Camlihemsin-Ayder

Overview

Introduction

The town of Camlihemsin, Turkey, 260 mi/420 km northeast of Ankara, is the last outpost before the dramatic Kackar Mountains, a wild range beloved by Turkish trekkers and mountaineers and increasingly popular with outdoor tourists from all over the world.

The region is distinctive in dialect and dress: Settlers are thought to have come from ancient Georgian tribes. Men drink heavily and play the bagpipes. Women seem fiercely independent and wear beautiful silk headdresses unlike anything else in Turkey.

Ayder, a tiny village surrounded by waterfalls 11 mi/17 km above Camlihemsin, is the last place you'll find pensions—and very basic ones at that. There is also an extremely hot thermal bath there that's popular with Turks.

Nearby Senyuva, nestled in a green valley, is also good for hikes. Serious climbers use Ayder as their base for treks into the mountain pastures and peaks, but be warned: A number of rapes have taken place in the forest. Go with a local guide.

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