Peak Performance

Turkey’s Kaçkar Mountains, a daunting extension of the Caucasus high above the Black Sea, are only for the intrepid. Ali Özgü Caneri and Kate Clow took advantage of the short trekking season to scale two of the saw-edged summits. Photographs by Kate Clow.

  • The stone bridge at Davalı Yaylası

The Kaçkars are the wettest mountains in Turkey, except for a brief three summer months when they bloom, green and lush, under a summer sky. The last winter snow melts into gushing streams, grass and flowers stretch upwards to the sun, and blossoms and butterflies sparkle with vivid colour. And the people return.

The inhabitants of the Kaçkar villages, reduced in winter to a few old people, suddenly are joined by relatives from Germany, Istanbul and the coast. These months are for grand reunions: buses arrive packed with migrants loaded with presents; four-wheel-drives full of city slickers and German goodies block the trails; builders busy themselves with concrete mixers and corrugated iron. And all around the stone settlements are herd of ginger-coloured cows, driven out to pasture on the lush grass, and mules, nearly invisible under bundles of hay; squarking chickens and lazy dogs enjoy the sun. The locals work away, milking and making cheese, gathering hay for the winter months.

See Cornucopia 42 for more on the Great Northeast, and Cornucopia 34 for the beautiful country houses of the Eastern Black Sea Mountains

To read the full article, purchase Issue 28

Issue 28, 2003 Capturing the Black Sea
£30.00 / $42.20 / 166.51 TL
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 28
  • Georgia on my Mind

    Turkey’s northeastern neighbour, Georgia, is a fairytale country with a hard edge, and its entrancing landscape of isolated hilltop cathedrals and medieval monasteries just demands to be explored. By Minn Hogg

  • Dome from Dome

    Built as way-stations for Orthodox pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land or Mount Athos, the rooftop churches of Karaköy are a forgotten corner of the Motherland in the heart of Istanbul. By Owen Matthews. Photographs by Simon Wheeler

  • The Peoples that Time Forgot

    The Russian love affair with the Caucasus has been long and cruel, though the outside world knows little of the multitude of ethnic groups who for millennia have inhabited this remote strip of land the size of France.

  • Cavalcade of Colour

    Few cities have been served so faithfully by an artist as Istanbul was served, in its twilight years as a great imperial capital, by Fausto Zonaro. By Philip Mansel

  • Golden Opportunity

    Carrots once came in a broad palette of hues – from white, cream and yellow, through pink and deep red to purple and black – as well as variegated versions of them all. Black carrots from the east of Turkey were famed for their medicinal properties.
    More cookery features

  • Trotsky on Prinkipo

    Exiled by Stalin in 1929, Trotsky went to live on the Princes Islands near Istanbul. For four years he fished, wrote and developed the doctrine of Trotskyism. Remarkable photographs from the David King Collection show a quiet, ordered existence. Norman Stone uncovers the plotting that lay behind it.

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Issue 28, 2003 Capturing the Black Sea
£30.00 / $42.20 / 166.51 TL
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