Have you been up in the mountains around Fethiye and seen shepherds herding flocks of goats and living in black tents? Did you wonder who those people are?
Yörüks herd their goats or sheep to the mountain plateaus (yaylas) during the heat of the summer, where cooler temperatures mean there are pastures for grazing. They return to the coast when the autumn rains arrive and the pastures grow again.
Although you still see the traditional black goat-hair tents of the truly nomadic Yörüks, the life of many of them is becoming less nomadic in modern Turkey. According to the Turkish Cultural Foundation, records indicate that in the mid-13th century there were 200,000 Yörük tribal families living in tents between Denizli and Izmir alone. Today you will see at most five Yörük tents in any one camp during the winter while in the summer, a trip to the Taurus mountains may reward you with the sight of some twenty or thirty tents in a camp.
Of course, there is much more to the Yörük way of life than herding flocks of sheep or goats…
Click here for more information about the Yörük
Many of the traditions still continue and one way to see, understand and share in these is to go along to the Yörük and Türkmen Festival (Yörük ve Türkmen Şenliği) held annually in the local area.
We’d like to bring you some videos and photographs from this year’s festival that took place over the weekend in Seydikemer so you can see for yourself.
Thank you to Nichola Chapman for sharing her wonderful photographs with us.
To see more of Nichola’s work, please visit Nichola Chapman Photography
Yörük ve Türkmen Şenliği
The Yörük community has preserved many traditional customs. Traditional dress is still worn by the female population while the males, almost exclusively, wear modern clothes.
Music and dance
Wouldn’t you love to hear the stories behind these faces?
Here are a few more photographs…
And finally, on a hot August weekend, Kar Şerbeti all round…
Featured image by Nichola Chapman Photography