Gulhane Park has to be my favourite place to go when I am in Istanbul, I can’t really say for sure why it has become such but it may have to do with the fact that during the time my husband and me were dating we would come to Gulhane Park for a stroll and have tea and toast at the tea house.
It has now become part of our tradition when visiting Istanbul and is a must go place for everyone especially on lovely summers day where you can relaxon the grassy areas while enjoying a little bit of nature and stillness in the bustling city.
Gulhane Park (Rose House or Garden Park) is the oldest park in Istanbul and sits below the Topkapı Palace in the Eminönü district of Istanbul. As you can imagine it is steeped in years of both historical and political history. The history of the park is so vast that it would take several articles to cover and you would need to be a keen historian to write them accurately.
The name Rose House or Garden came from the fact that the park was once a large rose garden for the Topkapı Palace in order to help fragrance the palace and help to up lift the spirits of those within the palace.
The main entrance at the south end of the park is the largest set of historical gates to the Topkapı Palace. On walking through you will see many vendors at the entrance selling snacks to eat while you stroll through the park. As you wander through the park you will notice that this is the only place the vendors can be which leaves the park a lovely oasis away from all the noise and rush of the city.
Though be aware you will come across the gypsy ladies selling their roses and they can spot a couple from a mile away and can be quite persistent at times. I firm Hayır (No) normal sees them off. Unless of course you would like to purchase some for your lady! But remember to haggle 3 or 5 lira is plenty.
As you walk through the park you will see that it is laced with paths which you can wander around and view the water fountains, statues and historical points around the park.
I say this often about Istanbul but you really must look up into the tree tops here you will see the resident Parakeets and in early spring you will also see the Storks building their large nests in the tree tops.
Do be careful when walking along the main wide path of the park which cuts through the middle. You will often come across a convoy of government cars whisking government officials from the government building at the end of the park to their next destination. Watch as they never move slowly. Have a wee peep in the cars as they go by you never know who you might see!
Finally as you get to the end of the park you will find my favourite tea house in the whole of Istanbul. This alfresco tea house is the perfect place to sit and relax after your busy sightseeing and shopping trips around the city. Here you can relax and enjoy Turkish Tea served in ottoman style tea pots and munch on toast while enjoying views of the Bosphorus and theKiz Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower).
© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.