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Kackar Mountain Range

Black Sea Region

Turkey’s lush, humid and ubiquitously green Black Sea Coast surprises those who imagine the country to be nothing but barren steppes.

From Turkey European border with Bulgaria to the Georgian border, dense pine forests cover the mountaintops; lush vegetation and bountiful crops grow in the lower elevations and valleys. In the springtime, delicate wild-flower blossoms carpet especially the rolling meadows in the hills of the Eastern Black Sea Coast. Throughout the region, fishing villages and mountain hamlets alike preserve their indigenous and traditional wooden architectural styles. The humid climate and fertile soil encourage the cultivation of a variety of produce, including tea, tobacco, corn and hazelnuts.

The whole of the Kackar Range constitutes the beautiful Kackar Daglari National Park. In the mountains south of Rize, Anzer village offers the world- famous and nutritious Anzer honey and is a nice area for hiking and for its botany. Ikizdere Canyon, between Anzer and Ikizdere Plateaus, is a great spot for hang- gliding. At the same time, you get a bird's- eye view of the area. Near Rize, the towns of Cayeli, Pazar, Ardesen, Of (town) and Findikli all enjoy a subtropical climate, lush green settings and boast traditional chalets. The Camburnu coast is covered with golden pine trees where many species of migrating birds stop, and it is a lovely area for resting and picture taking.

About the Region: This regions province offers those looking for adventure and sport a wide variety of activities. White-water rafting, hunting and rock climbing are among the recreational possibilities in this northeast corner of Turkey.

Every year during the third week of June, tourists from all over the world as well as the local inhabitants congregate at the Kafkasör festival to watch bullfights, folkloric performances and traditional wrestling competitions. Crowds of brightly clad yayla resides thrill to watch pairs of bulls battle each other in a show of strength.

At an elevation of 3200 m is Yaylalar Village. A narrow, winding nine-kilometer (six mile) walk takes you to a wide expanse of meadows and forests high in the Kaçkar Mountains. Those wishing to climb to the summit of Kaçkar Mountain can replenish their supplies at the Yaylalar village and hire mules to go up to the 3,328 meter high Dilber Düzü. Many wild animals such as lynx, bear, ibex, wolf, fox and jackal can be seen in the region.

About The Mountain

A truly alpine mountain range, with glaciated valleys filled with gushing rivers and streams, high meadows, beautiful lakes, glaciers and snow choked summits. Despite their apparent remoteness, the Kackar have long been inhabited by man, and traces of Armenian, Georgian and Greek civilizations can all be found in or around the region.

What Grows?

Most of Turkey’s tea comes from the plantations on the lower, Black Sea facing slopes. Higher up on this side chestnut, hornbeam, beech and other deciduous trees grow, giving way to pine, until the alpine zone is reached at 2,100m. Alpine flowers grow in abundance in the spring and summer. The blossoms of the widespread Pontic azalea are a riot of color in spring, but the honey made from bees feeding on it is said to have hallucinogenic qualities! Bird watchers are drawn to the area in the hope of seeing the rare Caspian snow cock.

Ethnically & Historically Diverse

Way of life as elsewhere in upland Turkey, spring sees the annual movement of local families to the high pastures, or plateau. Flocks of sheep, goats and cows graze the lush grass, and the milk from the animals is turned into butter, cheese and yoghurt. Whereas the Yörük (Nomad) people of southern Turkey erect tents of black goat hair at the plateau, the Kackar locals build wood or stone houses, a response to the colder, wetter weather of Black Sea Turkey.

Descendants of Armenians, Georgians and even Pontic Greeks are still said to inhabit these mountains, but to the casual visitor they are indistinguishable from the general population. More easily recognizable are the Hemsin people, whose womenfolk wear distinctive black and gold headscarves, and can be seen driving their flocks up the highland paths in spring, often spinning wool on a hand-held spindle as they go.

Flora

The Kackar Mountains are one of the 200 ecological sites under preservation with its breathtaking beauty and cultural traits. They are the most important stretch of the Alp-Himalayan formation in Anatolia. The mountains stand at 40 km’s inland and reach nearly 4000 meters of height). The humid and mild climate on the north of the mountains determines the flora there. They have created a unique ecosystem in the region. This region is also rich with its flora. As it is a migratory route for predatory birds, it has become a natural habitat for a variety of them. In addition, it inhabits mammals such as bear, jackal, fox, lynx, wildcat, mountain goat, roe, marten, and sable. There are also rare species of birds such as birch, Caucasian mountain-rooster, mountain partridge, bearded vulture, and snake- eagle. Their presence increases the importance of this region. It also has rich flora with 2,500 varieties of plants and flowers. 300 of them are found exclusively in Turkey and 160 of them grow only on the Kackar Mountains. The old forests of the Eastern Black sea Mountains are the only mild climate rain and boreal forests in Turkey, and are unique with their biological diversity.

Unique House Styles

On the seaward side of the mountains, the traditional houses are either constructed of wood with a masonry fireplace and chimney, or else of a timber frame with an infilling of brick or stone, whereas on the plateau houses are either of mud brick of stone, with wooden beams used only to support a flat mud roof.