LOADING...

























IN THE FOOTHILLS OF KOCADAG
2002 / MARCH

Travelling north from the town of Ýzmit towards the Black Sea, a great mountain rises in the distance, its mysteries concealed behind cloudy peaks, deep echoing gorges, and thick wild forests. The ancient and almost forgotten road from Ýzmit to Istanbul's eastern district of Üsküdar leads to Kocadað, winding its way through pine and oak forest. In the mountaindý foothills lie many secret gardens awaiting discovery. This was the road used for centuries by caravans carrying goods from Asia into Europe, and by armies on campaigns of conquest. From Istanbul it passes Ömerli Dam and the village of Molla Fenari near Gebze, before reaching Ýzmit. In each season Kocadað casts a different coloured shadow over this old road as it wends its way through the green depths of the forest. The mountain extends from Sevindikli to the coastal town of Aðva, and in its foothills nestle villages and towns which have been here for long centuries. First among those which visitors should not miss is the village of Kutluca, which combines scenic beauty with ruins dating from Roman, Genoese and Byzantine times.

PAGE 1/5


























IN THE FOOTHILLS OF KOCADAG
2002 / MARCH

Carved inscriptions describing the accession of the Emperor Antonious and statues discovered in fields on the villagsr outskirts are now exhibited in Ýzmit Museum. Tumuli in the nearby woods and village cemetery, picturesque old cottages and a cheese factory, and an old stone bridge thought to have been built by the Genoese can be seen here.
The Kocadere River flows beneath this bridge and on through a valley thickly wooded with evergreen boxwood trees, whose fine-grained hard timber is carved into spoons by local people. As the river advances towards the sea at Aðva it flows ever more rapidly, swollen by streams rising high on the mountain. Exploring the green unspoilt course of this river, whose water is as clear as an aquarium and home to numerous fish, is a delightful way to spend the day.

PAGE 2/5


























IN THE FOOTHILLS OF KOCADAG
2002 / MARCH
If you continue on from Kutluca towards Kocadað, you come first to the village of Býçakçýlar, whose inhabitants are of Yörük nomad descent, and then to Çalköy. Beyond these villages the forest becomes ever more impenetrable. Nestling deep in the forest above Çalköy is the mineral spring of Dümbüldek, whose waters are beneficial for those with stomach complaints. Nearby the spring is a restaurant. The jungle-like forest in this area consists of huge beeches, chestnuts and lindens, through which are beautiful walks for the energetic and agile. Roe deer are numerous in the forest of Kocadað, and local shepherds say that they never hunt these animals because of the affectionate way they gaze with their beautiful eyes at the human beings they encounter. There are still places on Kocadað where people never set foot, and so wildlife abounds here, including wild boar, jackals, hares and bears.
PAGE 3/5


























IN THE FOOTHILLS OF KOCADAG
2002 / MARCH

If you follow the course of streams heading for Aðva, you come to confluences where two streams meet, and the most scenic of such points is that between the villages of Dikenli and Tepemanayýr. As their water volume increases the streams begin to shape the landscape, carving out marble blocks and hills with the skill of a sculptor. Walking along this valley, following ancient paths, you come to the village of Hacýlar, where you can buy local charcoal and eggs. Just downhill from the village is Kemikli Cave and Sarpdere Falls.
A small stream runs through the cave, which boasts both stalagmites and stalactites. It is known only to local people and a few dedicated cavers, for whom unexplored caves are an irresistible challenge. The Sarpdere River and its waterfall are stunningly photogenic, and the sight will remain impressed on your memory for a long time to come.

PAGE 4/5


























IN THE FOOTHILLS OF KOCADAG
2002 / MARCH

With its valleys, forests, waterfalls and secret gardens, Kocadað is a natural wonderland. As spring approaches, this is the time to explore the beauties of this mountain, pursuing a madcap bee intoxicated by the return of flowers and scented breezes.

* Emrah Özkok is a photographer

PAGE 5/5
Previous Next
























Previous Next