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MELON (CUCUMIS MELO)

The Turkish word for melon, kavun, comes from an older Turkic word, kagun. The plant was probably brought to Anatolia by the Tatars or the Turks. Anatolia is an ideal region for growing melons. They were being grown in Central Asia, in the Khorezm and Fergana regions (today’s Uzbekistan), before the 13th century. The Khorezm melon, cultivated between the 13th and 15th centuries, was world famous. These melons were sliced and dried in the sun, and exported to India and China. The world famous Cantaloupe was brought to Rome from Turkey by Armenian Catholic priests, and became established in the Cantaluppi farm. Later, seeds were taken to France during the reign of Charles VIII (1483-1498). In Turkey, this melon is still known as dilimli kavun, or “sliced melon.”

Reference: Priscilla Mary Işın, "Türkiye Meyveciliğinin Tarihi Mirası",  Meyve Kitabı, (ed. Emine Gürsoy Naskali, Dilek Herkmen), Istanbul, 2006.

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