Cappadocia and the Taurus Mountains
Turkey has been a hugely popular summer sun destination amongst Brits for some time. Holidaymakers flock there in droves to soak up the sun sand and sea, while also taking advantage of the fact that it’s outside the Euro zone. Turkey also has a faithful, if smaller, following that look to take advantage of it’s growing reputation as an activity destination, as well as those looking to enjoy its rich cultural heritage.
All of these have, over the years, slightly masked Turkey’s huge potential as a trekking destination. Turkey offers huge natural diversity; the well-known coastal areas are just a fraction of what is on offer. There are also several mountain ranges, the best known of which is the Taurus Mountains in Eastern Turkey; and there is of course the truly unique Cappadocia region.
The famous ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia may need no introduction to some but there is more to it than just that. The landscape here is often described as lunar, and is formed compacted volcanic ash that is easily eroded. This fact has been exploited by inhabitants of the area for thousands of years, who tailored it to their needs. This ingenuity is most evident in the underground dwellings constructed with fascinating care centuries ago, such as Kaymakli, an underground city on a staggering eight levels. The best way to experience this area is on foot, marvelling at the organisation, practicality and hard work needed to construct such a place.
One of the most varied of the mountainous areas is the Ala Dag, the highest and most compact group of peaks in the eastern Taurus mountain range, the highest of which is Mt Demirkazik, which soars to an impressive 3,786m. Although this is an area of less than 750 square kilometres, it offers an array of mountains and valleys in its limestone landscape. Trekking here offers a great mix of terrains, allowing visitors some superb views and areas to explore, often climbing up to deserted mountain lakes, or coming across nomadic locals.
Combining these two areas in one trip is fantastic way to uncover the other side of Turkey. Few countries can offer such contrasts, both naturally and culturally, one in which history and geology gave rise to troglodyte cities and high mountain nomadic peoples in equal measure.
By Tom Wilkinson, Product Manager