The Taurus (Toros) Mountains are the Westernmost branches of the great mountain chain that stretches across all of Asia - the Himalayan mountain belt. The Turkish section of this massive mountain range follows the Southern border of Anatolia and is itself made up of four major sections, the Western, Central, Southern and Southeastern Taurus ranges. The highest peaks rise out of the Central and Southeastern branches, a stretch of mountains, which are rugged, magnificent and arduous to climb.
Forming part of the Central Taurus range, the Ala range runs from the Southwest to the Northeast for approximately 50 kilometres and boasts the region's highest peak, Demirkazik that stretches to 3756 metres. Other high summits include Kizilkaya in the center (3725 m), a peak that reaches 3688 metres in the South, and Mt.Vayvay in the East (3565 m). This long range, situated in the provinces of Nigde, Kayseri and Adana, rises between Lake Ecemis and the Zamanti river.
The geology of the area is responsible for the interesting rock formations and waterfalls. The erosion of limestone has created a fascinating karstic topography and hydrography, especially in the Yedigoller valley, where karstic underground rivers and caverns collect the surface water. Both the Mediterranean and Anatolian weather systems influence the climate of the Ala Mountains, bringing warm summers and cool winters to the area.
The best season to climb the mountains is during May, June, July and August when the alpine meadows of the higher elevations are rich in vegetation.
Researchers and mountaineers ascending the Ala Mountains usually begin their climb from either Camardi or Cukurbad village. Those attempting to climb the Demirkazik summit depart from Demirkazik village. Both of these villages lie 65 km from Nigde and can be reached by asphalt road.
The yaylas of the Taurus Ala Mountains are the summer homes of entire villages and the summer grazing of herds of animals. Be sure to see the rounding up of all the animals for milking. Traditionally women of these encampments have produced some of Turkey's most beautiful carpets and kilims, and it is often possible to see a carpet still in progress.
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