Best time to travel to Istanbul

Judas Tree in Bloom, Istanbul 2025

Glorified throughout history, the shy but graceful Judas trees adorn the city of Istanbul

Best time: April–May

Judas Tree in Bloom
Judas Tree in Bloom
Judas Tree in Bloom
Judas Tree in Bloom
Judas Tree in Bloom

Once its blossoms were white, but when Judas hanged himself from the tree after his betrayal of Jesus Christ, it is said that the tree was so ashamed that it forever blushed, hence the name of this tree. Judas trees are particularly prized by Istanbulites. The city is said to be founded exactly when the trees were blooming. The founding family of Byzantines took pride in the trees and symbolically wore pink cloaks.

Ottomans also cherished Judas trees; they learned to use the flowers to brighten up and flavour salads. In poetry, Judas trees became "the colour of the сountry," and Istanbul was proclaimed the "Empire of Judas trees". Today one might delight in the beauty of these legendary trees on the Anatolian side of the city in the months of April and May.

Practical info

What is the time window for observing the Judas trees in blossom in Istanbul?

The Judas trees bloom in Istanbul from mid-April to early May. These legendary trees with their pink-hued blossoms are a sight to behold at this time. The increase in daylight length and warmer temperatures trigger the bud formation that eventually blooms into a stunning, pink and purple show of flowers that engulfs Istanbul in its beauty. Show more

Which are some of the prime locations in Istanbul to relish the Judas tree's blossoming view?

Although widely distributed in Istanbul, several remarkable spots offer a spectacular view of the Judas tree in bloom. The Emirgan Forest is the must-go destination with hundreds of trees and a breathtaking botanical garden that embodies diverse other flora. The Aydos Forest is another fantastic location, home to a green paradise's natural wonder in the eastern part of the city. The Yildiz Park is a former hunting reserve adorned with exotic fauna and wildlife. Show more

What is the symbolic significance of the pink cloaks worn by the founding Byzantine family during the Judas tree's blossoming season?

The Byzantine's founding family took great pride in the Judas tree's once-white blooms and symbolized this pride during betrothal ceremonies by wearing pink cloaks. Legend has it that Judas betrayed Jesus and hung himself from one of the trees, thereby turning its flowers pink in colour. Furthermore, Istanbul's foundation apparently coincided with the blooming of these trees, making it an enchanting and historically significant city. Show more

How did the Ottomans utilize the Judas tree flowers in their culinary practices?

The Ottomans held the Judas tree in high esteem and utilized its flowers in their food. The Judas tree flowers would be collected while still in the bud stage and then dried. The resulting dried flowers were ground into a fine powder that added flavour to various sauces and dishes. One such traditional Ottoman sauce was the Tarator sauce, which relied on this dried flower powder for its compelling flavour. Show more

Which other natural enchantments are there to visit in Istanbul besides the Judas tree?

Apart from the legendary Judas trees, Istanbul is home to several other captivating natural attractions. For example, the Bosphorus is a must-see natural strait that links the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, affording stunning views. The Belgrade Forest bordering the city is an excellent spot for visitors looking to experience the serenity of lush vegetation, streams, and picnic sites. The natural beauty surrounding Istanbul provides a distinct and captivating allure to the city's allure. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych