Have you ever heard of the Seven Wonders of the World? They are sights that ancient Greeks wrote about as they explored their world. In 2007 a new list was made, which includes The Taj Mahal. In the 1600’s, one ruler in India loved his wife so much he built a memorial to her after she died. The Taj Majal means The Crown of the Palace and is the burial site of both the ruler and his wife. The Taj Mahal has beautiful gardens, a reflection pool and mosque (place of prayer). The buildings are made of marble stone from many different countries, and depending on the time of day, the buildings reflect different colors in addition to white. It is said 1,000 elephants carried the building materials to the site. It took over 20 years to build, and there are rare and semi-precious stones such as jade, sapphires, turquoise and lapis lazuli used in decoration of the buildings. Over 2 million people from all over the world visit every year, and I spent a lot of time just watching them as they explored the palace.
If only flowers could talk, what interesting stories they could tell! The tulip is not only a good traveler, but a migrant as well. Originally found growing wild in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, tulip bulbs were brought to Istanbul, Turkey for the gardens there. Tulips were prized flowers, and became a symbol of the Ottoman sultans. One sultan had 12 gardens of tulips with 920 gardeners to take care of them. As a gift, tulip bulbs were sent to the Netherlands, where people fell in love with the flower and spent a lot of money to buy bulbs. One bulb could cost as much as $1,500 in today’s money!
Tulip colors have different meanings assigned to them. Yellow tulips symbolize cheerful thoughts, white express forgiveness and purple represents royalty. A red tulip, similar to the red rose, means perfect love. Now tulips can be found in many countries. I would like to go to a tulip festival one spring and see the acres of flowers blooming. There are festivals in the Netherlands which are very popular, but also in Mt. Vernon, Washington; Ottawa, Canada; Kashmir, India; Albany, New York and Holland, Michigan to name a few places. That would be a lot of flowers to see! Purrs, Gulliver