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GRAPES (VITIS VINIFERA)

Grapes (Turkish: üzüm) are a fruit with which the Turks have been acquainted since quite ancient times, and the word üzüm appears in the oldest known Turkic writings from the Uygur period. The Moroccan traveler Ibn Batuta, who came to Anatolia during the 14th century, noted that the Kız üzümü (izarî) of Iznik (ancient Nicea) was thin-skinned, translucent, with large, very sweet fruits and a single seed, and that he had not seen a grape like it anywhere else in the world.*

One of the principle centers of grape cultivation is the Aegean, with seedless sultan's grapes. They are used not for wine or table grapes as in other grape growing regions, but for yellow, golden raisens, with Turkey being the number one exporter in the world with 25% of the market. The grape vine was cultivated in the mediterranean region for thousands of years although it is a native of Central Asia.

*Reference:  Meyve Kitabı (Τhe Fruit Book, Emine Gürsoy Naskali, Dilek Herkmen, eds.), Istanbul 2006, and Priscilla Mary Işın, Türkiye Meyveciliğin Tarihi Mirası (The Historical Heritage of Fruit Culture in Turkey).

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