One of Turkey's most important mountaineering and winter sports centers, Mount Erciyes, rises from the south of the Kayseri valley. The Sultan Marshes lie to its west and to the south falls the Develi valley. Its summit always covered with snow and ice, Mt. Erciyes ranks as central Anatolia's tallest volcano.
Approximately 18 kilometers in diameter and covering an area of 1000 square kilometers, the mountain's stratification and geology make it a fascinating geographical formation.
The region's climate, influenced by that of the Anatolian plateau is typical steppe. Winter brings considerable snowfall to higher elevations. The northern side of the mountain enjoys a more temperate climate encouraging the cultivation of vast areas of vine and fruit orchards between 1100 and 1600 meters. Above that altitude, expanses of meadows stretch far into the distance. The higher elevations display typical alpine vegetation. Herds of animals graze year round on the east, north and west slopes of the mountain.
Mountaineers attempt Mt. Erciyes either on the northwestern flank or from the south and find the best climbing in June, July, August and September.
Tourists visiting the area should also see the fantastic rock formations, underground cities and fabulous frescoes in rock carved churches in neighboring Cappadocia. The Sultan Marshes, a habitat for many different species of birds, has been fortunately designated a national park and wildlife preserve.
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