glance at a topographical map of Turkey eveals that this
is a country of mountains. Rising from all four directions,
mountains encircle the peninsula of Anatolia. A part of
the Alpine-Himalayan Mountain range, Turkey has mountainous
regions with different geological formations.The North Anatolian
range skirts the Mediterranean shore.
Turkey's magnificient mountains and forests are mostly
undeveloped, existing as wonderful natural preserves for
an extraordinary variety of wild life, flora and fauna.
of Turkey's most famous peaks are volcanos, both inactive,Mt.
Erciyes in Kayseri in Central Anatolia(3917 m) and Mt. Agri;
(mt. Ararat 5137 m) in the east. Other mountain ranges are
the Rize Kaçkar (3932 m) in the eastern Black Sea region,
Nigde Aladag; (3756 m) in the central Taurus range and the
Cilo and Sat mountains (4136 m) near Hakkari in the eastern
The mountainous nature of the country has inflounced its
cultural evolution. For centuries, nomads and semi-nomadic
peoples have moved yearly to the fresh pastures of the higher
elevations in the summer. These alpine medows, called yayla,
house nomadic people whose traditional culture is still
For climbers and those interested in the geography of mountains,
Turkey offers a wealth of exploration. Glaciers, volcanos,
and peculiar geological formations such as karst prove irresistable
to researchers and students of the geology. The challenging
terrain offers opportunities to aficionados of outdoor sports,
who find the most interesting experiences on the mountains
of eastern, central and southern Turkey. A list of resources
to aid an expedition, is found in the rest of this text.
The Great Mount of Ağrı (Ararat) 5137m
at the borders of Turkey and Iran, Mount Ağrı, an inactive
volcano capped year round with ice and snow, rises to 5137
meters. The Old Testament records that it was on this mountain
that Noah's Ark came to rest after the great flood. Southwest
of the mountain, the Little Mount Agri (Ararat) reaches
up to 3896 meters; the Serdarbulak lava plateau (2600 m)
streches out between the two pinnacles. Climbing the spectacular
Agri is a challenging and rewarding experience.
In the summer, the weather in the area and on Mount Agri
is sunny, warm and dry. However, in the winter and spring,
cold and harsh conditions prevail, and mountain climbers
occasionally face blizzards and turbulent weather. July,
August, and September are the months when most world mountain
climbers come to the area. Climbing up Agri is most enjoyable
during this period. However, despite the usual sunny and
clear weather at that time of year, high altitude mountain
weather swirls around above 3000 meters. The southern side
of the mountain offers the easiest and safest climb to the
summit. With this route one has access to the best route
communication and transportation facilities and it is safe.
It is not recommended to climb Mount Agrì alone and
without a guide.
The Trabzon- Erzurum- Iran International Transit Highway,
an asphalt road skirts the western and southern flanks of
Agri before leading into Iran. Dogubeyazit, 270 km from
Erzurum and nearby Igdir, the two closest towns to the mountain,
are located on this route. Planes, trains, and buses connect
Erzurum with Ankara.
The area surrounding Agri has retained its natural beauty.
The local population still engages in a traditional life
styles. In the summer months the villagers move to the yayla,
the summer pastures, to find fresh grazing for their herds
of sheep, goats, cattle and horses. Women continue to weave
carpets and kilims in time _ honored designs; Village of
Ortulu is particularly renowned as a center of beautiful
handicrafts. Other nearby tourist attractions include the
Ishakpasha Palace, a fabulous 18th century castle of a local
potentate, and the meteor hole near the Iranian border.
The Cilo-Sat Mountain Range 4136m
The Cilo-Sat mountains, within the southeastern Hakkari
province are the eastern extension of the Toros (Taurus)
mountain chain which stretches from west to east along Turkey's
southern boundaries. The mountain range forms the western
section of the Himalayan mountain belt. At 4136 meters,
the Uludoruk (Re_ko) summit is the highest in the Cilo mountains;
Catalkaya(Samdi), which rises to 3794 meters crowns the
Resembling the Alps both in general appereance and glacier
topography, the Cilo_Sat mountains are the areas in Turkey
most affected by glaciers. The high altitudes of the mountains
testify to the effects of glacial formation and water erosion.
Of the ten differently shaped glaciers, the largest, Izbìrak,
measures five kilometres in length, 500_600 meters in width.
It reaches up to 100 meters in depth.
A wide arid expanse stretches across the southern base
of the mountain range. The highlands, in contrast, receive
plentiful precipitation during the winter months. In between
crests and summits, fertile green valleys dotted with rural
settlements, enjoy a temperate climate that makes them ideal
for wine and fruit agriculture.
Above the low valleys, alpine meadows blanket the mountain
slopes at altitudes between 2000 and 3100 meters. Herds
of domestic animals, the raising of which makes up the primary
economic activityof the region, graze on these pastures.
TRIPS AND CLIMBS
Arduous and elevated summits, high glaciers, glacial rivers
and fast moving streams combine to make the Cilo_Sat mountains
both a fascinating geographic and geological site of worldwide
importance and a national park of spectacular beauty. The
best time for summer excursions is during June, July, August
and September. For winter climbing February and March are
the most suitable months.
To reach the Cilo_Sat mountains, travel to Van from Ankara
by road, rail, or air and then follow the 245 km long highway
to Hakkari. Serpil village offers one route for an ascent
A vast plateau, yayla culture has evolved on the Cilo and
Sat mountains, and the summer migration of the colorfully
clad local population to the high grazing pastures is a
memorable event. Mountain glaciers and swiftly running rivers
alive with fish and beautiful glacier lakes are a few of
the area's natural wonders.
The Kaçkar Mountains
the rainy and lush landscapes of northeastern Turkey, the
Kaçkar mountains form the northern section of the Anatolian
mountain chain. The Kaçkar_Kavron summit, at an altitude
of 3932 meters, is the highest point in the range. Extensive
glacier and water erosion have given these mountains their
craggy, rugged look, and they are known for the complexity
and power of the streams and rivers which rush down to the
lower altitudes. In fact, this range is the third most important
glacial region in Turkey following the Agrì (Ararat)
and Cilo_Sat mountains. The geological and mountaineering
aspects of the Kaçkars contribute to their importance in
Turkey's economy and tourism.
The region enjoys an almost sub_tropical climate of temperate
yet rainy weather with an average temperature of 14! C.
The lowest temperature, 7! C., fall in the month of January
while August sees the hottest days reaching a maximum recorded
temperature of 22.6! C.
The Kaçkars rise in between the shores of the Black Sea
to the north and the River Coruh valley to the south. On
the northern flank, a good variety of vegetation flourishes
in the rainy climate. Up to 500 meters above sea level,
tea plantations and citrus orchards cover the hillsides.
Chesnut, hornbeam, beech and other large_leafed trees forest
the slopes to 750 meters. Between 750_1500 meters of elevation,
pines mix in with the large _ leafed trees forest the slopes
to 750 meters. Between 750_1500 meters of elevation, pines
mix in with the large leafed trees until gradually they
remain the only species of tree from 1500_2000 meters. Alpine
meadows and other grassy vegetation covers the ground above
2100 meters. On the southern faces of the Kaçkars, which
receive strong sunshine and less precipitation, the agriculture
is based on the cultivation of fruits and vines. As on the
north side in the higher elevations, meadows of wild flowers
and grass blanket the slopes up to 2300 meters.
TRIPS AND CLIMBS
The Altìparmak, Kavron, Varsamba mountains are the
principal peaks of the Kaçkars. Both the north and south
faces of the Altìparmak and Kavron can be scaled
but Varsamba should only be attemted from the north face.
It is imperative to use a local guide when climbing the
The Toros (Taurus) Mountains and the Toros
Toros Mountains are the western most branch of the great
mountain chain that stretches across all of Asia - the Himalayan
mountain belt. The Turkish section of this massive mountain
range follows the southern border of Anatolia and it is
made up of four major sections, the Western, Central, Southern
and Southeastern Toros ranges. The highest peaks rises out
of the Central and Southeastern branches, a stretch of mountains
which are rugged, magnificent and arduous to climb.
Forming part of the Central Toros range, the Aladaglar
range runs from the southwest to the northeast for approximately
50 kilometers. It is between 25 and 30 kilometers wide and
boasts the region's highest peak, Demirkazìk which
stretches to 3756 meters. Other high summits include Kìzìlkaya
in the center (3725 m), a peak that reaches 3688 meters
in the south and Mount Vayvay in the East (3565m). The long
range is situated in the provinces of Nigde and Adana and
rises between Lake Ecemis and the Zamantì river.
Emli Valley- Aladaglar Nigde
The geological formation of the area is responsible for
the interesting rock formations and waterfalls. The erosion
of limestone has created a fascinating karstic topography
and hydrography, especially in the Yedigoller valley, where
karstic underground rivers and caverns collect the surface
water. Both the Mediterranean and Anatolian weather systems
influence the climate of the Aladaglar bringing warm summers
and cool winters to the mountains.
|Hacer Pass, Aladaglar
TRIPS AND CLIMBS
The best season to climb the mountains is during June, July
and August when the alpine meadows of higher elevations
are rich in vegetation.
Researchers and mountaineers ascending the Aladaglar usually
begin their climb from either Camardì or Cukurbag
villages. Those attempting to climb the Demirkazìk
summit depart from Demirkazìk village. Both of these
village lie 65 km from Nigde and can be reached by an asphalt
The plateau, yayla of the Toros Aladag are the summer homes
of entire villages and the summer grazing of herds of animals.
Be sure to see the gathering in of all the animals for milking.
Traditionally women of these encampment have produced some
of Turkey's most beautiful carpets and kilims, and it is
often possible to see a carpet still in progress.
Mount Erciyes 3917 m.
of Turkey's most important mountaineering and winter sports
centers, Mount Erciyes, rises from the south of the Kayseri
valley. The Sultan Marshes lie to its west and to the south
falls the Develi valley. Its summit always covered with
snow and ice, Mt. Erciyes ranks as central Anatolia's tallest
Approximately 18 kilometers in diameter and covering an
area of 1000 square kilometers, the mountain's stratification
and geology make it a fascinating geographical formation.
region's climate, influenced by that of the Anatolian plateau
is typical steppe. Winter brings considerable snowfall to
higher elevations. The northern side of the mountain enjoys
a more temperate climate encouraging the cultivation of
vast areas of vine and fruit orchards between 1100 and 1600
meters. Above that altitude, expanses of meadows stretch
far into the distance. The higher elevations display typical
alpine vegetation. Herds of animals graze year round on
the east, north and west slopes of the mountain.
TRIPS AND CLIMBS
Mountaineers attempt Mt. Erciyes either on the northwestern
flank or from the south and find the best climbing in June,
July, August and September.
ATTRACTIONS Tourists visiting the area should also
see the fantastic rock formations, underground cities and
fabulous frescoes in rock carved churches in neighbouring
Cappadocia. The Sultan Marshes, a habitat for many different
species of birds, has been fortunately designated a national
park and wildlife preserve.
Mount Nemrut 3050 m.
In fact, Turkey can boast of two peaks called Nemrut. The
one near Adìyaman in the southeast is primarily of
historical and archaeological interest, home for over 2000
years to the colossal stone heads of King Antiochus I and
classical dieties. The other mount Nemrut in in eastern
Anatolia, the more interesting of the two peaks, is well
-known for its geological formation and for mountaineering
An inactive volcano, Mt. Nemrut nearby Tatvan ascends to
3050 m. It is located within the process of Bitlis, rising
from the southwestern shore of Lake Van, and entering the
district of Ahlat to the north. Mt. Nemrut is the most southern
and youngest of the chain of volcanos in the eastern Anatolia.
A strato_type volcano, Mt. Nemrut began erupting during
the fourth geological era and continued to be active untill
1441 A.D. As a result of the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Nemrut,
the single Van - Mu_ river basin was divided into two separate
TRIPS AND CLIMBS
Treks up Mt. Nemrut begin on the mountain's southeastern
flank at Tatvan. Climbers reach the south or southeastern
side of the crater after an easy hike for 4-5 hours. Those
who reach this point have the rare chance to see the wondrous
crater of this inactive volcano. For those who find the
climb to the crater too strenuous, four-wheel drive vehicles
can reach the summit from either Ahlat or Tatvan.
Mt. Nemrut is bare of vegetation, except in the south which
has oak groves and birch trees. Summer (June - September)
is the best season for expeditions in Mt. Nemrut. Hikers
who climb to the crater and summit from the southeast or
eastern face of the mountain are rewarded with wonderful
views of Lake Van.
Mount Süphan 4058 m.
Mount Suphan, a magnificent dormant vocano rises from the
north-west shores of Lake Van.
Throughout the winter, snow falls on Suphan reaching three
to four meters. The mountain's steep slopes and snow blanket
combine to make it a good location for "Heli-skiing"
-- using helicopters to drop you off on the slopes for an
adventure of high mountain skiing.
TRIPS AND CLIMBS
The easily accessible southern and eastern flanks of Suphan
are the preferred faces for ascending the mountain; they
both offer spectacular views.
To climb from the eastern flank take the coast road that
circles Lake Van. In the stretch between Adilcevaz and Erci,
turn nort to Aydìnlar village. From there you continue
on to Kìcgìllì village where you engage
a guide to lead you in your ascent.
The climb from the south begins at the village of Harmantepe.
The Bey Dağları Mountains
western branch of the Toros (Taurus) mountains, the Beydaglarì
range, is located in the province of Antalya. The crest
of the range parallels the north-south line of the western
shore of the Gulf of Antalya. The crest of the range parallels
the north-south line of the western shore of the Gulf of
Antalya. With altitudes ranging between 600 and 3086 meters,
these mountains offer geologists and geographers many peculiar
morphological characteristics. Tekedorugu, Bakìrlìdag,
Tahtalìdag and Kìzlarsivrisi summits are particularly
The highest peak in the mountains is Mt. Kìzlarsivrisi
(3086 m). Climbers reach the peak through the cedar forested
Camcukuru valley. The best way to get to the valley is by
road inland from Antalya to Elmalì. Antalya, of course,
can be reached from Izmir,Istanbul and Ankara by land, air
and sea routes.
Mount Tahtalì, west of Kemer, offers another interesting
ascent. Rising to an elevation of 2360 meters,pine and deciduous
forests cover the slopes up to an altitude of 200 m. Bare
meadows stretch to the summit. The climb up Mt. Tahtalì
begins at Sogukpìnar, a short drive from Kemer. From
there both walking and climbing bring you to a place for
camping. The final ascent is carried out on the flank facing
the coast and offers a spectacular and ever-changing view.
Although it is possible to organize trips to Beydaglarì
all year round, April, May and June offer both a temperate
climate and a chance to experience the rich vegetation in
The Bolkar Mountains 3524 m.
Continuing the line of summits in a southeastern direction,
the Bolkar Mountains are bounded by the River Goksu to the
west and the River Pozantì to the east. The northern
part of the mountains lies in Nigde province, while the
southern peaks rise in Mersin province.
These mountains exhibit interesting geological characteristics.
Made of sedimentary material such as limestone and dolomites,
the range reveals excellent examples of nappes, or folds
in the layers of rocks. There are vast formations of karst
as well as landscapes that reveal the effects of glacier
and water erosion. Despite this erosion, no water network
has developed on the mountains. Because of the sedimentary
nature of rocks, water is absorbed underground creating
large areas of karst, such as Pozantì and Sekerpìnarì.
The highest peaks of the Bolkar are: Medetsiz (3524 m),
Kesifdagì (3475 m), Koyunasagì (3426 m), Tahtakaya
(3372 m) and Egerkaya (3347 m).
The north flank receives the most exposure to snow and
glacier formation;it is nevertheless the best route for
an ascent to the highest summits of the Bolkar.
The Munzur Mountains
northeastern extension of the central Toros (Taurus)range,
the Munzur range straddles both the Tunceli and Erzìncan
provinces. Mt. Akbaba, at 3462 meters, is the highest summit
in the Mercandagì range. The limestone geological
formation of these mountains creates a rugged profile.
Erzincan, a major city north of the mountain range and
accessible by air, rail and road, is the base from which
an ascent on the northern face can be attempted.
Those wishing to climb the mountain from the south begin
their trek at Ovacìk in the middle of the Munzur
mountains. Climbers entering from this point can reach the
highest summits of the Munzur. Ovacìk lies 70 kilometers
away from Erzincan and is accessible by a road which follows
the banks of the Munzur valley. The River Munzur which rushes
through a national park tempts tourists with fresh fish
and beautiful mountain scenery.
Useful Information and Resources
Ministry of Tourism Tourist Information
Ismet Inonu Bulvarì , No 5, Ankara. Tel:(312) 212
83 00/20 70 Fax: (312) 213 68 87
Department of Youth and Sports
Turkish Mountaineering Federation
Ulus, Ankara. Phone: (312) 310 15 78 / Fax:(312) 310 15
Department of Youth and Sports
Turkish Skiing Federation
Ulus, Ankara. Phone: (312) 311 07 64 / Fax: (312) 311 07
Union of Turkish Travel Agents,
Haberler Sokak, No:15 Esentepe, Istanbul. Phone: (212) 275
13 61 / Fax: (212) 275 00 66
Mountaineering and Skiing Clubs
ATATURK UNIVERSITY, Department of Sports Mountaineering
and Skiing Branch, Erzurum.
ANKARA UNIVERSITY, Department of Sports Mountaineering Branch,
HACETTEPE UNIVERSITY, Mountaineering, Skiing and Outdoor
Sports Club, Ankara.
MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY, Department of Sports Mountaineering
and Skiing Branch, Ankara.
ERCIYES UNIVERSITY, Department of Sports Mountaineering
and Skiing Branch, Kayseri.
BOSPHORUS UNIVERSITY, Mountaineering Club , Bebek, Istanbul.
YILDIZ UNIVERSITY, Department of Sports Mountaineering Branch,