The Toros (Taurus) Mountains are the
Westernmost branches 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 is itself made up of four
major sections, the Western, Central, Southern and Southeastern (Taurus) Toros
ranges. The highest peaks rise out of the Central and Southeastern branches, a
stretch of mountains, which are rugged, magnificent and arduous to climb.
Forming part of the Central (Taurus) Toros range, the Ala range runs
from the Southwest to the Northeast for approximately 50 kilometres and boasts
the region's highest peak, Demirkazik that stretches to 3756 metres. Other high
summits include Kizilkaya in the center (3725 m), a peak that reaches 3688
metres in the South, and Mt.Vayvay in the East (3565 m). This long range,
situated in the provinces of Nigde, Kayseri and Adana, rises between Lake Ecemis
and the Zamanti river.
The geology 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 Ala Mountains,
bringing warm summers and cool winters to the area.
The best season to climb the mountains is during May, June, July and
August when the alpine meadows of the higher elevations are rich in vegetation.
Researchers and mountaineers ascending the Ala Mountains usually begin their
climb from either Camardi or Cukurbad village. Those attempting to climb the
Demirkazik summit depart from Demirkazik village. Both of these villages lie 65
km from Nigde and can be reached by asphalt road.
The yaylas of the Toros (Taurus) Ala Mountains are the summer homes
of entire villages and the summer grazing of herds of animals. Be sure to see
the rounding up of all the animals for milking. Traditionally women of these
encampments have produced some of Turkey's most beautiful carpets and kilims,
and it is often possible to see a carpet still in progress.
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