A BOTANICAL PARADISE IN ISTANBUL: ATATÜRK ARBORETUMThe Atatürk Arboretum, whose presence is known by a few Istanbulites, is located on a vast area of 296 hectares, in the southeast of the Belgrad Forests in Bahçeköy, a part of Sarıyer district.
The Latin word "arboretum" is formed by the combination of "arbor", meaning "tree", and the "-etum" suffix, which is used to indicate places where plants are grown. It simply means "the place where the trees are grown". The Atatürk Arboretum, one of the biggest examples of its kind in the world, is home to more than 1,500 plant species.
Istanbul has an extraordinary plant variety due to its diversity of land, geographical position between two seas and continents, topography, and traditional land use implemented through centuries. Just to make a small comparison in order to understand the richness of the Istanbul flora, comprising of roughly 2,500 plant species, on an area of about 5,500 km2; there are about 3,400 plant species in Great Britain, which is 40 times the size of Istanbul with a surface area of 210,000 km2.
The Atatürk Arboretum is one of the places where different plant species from all over the world can be seen firsthand, together with the diversity of Istanbul flora. Also, the first nursery garden of Turkey was established in 1916 within the boundaries of the Atatürk Arboretum, which can be considered as a kind of live-plant museum. The arboretum was established on a 39-hectare site in 1949 and in 1982, it was named as the Atatürk Arboretum, for the 100th birth anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey.
The Atatürk Arboretum, founded in order to serve primarily as a living laboratory that allows scientific researches and studies to be carried out by forest engineers, landscape architects, scientists and nature lovers, is also open to anyone who is interested in botany or to those who simply wants to get away from the urban city for a while.
Offering scenes as if from a fine impressionist painting especially in the autumns, where countless tones of yellow, brown and green dissolve into each other, the Atatürk Arboretum can be visited from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm every day except Mondays.