The arboretum was originally founded in 1948 by Haji Khalil Khan on a 27 acre site. The planting began in 1949 using this 27 acre site and also further reclaimed land and after time the land became populated and established with a variety of fruit crops. When Haji Khalil Khan died in 1956 his sons took over the fruit growing business and expanded this further.
In 1975 the brothers having inherited the business made a decision to split their legacy and start a complete restructuring, which resulted in 65 acres still being used for fruit growing. Work then began in 1978 to construct a house which was completed by 1980, with Khan reflecting his love of nature with the surrounding gardens adorned with a wide variety of plants. Over a very short period of time Khan began to cultivate rare plants from around the world and Turkey’s first private arboretum was unveiled.
The arboretum houses an extraordinary collection of trees including oak, maple, Japanese cherry, magnolia and pine, the roads are also lined with Redwoods which are thought to be extinct in many countries.
The Karaca Arboretum has now been awarded foundation status and has various departments which include a fully operable nursery which is open to the public and has knowledgeable staff on hand to answer any questions and provide a background to the various species. The nursery has been open since 1997 and exports a multitude of seedlings as these rare species are sought after worldwide. Karaca Arboretum Foundation’s survival is dependent on the sales that are made via the nursery and also from donations made by those visiting the arboretum.
The nursery is open seven days a week and Karaca Arboretum is only open to the public on Saturday and Sundays. The rest of the week the Karaca Arboretum is open for schools and groups to visit. There is no entrance fee as such, but entrance is granted by making a donation. Statistics show that in the past year visitors to this spectacular attraction have topped 15,000 on Saturday alone.
Karaca Arboretum is one of the places that should be seen. It is not only for those with a love of trees, there are plant gardens, rock gardens, rose and iris gardens, mini plants and collections such as the bonsai plants which are cultivated in Turkey. Besides plant specimens from across the world there are also widespread specimens of Turkish plants. The arboretum contains approximately 5,000 wood derived plants and a similar number of herbaceous, seed and bulb type plants. This is a must see when visiting Yalova and the surrounding areas.