Taking a glance at a geographical map, it can be easily said that Turkey is a country of mountains. Encircling Anatolia from four sides, the mountains of Turkey not only played an important role in its settlements, but Anatolian people’s cultures as well.

The highest peak of Turkey is Mount Ararat, located in the eastern province of Agri, whose summit is 5,137 meters high. The volcano, which is inactive, is also sacred for both Muslims and Christians as it is believed that Noah’s Arc landed on top of the mountain. Turkey also has two mountains that are higher than 4,000 meters and more than 10 mountains that are taller than 3,000 meters.

Mountaineering is probably the best outdoor sport for adrenaline junkies, and Turkey’s impressive range of mountains has enabled this sport to become increasingly popular among sportsmen both from Turkey and abroad. Turkey is a mountainous country without question. Its terrain provides an excellent environment for mountain climbing. Natural mountain forests provide habitats for both native plants and animals and they attract tourists both inside Turkey and outside the country who are looking for some adrenaline.

Here are some of the top climbing routes where mountaineers – whether amateur or professional – can enjoy the thrill of climbing and the natural wonders surrounding the summits:

Mount Nemrut – Adiyaman

If you are both an adrenalin junkie as well as a sucker for history, Mount Nemrut is the first summit that you should climb. Mount Nemrut, which is 2,552 meters high is located in southeastern Turkey, 87 kilometers from Adiyaman, and is part of the Taurus Mountain range, above the Euphrates River valley. Although it is an easy climb for professional climbers, the summit of the Mount Nemrut hides the ancient ruins of the tomb of Antiochos I of the Commagene Kingdom. The sanctuary at the top of Mount Nemrut was built by Antiochos I for himself as a funerary monument. The colossal heads of Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, and Antiochos I and several Greek and Persian gods adorn the summit. If you can manage to climb the summit before sunrise, Mount Nemrut offers one of the best sunrises, and sunsets, in the world.

Geyikbayiri – Antalya

Good weather meets isolated nature. Geyikbayiri in Antalya is a heaven for amateur and professional climbers. The location offers a retreat from life, by surrounding yourself with beautiful scenery, wildlife and fresh mountain air. The mountain range takes its name from a nearby village. Although the area is a perfect place for mountaineering, it has made a name for itself for rock climbing with single piece rocks up to 50 meters which occurred after tectonic movement of the land.

Geyikbayiri also hosts the annual Highline Carnival, which involves a tightrope and a bunch of crazy people walking on the rope as high as 100 meters.

Kackar Mountains – Rize

The mountains of the Black Sea have become the subject of many myths, songs and stories. In the rainy and lush landscapes of the Black Sea region, it is a pure delight to discover the natural wonders of northern Anatolia while climbing the summit. The Kaçkarlar Mountains rise in-between the shores of the Black Sea to the north and the Coruh River valley to the south. The Kackar-Kavron summit, at an altitude of 3,932 meters, is the highest point in the range. Extensive glacier and water erosion have given these mountains their craggy, rugged look.

The glaciers of the Kackars are easy to climb in the summer. Moreover, there are various routes to the summit which you can determine according to the level of difficulty.

Ballikayalar Canyon – Kocaeli

With its closeness to Istanbul, the biggest city of Turkey, the Ballikayalar Canyon is situated inside the borders of the city of Kocaeli and is impressive with its ponds, creek and waterfalls. All seasons are suitable to climb, especially March to June and September to November. Camping is also possible if you wish to climb more than one day. Trekkers and hikers are also interested in the region; however, professional climbers call the Ballikayalar Canyon the “mecca” of climbing.

Mount Suphan – Bitlis

The mighty Mount Suphan is the third highest summit in Turkey. With its height of 4,058 meters, Mount Suphan is located north of Lake Van in eastern Anatolia. Since snow falls on the mountain reaches 3 to 4 meters during winter, the experts advise climbers to try for the summit from June to September. The ascent up Mount Suphan is generally made on the eastern face, with a marvelous view of Lake Van, and begins at the village of Aydinlar. Camp is set up at the Sekerpinari or Suphan plateau, 6 to 7 kilometers from the village and up 2,500 meters. It takes eight to 10 hours to climb up to the peak and come back to camp. Moreover, the mountain’s steep slopes and snow that covers those slopes make the mountain a good location for “heli-skiing” which is a type of downhill skiing on remote mountains reached by helicopter.

Source:  Daily Sabah

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