Even though France’s Provence region is the first thing that pops into mind when talking about lavender, Turkey has its own village that is rife with the smell of the purple flower. It’s time to discover the secret village of Kuyucak and its beautiful lavender fields.
Located in Turkey’s Isparta province (which is actually famous for rose cultivation) Kuyucak Köyü is still quite unknown to visitors who have yet to discover this idyllic village. Kuyucak, as well as the nearby Kuşçular, Çukurören, and Yeşilyurt villages, are some of the prime cultivators and producers of lavender in Turkey. With only around 90 households, the villagers of Kuyucak make a living through lavender cultivation and fishing as well as picking and drying the area’s naturally growing flowers and herbs such as hollyhock, daisies, and thyme for the country’s herbalist shops. With its natural cobblestone streets, mudbrick houses, and wild lavender bushes just sprouting out of the sidewalks, Kuyucak is truly a beautiful place to discover.
As for the story of Kuyucak, in 1975 Zeki Konur, one of the region’s rose merchants, distributed lavender seedlings from France to 30 families. The seedlings were at first planted on the side of the rose fields, but by 1990 they began to be cultivated for commercial means. From the first seedlings to now, more than 3,000 hectares of lavender fields were successfully cultivated, and the area is responsible for around 90% of Turkey’s lavender production.
Beginning to burgeon in June, the lavender fields fully blossom in July, when the whole area is overcome with a beautiful purple hue. Of course, the scent of lavender also permeates the entire area and by August the harvest begins. During harvesting the flowers are carefully cut from the middle of the stem to encourage further growth for the next season. Due to the fact that lavender can survive without much water and because one root can produce flowers for around 20 years, the lavender fields of Kuyucak have been quite a prolific undertaking.
After harvest, some of the lavender is processed into oil to be used for cosmetics, while some is dried to be sold to various firms around the country. Of course, for visitors there’s also plenty of lavender-based shopping to be done including delicious lavender honey, lavender tea, dried lavender, lavender oil, lavender tonic, and lavender soap. One of the best times to visit Kuycak is during the second week of July when the lavender fields are in full bloom.