Yedikule marul is a lettuce variety that has become the best-known symbol of a 1500-year-old vegetable garden in Istanbul. The Yedikule Bostanlar? are the orchards and gardens along the walls of the Istanbul Citadel, which have been cultivated since Byzantine times. These bostans (market gardens) line the southern edge of the 5th century walls in a moist environment that is favorable for cultivation. Besides Yedikule marul, other crops such as onions, cabbage, carrots, parsley and other greens are grown in a composition that is almost exactly the same as what was grown in the area as far back as the 6th century.
Yedikule lettuce is a variety of Romaine lettuce that is strongly linked to both the historic and contemporary everyday diet of the area. It is especially an important food source for the urban area of Istanbul. Cultivation of this lettuce is a tradition that has been handed down through countless generations. At one time, there was even an annual festival held at the end of May celebrating this crop. Yedikule lettuce, along with other crops grown in this unique area, is under threat of being lost with destruction of the growing areas as part of a city restoration project.