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EXPLORING THE KAPIORMAN MOUNTAIN
2001 /JANUARY

The Kapiorman Mountains are the western arm of the Koroglu Mountains and lie just to the southeast of Adapazari in western Turkey. This is an area of great natural beauty, with fertile soil, imposing mountain peaks, emerald green alpine meadows and extensive forests. Since the area is ideal for both agriculture and animal husbandry it has been widely settled throughout history, and moreover its position on the stretch of the Silk Road between Baghdad and Bursa meant that it was well travelled. Hence there are numerous Ottoman buildings and some dating from Byzantine times to be seen in the towns and villages of the region.

Approaching the Kapiorman Mountains from the west, you can make your first stop at the picturesque Ottoman town of Ali Fuat Pasa on the Sakarya River. After looking around the dervish lodge of Orhan Gazi built in the 14th century, you can visit the tea garden on the river bank, from which you can see the 14-arched stone bridge dating from the Ottoman period ...

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EXPLORING THE KAPIORMAN MOUNTAIN
2001 /JANUARY
used by the merchants of the Silk Road over the centuries, and further to the north the ruins of a Roman period bridge.

The Ottoman bridge, known as the Sultan Bayezid II Bridge, was built in 1495-1496 and is still in use. Once over the bridge you are in the Kapiorman foothills, and the road rises steadily. In the distance peaks and rocky crags come into sight, and after about 30 km you come to the Kazkiran Pass at 800 metres. From here the road leads to Tarakli, a former Byzantine garrison town and a main halting place on the Silk Road during Ottoman times. This picturesque town has many traditional Turkish houses which are now under first grade conservation order. As you walk through the narrow stone streets, you can imagine yourself back in the past.
To penetrate the highest part of the range, however, you must make a detour to the north after the pass, turning off onto the roads leading to the villages of either Dogancil or Tuzla.
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EXPLORING THE KAPIORMAN MOUNTAIN
2001 / JANUARY

Here you can leave your car and enjoy trekking through the wild unspoilt scenery. After walking across meadows and through forests of beech and black pine, you come to the foot of a high hill known as Bakacak covered with fern and with rocky outcrops. If you climb the steep path up to the summit of Bakacak, you are rewarded with a breathtaking view over the mountains stretching in every direction: to Adapazari to the north, Geyve to the west, Tarakli to the south and Goynuk to the east.

Beyond Tarakli, 29 kilometres to the east is the town of Goynuk. As soon as you enter you will be struck by the vista of this lovely old town rising on the hills above the Goynuk River, with its well preserved wooden houses and other Ottoman period buildings. In the hilly environs of the town are several lakes. In particular Cubuk Lake near the village of Cubukkoy north of the town is worth visiting. The lake is home to many species of fish.

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EXPLORING THE KAPIORMAN MOUNTAIN
2001 / JANUARY

If you hike from here in a northeasterly direction, heading for the high peaks, an hour later you arrive at the mountain pastures at 1200 metres, from which there is a marvellous view of the lake spread beneath your feet.
This is a perfect place for a picnic, and if you have time and energy, you can walk on for three hours across the mountains through flower filled meadows to the vantage point where Suluklu Lake is visible to the north. As you cross from south the north the sudden change in climate and vegetation is striking. The northern slopes of the mountains have a damper climate and are forested with a great diversity of deciduous trees up to a height of one thousand metres, and above that mainly by fir trees and pines. Suluklu is the loveliest of all the lakes in this area, which is a wildlife sanctuary. The lake lies in a hollow amidst hills wooded with ash, hornbeam, boxwood, beech and other deciduous trees at the lower level, and above them black pines, firs and other needle-leafed trees.

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EXPLORING THE KAPIORMAN MOUNTAIN
2001 / JANUARY

As you descend to the lake, which takes the colour of the greenery around it, you notice an entrancing scent filling the air. This is the scent of the boxwood tree blossom. Boxwood is a fine-grained hard wood used to make the best quality wooden spoons. This and other forest products are the main source of income for local villages and towns. The Mudurnu River, which flows amidst Oriental planes, marks the northern boundary of the Kapiorman Mountains. The northern part of the mountains are delightful to explore. In this area settlement is much sparser than in the south, consisting of forest villages of wooden houses lying on the valley edges. The people here, who make a meagre living from forest products and animal husbandry, will delight you with their friendliness and hospitality towards chance visitors. When you leave, your memories of the beautiful scenery will be mingled with affection for the people who live here.

* Ali Ihsan Gokcen is a photographer

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