About the Gardens

“Though the people working there change, these gardens have been part of the urban landscape of Istanbul for arguably longer than [the 6th-century basilica] Hagia Sophia itself,” says Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir, a lecturer in architectural history at Middle East Technical University in the Turkish capital city of Ankara. “It’s a remarkable continuity of a single area for agricultural use throughout history. The gardens are part of the cultural heritage of Istanbul, of the identity of the city itself, and should be preserved for that reason.”

The Atlantic, Centuries-Old Gardens Are the Latest Battle Ground in Istanbul

“The bostans (market gardens) of Yedikule line the southern edge of the fifth-century walls that enclosed Byzantine Constantinople. The gardens may be as old as the walls. An edict in the Theodosian Code (422 A.D.) designates space in the walls’ towers for storing produce and farming implements; a sixth-century Byzantine text mentions the cultivation there of “a large variety of green salads, endive, carrots, onions, and cabbage.” To this day, the Yedikule bostans are known for their salad greens, particularly a special lettuce.”

-The New Yorker, Istanbul’s Troubled Gardens: Yedikule’s Lettuce

“The gardens are on a narrow stretch of land along the fifth century city walls, where lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes grow in graceful terraces under the shade of fig and mulberry trees. The 200 or so acres, irrigated from a series of Ottoman-era stone wells, yield tons of produce, sold all over the city.”

-The Chronicle of Higher Education, Scholars in Turkey Fight Destruction of Historic Ottoman Sites


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