AN OASIS IN THE MIDDLE OF ISTANBUL: NEZAHAT GÖKYİĞİT BOTANICAL GARDENIt is estimated that the population of Istanbul reached one million for the first time in the late nineteenth century. The population, which, starting from the twentieth century, fell drastically due to series of wars and population exchanges, could hit the one million barrier again only in 1950s. Today, according to official figures, 15 million people live in Istanbul. That means in the last 65 years, the population of the city has increased 15 times.
Such rapid population increases transform cities, and Istanbul is no exception in this sense. As the city has expanded both vertically and horizontally, green spaces in Istanbul have gradually diminished. But there are still areas to breathe between the buildings and the motorways.
Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Garden (NGBB), located at Ataşehir, at the junction of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Anatolian Highway, is one of the green areas of this kind. In addition to being a breathing point for Istanbulites, NGBB serves also as a research, education and training center. It was founded by Nihat Gökyiğit in 2003 in the name of his wife Nezahat Gökyiğit. Made up of eight islands, the NGBB aims to protect biological diversity in general and the diversity of plants in particular, while raising awareness about the vital importance of plants.
The gardens in these islands have countless plant species that display the natural diversity of the world, ranging from cactus species to various flowers, from endemic plants of Istanbul to lilies. It is possible to escape from the gray noise of the city in the NGBB, an oasis where rare plants, endemic species and endangered species are gathered.
In line with its mission of "raising public awareness about the value and importance of plants that are the real and only guarantee of the continuation of life on Earth", the NGBB also organizes courses, seminars and workshops for children and adults.
One of the most important events in the NGBB is the Nature Festival, which will be held for the seventh time between May 16-19. For four days, children and adults will be able to participate in more than thirty activities for free.
It is possible to visit the NGBB with no entrance fee, from 09.30 in the morning until 18.00 in the evening. For more information, please visit http://www.ngbb.org.tr/en/