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The Seljuk sultans who fell in love with Alanya and tamed its wild hillsides in the thirteenth century left a legacy of walled gardens and verdant terraces that is only now being rediscovered. Today’s landowners range from a Texan ambassador to a Turkish banana farmer. They too have fallen under Alanya’s spell. By Scott Redford. Photographs by Sigurd Kranendonk and Astrid von Schell
The rising sun starts burning off the haze that hangs over Alanya during the summer months. And with it rises sixty-five-year-old Hasan Sadıkoğlu, owner of the gardens and greenhouses on the lower slopes of the Taurus Mountains, on the south coast overlooking the Mediterranean. Every morning he leaves his house and walks a few paces to the spring that pours from the base of a sharp, shaly limestone cliff. Over the spring arches a stately plane tree, in truth 300 years old or so, but grand enough for local lore to consider it planted by Alaeddin Keykubad himself, the Seljuk sultan who conquered Alanya in 1221AD and loved it so much that he renamed it after himself, passing the winter months here every year with his court.
Martyn Rix introduces a special issue devoted to Turkey’s horticultural heritage, from the splash of the urban window box to the splendour of a mountain hillside. Martyn Rix is the editor of Curtis’s Botanical Journal. His articles in Cornucopia Issues 29 and 31 explore the flora of the Taurus Mountains
SPECIAL OFFER: order three beautiful garden-themed issues, including this one, for only £60. List price £102
In its heyday the Istanbul tulip was the most fashionable of flowers. Turhan Baytop turns the pages of a priceless 1725 tulip album
The truly intoxicating rhododendrons of northeast Turkey. The most famous victims to fall under its spell were Xenophon’s luckless men on their return from the Persian expedition. Text and photographs by Andrew Byfield.
Festooned with flowers, the brilliantly painted tiles of Rustem Pasha Mosque form a glazed garden of infinite variety. John Carswell discovers in them the hand of genius that gave birth to classical Iznik design. Photographs by Simon Upton
In Mürefte on the Sea of Marmara, village women still take to the fields each summer to collect just seven different herbs, with which they produce a ritual dish. If they eat it before the first thunderstorms, they believe, they will have immunity from illness for a whole year.
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