For beautiful landscapes, you can't get any more stunning than the Taurus mountains in Turkey. Look at any mainstream holiday brochure for Turkey; you would think the country was all about long sandy beaches. After all, there are 7000 kilometres of coastline. Yet, Turkey's many mountain ranges diversify landscapes and add another twist to the geographical beauty.
So, forget about the typical, buy a beachfront house and wake up to fantastic sea views. Because in Turkey, you can buy a mountain retreat and wake up to stunning mountain views. The Taurus range is just one of many mountain retreats, yet, it plays an integral part in the daily lives of many. Additionally, given the large size, the mountain range separates into three chains.
About the Taurus Mountains of Turkey
Where are the Taurus Mountains?
The Taurus mountains run parallel to the southern Mediterranean coastline of Turkey. Starting at Lake Egridir in the west, they stretch until the Euphrates River in eastern Turkey. Forming the south border of the Anatolian plateau, the stunning mountain range covers 560 kilometres.
How Were the Taurus Mountains Formed?
Mountains form when pieces of the Earth's crust, known as Tectonic plates, collide. In the case of the Taurus mountains, the African and Eurasia plates hit each other. Historians are unsure of when this happened, but it is evident that the mountain range was around at the time of the ancient eastern civilisations, often symbolised as the cradle of civilisation.
Why are they Called the Taurus Mountains?
The ancient east civilisations had storm gods, referring to the weather, and one was Taurus, known as Toros, after the Greek word for Bull. Historians say priests sacrificed bulls on the mountain tops. There is a reference to Greek mythology that Zeus transformed the Bull to win the affection of the Europa princess. Hence the transformation of the Taurus bull from earth into the Zodiac constellation in the sky.
Why are the Taurus Mountains Important?
During ancient times, they were vital because they acted as a barrier to invading forces from the north. Additionally, flowing water from the mountains went into the Mesopotamia plains, the ancient cradle of civilisation, and the fertile crescent, because flowing water from the hills helped crops grow. During World War I, the Taurus mountains were strategic points for the Allies to win advantages over the ottoman empire. However, these days, their importance lies in biodiversity because the range of extensive flora and fauna is an entirely different world.
Who Lives in the Taurus Mountains?
Throughout ancient times, the mountain range and landscapes were home to the Yoruk tribes. They were nomadic and migrated from lower to higher plateaus at various times throughout the year, depending on grazing conditions for their cattle. The Yoruk tribes were like clans in the Scottish Highlands. However, much like other nomadic cultures, their practices changed, and more families set up home in the 1970s; they ditched their traditional methods of travel by horse for vehicles. In the Taurus Mountains range, they mainly resided in the eastern region of Mersin. You may still see a few Yoruk tribes, but much like other cultures, their heritage faces risk of dying out.
Antalya and the Western Taurus Mountain Ranges
The western Taurus mountains centre around the Antalya region. Antalya attracts many visitors, from coast and beach lovers to nature lovers who like hiking, skiing and modern Turkish living. Antalya is famous as the country's number one beach holiday destination and for real estate sales, especially to foreigners. The attraction is easy to understand. Skiing and snow fans have two resorts to choose from, and for hiking lovers, Antalya is the start of the famous Lycian way. Even during cold winters, temperatures are much higher than in other parts of the country, making Antalya popular with ex-pats.
The Antalya region puts the country on the world map for diversity since Antalya offers everything Turkish but excels in modern living and hospitality. The area separates into various towns and districts, of which some stand out for excellence. For example, Belek is the golfing region of Turkey with world-class championship courses. In addition, the hills of national parks, like Goynuk Canyon, seem a world apart with the vast range of flora and fauna. The city centre of Antalya gets busier in the summer months as people flock to Turkey's best beaches. Without a doubt, the western Taurus mountain ranges are worth exploring. An excellent place to start is Tahtali mountain since there is a cable car up to the summit.
Famous Mountains Within the Taurus Range
Such is the vast size of the Taurus mountains; experts break the range into three geographical areas. One look at them proves Turkey should be a world destination for those who want to climb mountains and not just lay on the beaches. Such is the range of all the mountains, peaks, and countryside; the region's diversity is staggering and would take a lifetime to explore properly.
Western Taurus Region: Separated from the central Taurus mountains by the Goksu river, the highest mountains stand above three thousand metres. The highest point in the Bey Mountain range is Mount Kizlarsivrisi standing at 3086 metres. Other mountain ranges include Katrancik, Kuyucak, Geyik and Akdaglar.
Central Taurus Region: Also known as south central Turkey, the highest peak is Mount Kizilkaya in the Aladagar mountain range, standing at 3771 metres above sea level. This slightly beats the second-highest mountain, Mount Demirkazik peak, at 3756 metres. Other mountain ranges include the Akcali, Bolkar, Munzir and Mercan.
Southern East Taurus: This area includes the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and heads into north Mesopotamia. Notable high mountains and peaks within the south-eastern Taurus range include Bitlis, Genc, Maden, Malatya and Nurhak. Unfortunately, mainstream travel circles rarely discuss these places because of their inland location. Yet, areas of the south-eastern Taurus range have much history for those interested in seeing an alternative side of Turkey.
Mount Erciyes and the Anti-Taurus Mountains
To those who know the geography of Turkey, Mount Erciyes is a stunning marvel of nature. The dormant volcano is a top skiing spot in Turkey and sits within the Kayseri province. However, Mount Erciyes belong to the anti-Taurus range from the Taurus mountains. If you are in the region, other peaks to explore nearby include Mount Hassan in the Aksaray province. It is the second-highest mountain in the central Anatolia region.
But What About Mount Ararat?
When we talk about mountains, snow-capped Mount Ararat is frequently mentioned. However, this mountain sits in eastern Turkey, further to the border with Iran and Armenia. The two summits, aptly named great Mount Ararat and little Ararat, earned worldwide fame. Not only for their towering heights but because Mount Ararat summit is the highest mountain in Turkey, and for speculation, this is where Noah's ark landed after the great flood. When it comes to mountain climbing in Turkey, this is a gem.
Also, About Mountains in Turkey
Top Ten Highest Mountains: Turkey is a massive country with masses of high mountains from east to west. From the Pontic mountains to Lake Van and the Kackar mountains in the Black Sea region, the highest peaks are often overlooked by Turkey's sandy coastline yet, offer just as much fun. This article discusses the ten highest mountains and what to expect should you explore them.
Mountain Homes in Turkey: Since COVID, inquiries for inland and mountain locations have increased, and there are many places to look. For peace and living among the glory of nature, mountain retreats in Turkey are plentiful. Places like Trabzon in the black sea are on the doorstep of the famous Kackar mountains, while other places like Antalya and Fethiye tap into the Taurus mountains of Turkey.
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