There are many stunning mountains in Turkey, many of which have fascinating histories. Turkey occupies a peninsula between the European and Asian continents. Due to its unique position as a land bridge between two continents, it has a lot of mountains but it is surrounded by water on three sides. The mountains in Turkey are home to some great legends, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and according to some religious scholars, Noah’s Ark may be buried in a mountain in Turkey. There’s a lot of interesting and unique things to learn about the mountains in Turkey.
10 Mountains In Turkey
There are 17 different mountain ranges in Turkey. Most are sub-ranges of the Alpine-Himalayan mountain chain that extends through the European continent. Some of the mountains in Turkey extend from the Asian side of the peninsula. Some of the most interesting mountains in Turkey are:
Located in: Iğdır and Ağrı provinces
Height: 16, 854 feet
Nearby City: Doğubayazıt
Known For: Mount Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcano lying very close the Turkish border with Iran. No one successfully managed to scale the mountain until the 1800s because of rough terrain. Mount Ararat is most famous for being the place where some believe Noah’s Ark came to rest after the Great Flood in the Old Testament of the Bible. There isn’t evidence of a giant ship on the mountain’s peak but there are a few explorers who claim they saw remains of a ship on the mountain’s summit.
Despite the controversy of Mount Ararat in Turkey, many love this ancient site for its beauty, history and potential connection to the Biblical flood. Today, it’s a relatively accessible mountain to climb as long as you have some experience with snow and ice. The peak is always snowy and ice-covered. There are hiking guides that will take you to the summit safely.
Located in: Agri Province
Height: 12,877 feet
Nearby City: Doğubayazıt
Known For: Kucuk Agri or “Little Ararat” is a small peak attached to the massive Mount Ararat. Little Ararat is a volcano that is almost a perfect cone shape, making it stand out on the Serdarbulak lava plateau that connects to Mount Ararat. Even though it’s “little” Ararat, it does have an elevation of more than 6,000 feet.
All hikes on Mount Ararat, including Little Ararat, require the use of a Turkish guide or guide company but you can hike both peaks in one trek if you want to take on the challenge of climbing both. The hike up Little Ararat can be a good warmup for hiking up the huge Mount Ararat.
Located in: Kayseri Province
Height: 12,851 feet
Nearby City: Kayseri
Known For: Mount Erciyes is one of the best mountains in Turkey for skiing. In fact, it’s one of the most popular skiing destinations for Europeans who are looking for an affordable ski holiday. Mount Erciyes is a dormant volcano, like many of the mountains in Turkey, and it’s got a thick layer of snow and ice for most of the year. There is a world-class ski resort on Mount Erciyes where people who love winter can ski, snowboard, and snowmobile.
During the brief summer Mount Erciyes is popular with mountain climbers who flock to this mount in Turkey because it’s a relatively easy climb for mountain climbers who need to practice their climbing silks. One interesting fact about Mount Erciyes is that it was a major part of the ancient Silk Road and it’s pictures on many different types of coins from ancient civilizations that used the Silk Road to transport goods.
Located in: Bitlis Province
Height: 13,331 feet
Nearby City: Adilcevaz
Known For: Mount Suphan is also a inactive volcano, like many of the mountains in Turkey. But if you hike to the top of Mount Suphan you’ll get stunning views of Lake Van, which is not far away. This is a great mountain for beginner mountain climbers because the ascent is easy even though it does have a high elevation. You are able to practice climbing to a high elevation without having to worry about snow or ice hiking. Snow does fall on this mountain in the winter but there’s usually not more than a few feet.
Unlike many of the other mountains in Turkey this mountain does not have a glacial cap so it’s not snow covered all the time. But if you are going to climb Mount Suphan make sure that you take plenty of water with you because without a glacial cap there are not a lot of water sources on the mountain.
Located in: Adiyaman Province
Height: 7,001 feet
Nearby City: Adiyaman
Known For: Mount Nemrut is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Turkey. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the top of Mount Nemrut is the ancient funerary mound of King Antiochus I of the Kingdom of Commagene. The summit contains intricate stone carvings and funerary terraces with elaborate paths, statuary, and artifacts. The actual 50 foot burial mound sits on the very peak of the summit.
The statues and carvings on Mount Nemrut are a collection of lions, eagles, and Greek and Iranian gods. There are guides that will take visitors up the long hill to the summit and talk about the history of the site and the mountain. The best times to visit the site are either at sunrise or sunset. Supposedly seeing the site in the light of the setting sun is an forgettable experience. But because of this expect to deal with big crowds if you want to experience the site at sun set. The ascent is gentle but it is a long walk. However, there are places to sit and rest along the way. Bring plenty of water and some snacks with you if you’re going to climb up to the summit of Mount Nemrut.
Located in: Manisa Province
Height: 4, 964 feet
Nearby City: Manisa
Known For: This mountain, also known as Mount Spil, is prominent in ancient lore and it is one of the most recognizable mounts in Turkey. It sits overlooking an ancient road that travels between Izmir and Manisa, the closest city to the mountain.
There is a carving of a goddess on the face of the mountain this is supposed be from the second millennium B.C.E. The carving is known as the Manisa Relief and it’s mentioned several times by ancient writers and historians. Ancient Roman writer Pliny the Elder named Sisyphus as the site of Tantalus, which was a thriving ancient city long before the Common Era began. According to Greek mythology Sisyphus was also the birthplace of the god Zeus.
There is a national park surrounding Mount Sisyphus but the park and the mountain sit right out of Manisa so you can access the park and the mountain by car or by public transportation. If you want to hike in the park or try to scale the mountain take a guide with you so that you can learn more about the amazing history of the most interesting mountain in Turkey.
Located in: Aksaray Province
Height: 10,721 feet
Nearby City: Aksaray
Known For: This mountain is a volcano known for having a double peak at the summit. Even though it’s not a very active volcano now this volcano has been active for more than 13 million years. There are depictions of eruptions in ancient writings and carvings. It also is known for having a lot of volcanic rock and several different calderas that were formed by the collapse of previous calderas during eruptions in the past.
The mountain sits in the middle of a large plain, and there are settlements and cities quite close to it. There are also some seasonal dwellings on the mountain itself where some people use the mountain as a pasture for their animals in the summer. You can hike to the summit for some stunning views of the plains below and to see some really interesting ancient volcanic rock deposits. But you should know it’s about a six hour walk to the summit and if you’re not used to climbing to a high elevation it could take longer. It’s worth the trek though.
Located in: Balikesir Province
Height: 19,094 feet
Nearby City: Altinoluk
Known For: The mountains in Turkey are steeps in ancient history and they play a major role in history, myth, and legend. Like Mount Ida, which is near the ruins of the ancient city of Troy. Yes, that Troy, where the kidnapping of the beautiful Helen launched the Trojan War. Greek mythology and local folklore say that the Greek gods themselves watched the Trojan War play out from the top of Mount Ida. If you’re visiting Turkey a visit to Mount Ida is an absolute must so that you can walk the same paths that legend says the Greek gods walked.
Besides hiking up one of the most legendary mountains in Turkey you can also explore the area on foot or on horseback. You can take a tour through the ruins of Troy or find a local guide who will show you the most historical spots and give you lots of great information on the rich history of the area that goes back to the very beginning of civilization.
Located in: Mugla Province
Height: 6,459 feet
Nearby City: Fethiye
Known For: Babadag is one of the most beautiful mountains in Turkey. It doesn’t have an extremely high elevation but the ascent is steep because this mountain rises pretty much directly from the sea and goes straight up. Like so many other mountains in Turkey Babadag is steeped in history. You can follow an ancient Lycian road to the summit past some of the rarest orchids in the world and ancient cedar forests that have been there for many thousands of years.
Babadag sit offshore so you will need to take a boat to get there. At the end of the beach there are stairs carved in the side of the mountain. You can climb those stairs to reach the old Lycian road to the summit. Babadag is one of the premier paragliding sites in the world. So, you may find lots of company when you go and you will get to see some stunning paragliding as well as the incredible views from the summit.
Located in: Antalya Province
Height: 7,762 feet
Nearby City: Kemer
Known For: Mount Tahtali or Tahtali Dagi is supposedly the ancient Mount Olympus from mythology. The home of the gods lies near the sea and has a stunning snow capped peak in the clouds. From the summit you can get breathtaking views of the blue sea and coastline. You can also see the ruins of ancient cities that lie near the base of the mountain.
One of the unique features of Tahtali is that there is an aerial tram that will give you the chance to see the entire area by air. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those scared of heights! But, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. If you are not up to the climb up Mount Tahtali don’t worry. The base of the cablecar station is accessible by road. And there are taxis and shuttles that will take visitors to the entrance of the cable car ride.
10 Tallest Mountains In Turkey
- Mount Ararat
- Cilo Dagi
- Suphan Dagi
- Kackar Dagi
- Erciyes Dagi
- Little Ararat
- Samdi Dag
- Mor Dagi
Highest Point In Turkey
Mount Ararat -16,854 feet
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Muhur
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