I was raised and spent more than 25 years in Harbiye which is located in the European Side of Istanbul. For the last 10 years, I live in different parts of the Asian Side and I am still homesick for ‘karşı’ (the other side).
To me it is much more fun to live on the European side, a lot more to do, a lot more to discover, to go, to see, to enjoy. I used to go to Belgrad Forest almost every Sunday for the morning walk at its beautiful 6 km route, into the arms of the mother nature.
A couple of days ago, I was wondering where I can go for a nice morning walk. It needs to be a place not as far as Caddebostan coastline or Fethi Pasha Grove, I wanted someplace close-by Ataşehir. After quick surfing on the net I met her! Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden, only 6 km away from me! I do not know how many hundreds of times I passed without noticing her.
To commemorate his late wife, Nezahat Gökyiğit, in 1995 Ali Nihat Gökyiğit started a planting and reforestation plan on a 46-hectare area of land at the motorway intersection which was leased from the Roads Directorate. First, the area was cleared of debris created by the motorway construction, and the soil improved prior to approximately 50,000 trees and shrubs were planted. It was officially opened to the public as a Park in 2002, but as its function changed, in 2003, it became the Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden (NGBB).
Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden (NGBB) provides a public service, funded by the Ali Nihat Gökyiğit Foundation (ANG Foundation), to preserve plant diversity, promote education and especially through exhibitions to demonstrate the crucial importance of plant diversity. The Garden is located at the intersection of two motorways, one coming from the Atatürk and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges over the Bosphorus and the Anatolia motorway to Ankara. The Botanic Garden is 32 hectares consisting of eight islands of land formed by the motorway intersection and the slip roads. It is the first and only botanic garden to be established in a motorway intersection. In addition to being a research, training, and education center, NGBB has established an attractive amenity area for people living nearby which provides a 12% increase in the green area to the city of Istanbul.
When you visit NGBB, at each season of the year you can see a plant new to you. The transition between the seasons adds a degree of surprise resulting in a display of flowers in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Independent of the weather, there is always something new to see at any season of the year. When living in an urban environment, to be amongst nature is a longing which most people yearn for. At different times of the year, you can catch the scents of some of the strongest scented plants almost as soon as you enter the Garden, whereas other plants have only a mild perfume to attract birds, insects, and butterflies.
One of the main aims of NGBB is to increase knowledge about the plant kingdom and towards this, an education unit was started in 2004. NGBB is the first and the only botanic garden in Turkey to have a separate education unit in its organization.
The Botanic Garden is open all year including religious and national holidays. The Garden is open from 09:30 every day and closes usually between 16:30 or 17:00 between November to February and at 19:00 or 19:30 between May and September. Closing time for other months is half an hour before sunset.
Address: Atatürk Mahallesi, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Caddesi, TEM Otoyolu Anadolu Otoyol Kavşağı P.K. 34758 Ataşehir, İstanbul
Complimentary parking area is open for visitors.
For further information: http://www.ngbb.org.tr/tr/