Tulip mania – an exciting cultural history

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tulips at a flower shopDo you know the story about the tulips?

They originate from somewhere in Central Asia where they used to grow wild and in wind-protected areas.

After the conquest of Constantinople (nowadays Istanbul), sultan Mehmed II. wanted to redesign the city and he gave the order to build twelve flower gardens. There they planted among daffodils, roses and carnations also different kinds of tulips. They were the most favoured flowers and therefore the prices for their bulbs grew.

In the middle of the 16th century the tulips came to Central Europe. In Vienna a botanist named Carolus Clusius bred different kinds of tulips and sent them across Europe to all of his friends.

Especially the Dutch breedings and exclusive tulip bulbs were famous. Some of the rare bulbs were balanced with gold. In the year 1637 the Semper Augustus Tulip was the most expensive tulip sold during the so-called “tulip mania”.

Semper Augustus TulipThe price of tulips also skyrocketed because of speculations with tulips and their bulbs (some went up to nowadays 10,000 EUR). But, of course it was bound to happen: that bubble burst and the first stock market crash in history took place. Prices went down to 95% and many people lost fortunes overnight.

Over time reputation for tulips grew again and they became famous worldwide. But nowadays it´s a more lucrative business to deal with the cut flowers than with the bulbs.

purple tulips

And that´s the story of tulips. 🙂

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