The Ottoman Empire was among the largest in history. It was a Turkish state, which at the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries spanned three continents and controlled much of southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Missouri Botanical Gardenís designers tried to recreate sights and smells common to the people and officials of this historic empire. While gardens in Islamic lands differ in layout, most share the purpose of resembling the Koranís description of the Gardens of Paradise. Gardens in those countries, many of which are arid, feature flowing water and abundant plantings. Visitors will find a profusion of flowers that include classic Turkish tulips and drifts of bulbs, exotic citrus, aromatic herbs, pomegranate, lilac and various perennials, all set within a private courtyard embellished with Middle Eastern architectural elements and the music of water. Horticulturalists supervised the planting of nearly 9,000 bulbs, including historic hybrid tulips, with varieties dating from the 1500s through the mid-1900s.