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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH
Skiing began in Turkey with the military, as did so many other innovations. During the First World War skiing was introduced on the eastern front, when its usefulness in the deep winter snow became apparent. The first skis were made at a carpentry shop on the Golden Horn at the end of 1914 and sent to Erzurum, from where they were carried by mules to military detachments in the mountains.

In February 1915 Austrian officers arrived to give skiing courses. Major Victor Pitschmann and a team of three captains began by training five young Turkish reserve officers: Kemal, Ahmet, Hasib, Cevat (Dursunoglu) and architect Arif Hikmet (Koyunoglu). They in turn trained a battalion in the Palandöken mountains, as described by Cem Atabeyoglu in his Encyclopaedia of the History of Turkish Sport, and this battalion was sent to the front in Caucasia.
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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH

Ahmet Bahtiyar Esben, meanwhile, in an article in the Monthly Encyclopaedia, speaks of another skiing platoon on the Caucasian front trained by two members of Galatasaray Sports Club, the brothers Ahmet and Abdurrahman Robenson, who were also reserve officers. But when the war was over and the Turkish Republic established, skiing fell into abeyance until its revival by Bursa Mountaineering Club established in 1933.
The mountain which towers over the city of Bursa is the ancient Bythinian Olympos, which was known as Kesisdag (Monks Mountain) in Ottoman times and renamed Uludag (the Great Mountain) in 1925 at the suggestion of Istanbul and Bursa Geography Boards. Construction of a road up to the summit of Uludag had commenced in 1904 but remained unfinished two-thirds of the way. After the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923 the last section of the road was completed. The first hotel of Uludag was built at a time when winter sports were still an unknown concept by Fatin Güvendiren, former governor of Bursa and later to become member of parliament for the same city.

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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH
The idea of turning the mountain into a ski resort soon followed, however. With the assistance of the Republican People's Party Bursa branch, Bursa Mountaineering Club built skiing hotel with 110 beds on the mountain at an altitude of 2000 metres.

The establishment of the Tennis Fencing and Mountaineering Club in Istanbul was also connected with Uludag. Sedat Taylan described this in the Monthly Encyclopaedia: 'Early in 1933 a group of young people from Istanbul, including a couple of French teachers from Galatasaray School, went on a skiing expedition to Uludag for the first time. Their enthusiastic account of the trip inspired another group, including Muhittin Üstündag, Vedat Abud and Ekrem Karay, who during their stay at Uludag Hotel decided to form a club. They founded the Mountaineering Club on their return to Istanbul.'The attractions of Uludag began to appear in the press.
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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH

Musa Atas, Bursa correspondent of Yedigün magazine, wrote a series of articles about Uludag which were published in March 1934 and aroused great interest. In these articles Atas described his climb to the summit with the members of Bursa Mountain Sports Club.

The enthusiastic response of readers prompted Yedigün magazine to send the well known reporter Naci Sadullah to Uludag, and his series of articles lavishly illustrated with photographs entitled 'From Istanbul to Uludag' was equally well received.

Naci Sadullah began by describing how he and press photographer Herr Kravze were met at the ferryboat terminal in Istanbul by Tevfik Halis Bey, director of Bursa Touring Club, at the request of Bursa municipality. Tevfik Halis Bey was the father of Keriman Halis, who was selected Miss World in 1931, and this explains why photographs of Keriman Halis in skiing costume on Uludag later appeared in the press.

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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH

While the three men waited for the ferryboat to Yalova, they noticed another group on the pier with skis on their shoulders, ski poles, rucksacks on their backs, and wearing plusfours, thick socks and heavy walking shoes. Among them Naci Sadullah saw some familiar faces, one of whom was governor of Istanbul Muhittin Üstündag. Üstündag and his family had started to spend most of his free time on Uludag.

When the passengers disembarked at Yalova there was a scramble for the buses, which were not sufficient for everyone. Those who did find places had to face a bumpy journey over bad roads to Bursa. Our reporter spent the next day resting after this tiring journey, and at 8 o'clock the following morning caught the small motor bus outside the Republican People's Party building to Uludag.

As well as the photographer and Tevfik Halis, he was accompanied by several members of Bursa Touring Club and ski instructor Herr Riedel.

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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH

For the first two hours the road wound past 'rippling streams, hornbeams, poppies, oak coppices, and green pines', but beyond that the ground was covered by thick snow. At last they arrived at their destination, Karabelen Ski Chalet, where they donned their skis, applied sun cream to their faces, and set out led by their instructor. The twelve and a half kilometres climb took three hours. They skied back and arrived exhausted. 'After a meal of soup, eggs and delicious stewed fruit, we lit our cigarettes,' said Naci Sadullah.
They all drank deeply of the ice cold Uludag spring water, said to have therapeutic qualities. Sadullah went on to describe the skiers: 'The bodies of all were as burnt as if they had lain beneath the blazing sun for months... Young girls on paraffin oiled skis glided down the slopes, their hair flying out. Seen like that, in those clothes, and with their natural demeanor, they were far more charming than when dancing the waltz in low necked evening dresses at balls.' We also learn from this article that all the skiers had coined the greeting 'good skiing' instead of 'good day' or 'good morning'.

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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
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In the second half of the 1930s the Uludag fashion was taken up by all the press. On 25 February 1935 the weekly magazine Büyük Gazete featured 'Skiers on Uludag' as its cover story, which was written by 'Jale Taylan, a ninth grader at the German High School'. Apart from the fact that she had visited Uludag at New Year, her adventures were much the same as those of Naci Sadullah.

Meanwhile Musa Atas, Bursa correspondent of Yedigün magazine, was continuing to report on the subject. On holidays, he explained 'the hotels and Uludag resemble the League of Nations. By day the hotels are as empty and silent as dried-up river beds, because all their guests are out in the hills and mountains, but in the evenings when they gather back here they never tire of telling one another about the dangers they faced that day and the pains they suffered after falling. The medley of a thousand and one languages and comical gestures used by those who do not speak the same language is a sight to behold.'

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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH

In 1939 the monthly Foto Magazin summed up developments as follows: 'In our country interest in the sport of skiing is rising day by day. This pursuit, which just five or six years ago was limited to a handful of afficionados on Uludag, has today become a sport which has swept the entire country.

Skiing has become the most important sporting activity, and a federation has been established to organise and encourage the development of winter sports. From its beginnings at Uludag skiing is quickly spreading to other regions where conditions are suited to this sport. Uludag has become the most important centre of the sport. On public holidays and at new year Uludag experiences its most enjoyable and cheerful moments.'

Turkish skiers participated in the 1936 Winter Olympics. The team was made up of students from the Institute of Agriculture trained by ski instructor Herr Riedel (presumably the same Herr Riedel who had accompanied Naci Sadullah).

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ON THE PARAFFIN OILED SKIES
2000 / MARCH

The day they arrived in Munich, the team informed reporters that they had come 'not to win but to learn', and despite coming last were selected as the team 'worthiest of the Olympic ideal'. As skiing flourished, other ski resorts made their appearance, the best known being Dikmen, Elmadag and Ayasbeli established by Ankara Mountaineering Club.

The military magazine published in Egypt by the British under the title Cephe (The Front) in Turkish and Vanguard in French was particularly interested in this subject and published news items about various different ski resorts. Çagsak Tepe in Iskenderun featured in the January issue in 1946 and Mount Erciyes in April the same year. The articles were illustrated with photographs.

Nationwide interest in Uludag and other Turkish ski resorts led to the steady growth of winter sports, and to the emergence of winter tourism as a major branch of the tourism sector.

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