Great Mountains You Must See in Turkey
“The mountains are calling and I must go,” said John Muir, Scottish-American author, and naturalist. We can all agree that mountains have a fascinating side. Well, there are thousands of them in Turkey. Let's think of the mountains formed as a result of the movements of the tectonic plates as wrinkles that show the age of the earth. Just as we admire their wisdom in the face of the magnificent stories told by our grandparents, the stories witnessed and hidden by these lofty mountains can fascinate us, even if we do not see them physically.
In this blog, you can listen to the stories of some of the mightiest mountains in Turkey with an understanding of how they were formed and their place in Turkish culture and society.
Nature, Culture, and Tourism
In the pre-heavenly cultures and religions, when people carved their stories on stones and some were still nomads, natural events and shapes meant spiritual meanings for human communities. Some societies saw mountains, forests, fountains, and wild animals as god-like concepts, and events such as floods and storms were interpreted as the reactions of these god-like figures to people's actions. In other words, we now know that natural shapes such as mountains and seas are also cultural shapes beyond geographical. And, cultural shapes get transferred from generation to generation, the same as stories. This is evident in Turkish Music. The word “mountain” is used repeatedly in Anatolian folk songs and reveals how mountains -geographical shapes- have gained such a place in culture. Here's a very famous song for you featuring Mount Ararat.
Turkish people have always been in a close relationship with nature since their nomadic ancestors’ era. Lucky for them, modern Turkey is full of natural beauty. It was inevitable that societies living in areas with abundant natural wealth began to generate income from this. Beaches on the shores of the Mediterranean, tourist tours to the springs in the Black Sea Region, and ski resorts in the mountains are examples of this situation. Such places are called tourist attractions and there are plenty of them in Turkey! So, by visiting the mighty mountains in Turkey, you can experience nature, history, and culture at the same time.
A Quick Look At Turkey’s Geography
Turkey is a country with a high average altitude. It means that there are lots of mountains and hills. Covering land in both Asia and Europe, the climate diversity in these lands, which spread to both Europe and Asia, is also reflected in geographical shapes. This is easy to spot when traveling. It is impossible not to see the Taurus Mountains stretching across the coast while traveling on the Mediterranean coast of the country. This mountain range acts as a gateway between two climates. Therefore, a completely different climate, and, as a result, very diverse landscapes await you when you cross them.
These mountains are home to many touristic attractions in Turkey. Uludağ Ski Center is one of the most famous examples. And, touristic attractions are not limited to fancy ski centers. One of the best places to visit in Turkey, Sumela Monastery, was built on the steep slopes of the Black Sea by the Orthodox Greeks. In a society where history, geography, and culture are so intertwined, it is not surprising that there are so many places to see. Now let’s move on to the mightiest mountains in Turkey so you can decide your next vacation spot!
Great Mountains In Turkey
Mountain ranges emerging at the meeting points of tectonic plates and volcanic mountains formed as a result of volcanic activity… You can find thousands of them in different parts of the country. These mountains below are so significant that some of them have the distinction of being the highest in the region where they are located. Let’s take a closer look.
Mount Ararat, or “Ağrı Dağı” in Turkish, is the mountain with the highest peak with an altitude of 5160 meters. It would not be wrong to call this place “the summit of Turkey”. Mt. Ararat is a volcanic mountain and it’s still an active volcano. It is located in the city of Iğdır in the Eastern Anatolia region, 16 km from the Iranian border. The mountain is culturally significant not only for Turks but also for Iranians and Armenians. In addition to its significance in Turkish culture, you can come across myths and legends mentioning Mount Ararat in the cultures of these two civilizations.
You can go hiking, ice-climbing, and on guided tours around Mount Ararat. If you go there, don’t forget to visit the top attractions in Mount Ararat such as Ishak Pasha Palace and Doğubeyazıt Castle.
FUN FACT: According to some legends Noah’s ark remnants lie under Mt. Ararat.
Uludag is the highest mountain in the Marmara Region, with a height of 2,543 m, within the borders of Bursa province. In Turkish, Uludağ means “almighty mountain”. The mountain's name is mentioned as Olympos in the narratives of the ancient Roman historian Herodotus. Since today's Bursa, like many of the western regions in Anatolia, was a Roman and Byzantine land at the time, this place is full of the remains of these civilizations and has found a place in the cultures of these civilizations.
Like Mt. Erciyes, Uludag has also given its name to the state university in Bursa, Uludag University. In addition, this region is Turkey's largest winter and nature sports center. One of the first places that come to mind when skiing is mentioned is Bursa, Uludağ.
The Taurus Mountains
The Taurus Mountains, or Toros Dağları as Turks call it, are comprised of a roughly 2,000 kilometers long mountain chain. That means that the mountains and the hills from the westernmost end of the Mediterranean coast to Southeastern Anatolia are all parts of the great Taurus Mountains. To make it more clear, this mountain range is spread to such a long distance that it divides into three groups: Western Taurus, Central Taurus, and Southeastern Taurus.
The Taurus Mountains are geologically classified as tectonic -not volcanic- mountains that emerged as a result of two tectonic plates colliding. Turks living in the foothills of these mountains are called "Yörük" and are descendants of an old Turkic tribe. Plus, the region the Tauruses cover is filled with remnants of many ancient civilizations like the Byzantine Empire. Thus, the region is full of historical sites.
FUN FACT: There is also a mountain range on the Moon called the Taurus Mountains.
Mount Nemrut is a 2,150-meter-high mountain located in Adıyaman province of Turkey. The mountain is an extension of the Southeastern Taurus range. The mountain is situated within the city borders of Adıyaman, another city in Turkey that is very rich in history and archeological remnants. The head statues discovered surrounding the mountain date back to 62 BC and were constructed by the Commagene king Antiochos Theos. Mount Nemrut was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and the Mount Nemrut National Park was established in 1988.
If you go to Mount Nemrut and Nemrut Cultural Park, which attract thousands of local and foreign tourists every year, don't forget to stop by the local shopkeepers and watch the sunrise and sunset.
Mount Erciyes, with its 3,916-meter peak, is the highest mountain in the Central Anatolia Region. It is one of the active volcanoes in Turkey. It is within the city borders of Kayseri and gave its name to a state university in Kayseri, Erciyes University. Erciyes was historically known as "Argaeus". This Greek word is thought to have derived from the Macedon King Argaeus I. So, we can say that the mountain is culturally specific not only in Turkey but also in ancient east European civilizations.
FUN FACT: There are 14 active volcanos in Turkey. Mt. Erciyes and Mt. Ararat are among these active volcanos.
Erciyes Ski Center is one of the country's first places that come to mind in terms of winter tourism and is visited by hundreds of local and foreign tourists every year. The mountain and the area surrounding it are full of visitors not only in winter but also in summer as it’s the season for mountain climbers.
Mt. Suphan is located just north of Lake Van, in the city of Bitlis, Eastern Anatolia. It has the distinction of being Turkey’s second-highest volcano after Mt. Ararat and the third-highest peak in Turkey, with an altitude of 4058 meters. However, it is not an active volcano. The name Süphan comes from the Turkish pronunciation of "Sipan", which is actually an Armenian name. Therefore, like Mt. Ararat, Mt. Suphan is very significant in Armenian culture as well.
Since the slope is low on the east, west, and south sides of the mountain, you can go hiking and trekking; and because the east side is steep, you can climb on this side. While you're at it, don't forget to stop by Lake Van, Aghtamar Island in the lake, and the historical Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
Since the times of our pre-historic ancestors, mountains have always amazed us with their foggy peaks reaching clouds, mesmerizing cliffs, and mostly untouched nature. Turkey, which has an average elevation higher than many countries and has plenty of mountainous terrains, is a country worth visiting if you’re a nature and history lover.
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What Is The Prettiest Part Of Turkey?
Turkey is a very diverse country in terms of culture, history, and geography. Therefore, there are countless places to see in Turkey. Some of the most popular tourist attractions are Mt. Uludağ, Lake Van, the highlands in the eastern Black Sea Region, and the historical sites across the Mediterranean coast.
What are the 2 Mountains that Stretch Across Turkey?
The Taurus Mountains stretch across southern Turkey, almost parallel to the Mediterranean coast. Similarly, in the north, there are Nur Mountains parallel to the Black Sea coast.
What Famous Mountain is Located in Turkey?
Turkey's highest peak is Great Ararat, also known as Büyük Ağrı Dağı in Turkey, which rises 16,945 feet (5,165 meters) above the sea.
What Is The Most Mountainous Region in Turkey?
Turkey's most mountainous and rocky region is Eastern Anatolia. The area has an average altitude of more than 1500 meters, 400 meters more than the average altitude of the entire country.