Sunday 11th December was International Mountain Day, giving Fethiye Times a perfect opportunity to celebrate the magnificent mountains that embrace Fethiye.

Turkey and IMD

sailing with Babadağ in the background
sailing with Babadağ in the background

The Turkish Mountaineering Federation (TMF) celebrated IMD on 11 December by cleaning up the environment and providing support for the protection of mountains and sustainable mountain climbing.

Although Fethiye is usually described as a seaside resort, it has a backdrop of many spectacular mountains. These are just as important, if not more so, than the beaches, as not only are they incredibly beautiful, it is because of the mountains that the coastline is so dramatic and the sailing is so good. They are also an important part of Fethiye’s nature, culture and history – and great for walking, paragliding and exploring.

A mountainous world

First of all, here is a bit about mountains in general… For example, when does a hill become a mountain?

The UN Environmental Programme says a mountainous environment includes any of the following:

  • Elevation of at least 2,500m (8,200ft)
  • Elevation of at least 1,500m (4,900ft) with a slope greater than 2 degrees
  • Elevation of at least 1,000m (3,300ft) with a slope greater than 5 degrees
  • Elevation of at least 300m (980ft) with a 300 m (980ft) elevation range within 7km

Using these definitions, mountains cover 33% of Eurasia, 19% of South America, 24% of North America, and 14% of Africa. As a whole, 24% of the Earth’s land mass is mountainous.

Anatolia’s Mountains

Anyone who has flown over or driven through Turkey will know that it is a remarkable and mountainous country. Indeed, half of the landmass is higher than 1,000 meters and two thirds higher than 800 meters. Mountain ranges extend in an east-west direction parallel to the north and south coasts, and these are an important factor in determining ecological, climactic and meteorological conditions.

Turkey’s highest point is Mt. Ararat, which peaks at 5,166m (16,948 ft).

Here is a list of Turkey’s most prominent mountains.

Muğla’s mountains

Muğla highlands
Muğla highlands

The mountains in and around Fethiye are mostly limestone, a rock that when eroded by the elements creates some remarkable formations, like Saklıkent.

Saklıkent gorge
Saklıkent gorge

Fethiye’s twin peaks

Mendos (left) Babadağı (right)
In the background: Mendos (left) Babadağı (right)

The two mountains that can be said to dominate Fethiye are Baba Dağı (Father Mountain) at 1,969 and Mendos at 1,150 metres.

Babadağ in the background Karatepe in the foreground
Babadağ in the background Karatepe in the foreground

Actually, the second highest mountain is behind Babadağ. At 1,400 metres Karatepe can be seen from Ölüdeniz, just about. It is a mountain, even though its name is Black Hill.

Babadağı from Gemiler in the summer
Babadağı and Karatepe from Gemiler in the summer

The altitude of these mountains and their proximity to the warm waters of the Mediterranean make them a unique ecosystem, with an incredibly rich biodiversity, including many endemic plant species.

Looking towards Kabak
Looking towards Kabak and Yedi Burnular

Babdağ and Karatepe from a sort of truncated range, reaching all the way to Kabak and Yedi Buunlar, where the dark blue waters are as deep as the mountains are high.

Üzümlü and upwards...
Üzümlü mountains – Geyran Dağı… and Çal Dağı in the distance

When driving out of Fethiye to Üzümlü there are yet more mountains, including Çal Dağı, Geyran Dagı and Eren Dağı. This area are well known for their mushrooms at certain times of the year.

Fethiye’s highland pastures

Çal Dağı from Fethiye
Çal Dağı from Fethiye

On the horizon in the direction of Seydikemer, the range known as Akdağ are clearly visible from Fethiye, especially at this time of year.

Akdağı from Fethiye
Akdağı from Fethiye

The road to Antalya cross these mountains and high plateaux, cold and snowy at this time of year, are fresh, green highland pastures during the summer months, and although few and far between these days, still the summer home for the region’s transhumance yörük population.

Yörük in highland pastures
Yörük in highland pastures                                                                                                           Seyran Sucu


Muğla Yörük Akdağı Faruk Akbaş
Muğla Yörük Akdağı                                                                                                                                Faruk Akbaş

A wealth of resources

Akdağı from Günlükbaşı
Snow capped mountains – Akdağı from Günlükbaşı

All these mountains also play a crucial role in providing Fethiye will its crystal clear water supply and cooling summer breezes. The Boncuk and Binlik tape (ok, they’re hills) also contain a wealth of minerals.

When you visit Fethiye, be sure to visit these beautiful, majestic mountains. As well as being beautiful they play such an important role in the daily life of Fethiye, at any time of year.

From babadağı
From babadağı looking towards Darbğaz and the Gulf of Fethiye