Mountain Turkey. The trail of the ark
The phrase from the song “only mountains can be Better than mountains” in Turkey acquires a special sound, since about 2/3 of the territory of this country is mountainous. Mountains in Turkey are popular among tourists at any time of the year! In summer it is the mountains near the beaches of the Mediterranean coast, and in winter Turkey attracts all fans of winter sports. After all, the snow on the tops of the Turkish mountains is an average of 170 days a year. Tahtali – from the sea to the sky One of the most romantic mountains is mount Olympos, it is also known as Tahtali. Takhtali is located in the vicinity of Kemer – one of the most popular places for recreation and swimming, near the tourist center – Antalya. It is the second highest peak in the area of Olympos – the Merkezi Beydaglari national Park and as the dominant peak in the mountain chain Merkezi Beydaglari regally stands between Antalya and Finike. Many legends surround the mountain. One of them says that the hero Bellerophon, exiled to Lycia, killed his arrow Chimera – a monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a snake – and threw it inside mount Olympos, and since then there 365 days a year flame. Geologists, of course, have their explanations in this regard, but this does not affect the fact of the historical antiquity of the mountain, since it was mentioned by Homer in the “Iliad”. The mountain became even more attractive with the end of the construction of a special funicular-lift, which the Turks call “teleferik”. The impressive ascent of mount Tahtali on the telenovela turns dreams into reality and brings to life the slogan “From the sea to the sky”. Tahtalı cableway uniquely combines two classic holiday: the mountains and the sea. Tahtali, along with its location in an area attractive for tourism, thanks to the newly built cable car becomes a landmark that can not be visited. Teleferik on mount Tahtali is the longest cable car in Europe and the second longest in the world. The duration of the trip is 10 minutes, during which you pass 4350 meters above the rare beauty of the terrain at an altitude of 1639 m(!). So do not miss your chance, the funicular is open every day from 9-00 to 19-00. Ararat – mountain of legends No less attractive for tourists mountain is the biblical Ararat, or “Agra Daga” (“Mountain of suffering”). The name “Ararat” is explained in different ways. Some derive “Ararat” from the name of the ship “Argo”, on which the Argonauts sailed to Colchis; Venetian traveler Marco Polo – from the word “ark”, which in Armenian means “ark”. According to the Bible, the ark of Noah, which escaped from the flood, stuck to the top of mount Ararat, and Noah, coming out of the ark, planted a vine and drank fermented grape juice, thereby initiating winemaking (Genesis 9:20-21). Also, according to legend, at the top of the Small Ararat stargazers-Magi watched the movement of the heavenly bodies. On the night of the Nativity of Christ they saw a prophetic star and went down from the top to Bethlehem. Of course, such an abundance of legends could not but start a kind of pilgrimage to the mountain, which promises not only adventure and some mysticism, but also keeps the trail of the sacred ark, which survived somewhere on top of Ararat. Legends about fantastic monsters created Ararat reputation of the unruly top. A frightening mystical aura, as well as real dangers – snowfalls, thick fogs, rockfalls and sudden sharp changes in temperature – made this mountain impregnable until 1829, when 37-year-old German Professor Johan Jakob von Parrot on the third attempt reached its top. He noted his achievement by installing a wooden cross there. He was followed by others, among them – in 1876 – an English scientist and statesman James Bryce. Looking from the top of the mountain to the valley below, which for centuries had been owned by kings, shahs and sultans, he said: “If indeed man first entered here on earth… it is impossible to imagine a more impressive center of the universe.” Snow cap of mount Ararat and now attracts climbers from all over the world. There are not so many mountains, from the height of which you can see three countries at the same time – Turkey, Iran and Armenia. If you want to touch the mysterious Ararat, you can do it from August to September – in the most favorable months for climbing, because the snow lies only on the last 400 meters. Zigana and the monastery in the mountain a Kind of center of attraction of pilgrims from around the world (just note: both Muslims and Christians) was mount Zigana, on top of which is the monastery of Panagia Sumela. This unique monastery is carved right in the mountains and is located at an altitude of 300 meters above sea level. According to legend, the mountain monastery of the blessed virgin Panagia Was founded in 386. monks Barnabas and Sophronius, who came from Athens with the miraculous image of the virgin, written by the Evangelist Luke. In the following centuries the monastery grew, emperors and local rulers patronized it and donated Holy relics, and its library was replenished with rare books and documents. The monastery in its present form refers to the XIV century., the heyday of the Trapezund Empire. Then the walls were erected to protect against raids, built many rooms, a library and several small churches around the monastery dedicated to various saints. The monastery became the center of Orthodoxy in Pontus and remained so after the fall of the Empire, in the Ottoman period. The Ottoman rulers not only did not abolish the monastery, but also granted privileges to the monks of Sumela, as well as themselves made pilgrimages to the mountain! Therefore, the 18-19 centuries became the second birth for the monastery. For fans of not only mountains, but also history: in the territory of Sumela there are unique frescoes which a little don’t correspond to canonical and therefore are of interest. The Ottoman rule also left its mark on the inner appearance of Sumela: here intertwined Orthodoxy and Oriental refined style. The climb to the mountain takes about half an hour, now you can drive there even by car, but our ancestors-pilgrims climbed the mountain and walked the entire distance on their knees. The monastery is located near the village of Matsuka (the current Turkish name – Macha) and stands in the middle of the forest on the slope of mount Melas, at an altitude of about 300 meters. The road from Trebizond to Matsuki is 31 km from Matsuki to the foot of the mountain is 15 km away. You can get there in different ways, but it is easier to go directly by bus from Trapezund to Sumela. There are also regular buses from the final stop which can be reached further by taxi or catch on the road all the same dolmus “Trapezund – Managed”.