Turkey’s Geotourism Resources

It is very important to determine geotourism resources for understanding the development of geotourism in Turkey. These resources consist of mountainous areas, valleys, national parks, and geoarchaeological parks.

Mountain Areas

Mountain areas are among the most important tourist attractions in the country and cover a significant part of Turkey. The Northern Anatolian Mountains and the Taurus Mountains are two major mountain ranges in the country. During the end of the Tertiary and early Quaternary periods, volcanic eruptions occurred and, as a result, volcanic cones were formed both in Eastern Anatolia as well as in Central and Southeastern Anatolia. Among these volcanic mountains of particular interest are Agri (Ararat), Sfiphan, Erciyes, and Hasandag (Atalay 2002; Table 6.1).

Table 6.1 Examples of important mountains related to geotourism in Turkey

Mountains

Region

Mountain features

Agri (Ararat) (5137 m)

Eastern Anatolia

Mount Agri (Ararat) is a young stratovolcano that formed in the Pliocene. Its 5137-m summit is the highest peak in Turkey. Above the height of 4200 m the mountain mostly consists of rocks covered by an ice sheet (Gdner 2000). The mountain boasts a number of attractions with significant tourism value such as the legend of Noah’s Ark, Cehennem Valley, volcanic features, the Ishak Pasha Palace, and Bayazid Mosque (Akbulut 2013). Mountaineers from all over the world also come to climb the mountain. In order to better preserve these resources, the Agri was declared as National Park in 2004 (Fig. 6.1)

Sdphan (4058 m)

Eastern Anatolia

Mount Sdphan is the second highest volcanic mountain in Turkey with its 4058 m peak and is located in the north of Lake Van. The summit of the mountain has a small glacier at about 3700 m. Additionally, there is a caldera and a lava dome with a diameter of approximately one kilometer (Atalay 1994) and Lake Aygir, which is an explosion maar on the southeastern slope of Mount Sdphan. This mountain has ideal conditions for nature sports such as climbing and trekking

Table 6.1 (continued)

Mountains

Region

Mountain features

Erciyes (3917 m)

Central Anatolia

Mount Erciyes is located near Kayseri city and, at a summit height of 3917 m, is the highest peak in Central Anatolia. Mount Erciyes is a young stratovolcano, with many small volcanic cones (Atalay 2002; Akbulut and GUlUm 2012). The mountain is rich in endemic and relic animal and plant species and is well known for winter sports

Tendurek (3452 m)

Eastern Anatolia

Mount Tendurek (3452 m) is located in East Anatolia and is known as one of the most recently active volcanoes of Turkey (Sur 1994). There are not enough scientific studies about the lithology of the volcano because of security problems. Because it is an active volcano, tourists do not visit here due to safety concerns

Hasandagi (3268 m)

Central Anatolia

Mount Hasan, a stratovolcano, is the second highest mountain in Central Anatolia at 3268 m. The main attractions of the geosite are the parasite cones, lava tunnels, and caldera and feature lava tunnels, which have been used for stone mining (Kopar 2007). Volcanic ash covers the south and the northwest slope of Mt Hasan. There are obsidian and pumice stones in the volcanic ash. Also, due to the volcanic hot springs, a build-up of travertine on the volcanic structure is evident (Sur 1994)

Nemrut Mountain (2935 m) and Caldera

Eastern Anatolia

It has a conservation status and a national park. Among the greatest geological values of Mount Nemrut is the Nemrut Caldera, which is one of the largest and most beautiful calderas of the world. The caldera was formed by the collapse of the peak of volcano (GurbUz 1995). Fumarole activity from several outlets takes place in the caldera, which is approximately 450-500 m deep. The caldera contains lakes, 10 maars, 12 lava domes, 3 lava flows, mineral springs, and trees such as oak and birch communities (GurbUz 1995; Ulusoy et al. 2008; Akbulut 2012)

Uludag (2543 m)

Marmara

Uludag is located south of Bursa city center. This mountain is the highest peak of the Marmara region. Uludag is a national park since 1961 and one of the six sacred mountains known as Olympos in Anatolia (Doganay 2001). The local geology is characterized by intrusive granite rocks. There are also small glacial lakes near the peak (Koksal 1994). Uludag is a winter tourism center of Turkey

Table 6.1 (continued)

Mountains

Region

Mountain features

The North Anatolia Mountain Ranges

Black Sea

These mountain ranges stretch for some 1000 km east-west along the southern coast of the Black Sea. The highest peak in the range is Kagkar Mountain (3937 m). These mountain ranges have been deeply dissected by rivers. The great altitudinal differences between river valleys and the upper part of the mountains, the unique landscapes, and the geomorphological features constitute important tourism attractions (Atalay 1994). Moreover, there are glacial lakes near the peaks of the mountains, which provides another advantage for geotourism. One of the important attractions for geotourism is the North Anatolia Fault, an active strike-slip fault, that runs along the transform boundary between the Anatolian and the Eurasian Plate. This fault causes significant differences of landscape and ecology

The Taurus Mountains

Mediterranean

The Taurus Mountains are part of the Alpine- Himalayan orogenic belt. These mountain ranges extend to Iran from Teke Peninsula alongshore the Mediterranean Sea. The highest peak in the range is Kizilkaya (3767 m). The mountain range is divided into three groups, the West, the Middle, and the Southeastern Taurus. The Southeast Taurus is the highest sedimentary mountain range in Turkey. The Taurus Mountains have a very complex geological structure (Izbirak 1996; Atalay 2002) with older structures pushing on younger structures through tectonic movements. The primary tourism attractions of the Taurus Mountain range are the overthrust fault, karst features (doline, polje) deep canyon valleys, depressions, underground galleries, glacier features, and old mining sites

Fault-block

mountains

Aegean Region

(western

Anatolia)

The fault-block mountains are located in western Anatolia. Grabens are the main courses of rivers such as Bakrnjay, Bdyuk Menderes, Kdijuk Menderes and Gediz. High blocks or horst are Kazdagi, Madra, Yunt, Manisa, Bozdaglar, Aydin, and Mente^e mountains

 
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