Forerunners of Spring “Judas Trees”
A tree shouted: “Spring!”… If you see blooming judas-trees, that means spring time started. Starting with last days of April, judas-trees starts to blooming around Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. You can see pink, purple, violet colours everywhere. This beautyful tree is one of the oldest symbol of Bosphorus. Today, you can see them almost everywhere in Istanbul.
There are a couple of stories about judas-tree. We will tell you some of the stories. According to legend, judas-tree used to be white and the name of the tree was not “judas-tree.” One day a man named Judas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, betrayed him and hanged himself from a tree. The tree’s beautiful white flowers turned to pink, ashamed of what he had done.So, the tree started to called as “Judas-tree”.
If you take a little look at history of Istanbul, you can see Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires history and stories everywhere. Judas tree-purple was the colour of the Byzantine royal family and it was regarded as the symbol of power and affluence. Byzantine emprerors were wearing judas-tree purple pelerine and it was forbidden anyone to wear same colour pelerine. That purple colour is the hardest one to get with natural methods. Because of that it is very special and symbol of power and wealth.
Judas-tree was also important for Ottoman Empire. Untill 19th century, when judas-trees started blooming, spring festivals had celebrated. Also there was festivals known as Judas-tree days or gatherings. Judas-tree was in to Ottoman kitchen. Flowers of the tree known to have been used by the Ottomans to add color and flavor to salads…
If you take a Bosphorus tour, you will see pinkish-purple colour in both side of Istanbul. Because it is Spring time and judas-trees are telling that. Judas-tree is belong to Istanbul, just like Cherry-Blossom and China. Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu declared the year 2012 as year of the Judas tree. 48.505 Judas-trees had planted in last 8 years and this year 1.100 trees planted. Untill the planting time finishes the new target is 8.000 more Judas-trees.
10 best places to see Judas-Trees!
First of all every time you look at Bosphorus, you will be able to see Judas-Trees. You can see them between last days of April and middle of the May. In European side; Emirgan Grove, Yildiz Park, Abbasaga Parki, Asiyan Parki, Bebek District.
In Asian side; Beykoz Grove, Fethi Ahmet Pasha Grove, Mihrabat Grove, Uskudar District, TEMA/KOC Natural Park (Tema/Koç Doğal Kültür Merkezi).