Sunday 11th December was International Mountain Day, giving Fethiye Times a perfect opportunity to celebrate the magnificent mountains that embrace Fethiye.
Turkey and IMD
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.
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.
The mountains in and around Fethiye are mostly limestone, a rock that when eroded by the elements creates some remarkable formations, like Saklıkent.
Fethiye’s twin peaks
The two mountains that can be said to dominate Fethiye are Baba Dağı (Father Mountain) at 1,969 and Mendos at 1,150 metres.
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.
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.
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.
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
On the horizon in the direction of Seydikemer, the range known as Akdağ are clearly visible from Fethiye, especially at this time of year.
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.
A wealth of resources
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.