It is no secret that Istanbul is a myriad of history, mystery and facts. The passage of time does nothing to diminish this with new stories being made every day in the metropolis that is Istanbul. Here are a few bits of information that are not as widely known.
- Did you know that it was a seventeenth century Turk who is credited with the first flight? Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi (1609-1640) flew with artificial wings from the 183 foot Galata Tower over the Bosphorus to land safely on the other side in Uskudar. The event and the following festivities was described by an eyewitness, Evliya Celebi, historian and chronicler in his Seyahatname (Chronicles & Travel notes). Unfortunately despite his genius or the approval of the Sultan of the time Murad IV, religious and political intolerance of that time had him exiled to Algeria, he died there two years later. Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi is remembered today in his home city in that there is a airport named after him. Hezarfen Airport is a private airstrip on the European side of Istanbul, it is internationally registered and was the first private landing strip in Istanbul.
- Did you know there is a Virtual Reality (VR) Lab in Istanbul? This new venture that has caught the attention of many opened its doors, January 2016. Collaboration between Crytek and BAU, the VR lab is the first of its kind in Turkey. The goal is for it to be a technological hub for the innovative ideas of VR developers and entrepreneurs, welcoming both to increase awareness of the potential of VR technology and provide innovative framework and tech to do so. An exciting and profitable venture leading Istanbul forward in technology.
- Did you know that in the symbol of the Netherlands, the tulip originated from Istanbul? Brought from Iran centuries ago, they were very popular in Istanbul especially in the time 1718-1730 which became known as the Tulip era. Gardens, parks, green house etc where filled with them. It was a time of peace and posterity when sharing occurred between countries and the beautiful tulip was taken to the Netherlands, a rare tulip could command a small fortune at that time. As in all things this period moved on and disruption and war brought about a lessening of the tulip mania. In 2006 the Turkish government has been re planting parks, traffic round-a-bouts, anywhere green really, with Tulips. End of March April visiting Istanbul is a colourful time with tulips everywhere. If visiting Istanbul in April head to Emirgan Park in Sariyer for the International Lale (Tulip) Festival.