçe park