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Tulips, the flowers of love in Chios island, during Spring.
In Greece one can find 10 different kinds (species) of tulips and in Chios we can come across 4 of them. The place of origin for the beautiful flower is said to be Central Asia or somewhere between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Starting from there, tulip cultivation spreaded throughout the whole mediterranean basin. In Holland tulips where brought by the botanist Carolus Clusius in 1593 when he bacame managing director of the batanical garden of Leiden and started the cultivation for pharmaceutical reasons.
In many Greek and Persian myths mentions of the tulip exist, myths that describe the birth of the tulip. One of those myths says that "long time ago there was a Persian King named Farhad who was madly in love with Shirin, but the father of Shirin was opposing the love of the two and to revenge them he sends a message to Farhad that his daughter was dead, Farhad received the bad news and he immediately ended his life by falling off a steep cliff. The myth says that Farhad's blood spread to the soil and every drop became a tulip. From then on tulips bacame the symbol of absolute love.
In "Arabian Nights" the Sultan was using a tulip to pick the woman that would share his bed at night by leaving the tulip to fall in front of the chosen one. A possible explananion of the name of the tulip is that it derives its roots from the othoman "toliban" which was the hat commonly used by the people of the middle east. In Chios dialect the tulip is called "(turko)lalades".
In Chios we come across "lalades" mainly in the central and the eastern part of th island. The blossom period depends on the weather but usually happens by the end of march. Every flower keep its petals for approximately 7-10 days. Those of you who are lovers of the nature and expedition you would much enjoy a biking trip or hiking tour around the chios forests where you would be surrounded by the beautifull tulips of Chios.
One of those expeditions must start from the village Tholopotami that is situated in the south of Chios and you keep on until the next village called Mirmigi and you finally end up to Didimes village (the name of the village means twin sisters in Greek ;) ) those passed two villages are extremely small and picturesque and ofcourse in the whole way the expeditioner will live in between the blossomed scenery of the Chios Tulips. The total distance of trail is around 4Kms and we suggest it to be done on foot or by bike at the end of March when the nature is full of colourful tulips.