2007  Western Turkey Tour s
Trip#1 April 21 - May 6 2007
  Trip#2 September 22 - October 7 2007

  • Staff
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Trip Difficulty
  • Equipment
  • Conservation Objective
  • References
  • Hiking information


  • Trip  #1  April 21 - May 06 Sierra Club tour will be led by 
    Pritpal S. Kochhar

  • Trip #2 September 22 -October 7 tour will be led by  
       John Bird

Travel Arrangements

Airfare is not included in the trip cost.  You may contact your personal travel agent.  You will need a valid passport and a visitor's visa (currently $20) for Turkey.  This visa may be obtained most easily upon arrival by air in Istanbul.  No inoculations are required, but up-to-date tetanus and Hepatitis A shots are recommended.  More information will be given to approved participants after signing up.

Trip Difficulty

This trip is designed for anyone in average condition.  No special athletic ability is required, but you must be able to carry all your own luggage for short distances and to walk for long distances.  Stamina is required for museum and historic site touring.  Hiking is low to moderate in difficulty, and is optional.  Elevations are below 5,000 ft and hikes are three to five miles long.  Weather will be from highs in the 80s to lows in the 50s, depending on the location.  The early autumn season should be quite pleasant.


There is no dress code in Turkey; you can wear what you want.  Women do not need to be concerned about what not to wear; short skirts and sleeveless shirts are welcome.  Shorts are acceptable for hiking and for touring ruins, but not for visiting mosques.  Participants will be sent a comprehensive suggested packing list, including suggestions about dressing for mosques.  A pair of very sturdy shoes is absolutely essential. 

Conservation Objective

Turkey suffers from all the usual problems of a rapidly developing industrial economy.  Rapid industrialization has naturally led to a shortage of energy.  Despite the contrary direction adopted by the U.S., Europe, and Japan, recently Turkey—located in a highly active seismic region—has recently been considering nuclear power.  In addition, the energy thirst and development needs of the disadvantaged southeast region has led to the construction of mega-dams, uprooting the local populace and submerging priceless archaeological treasures.

Air pollution is a real blight, especially in winter because of the burning of lignite (plentiful in Turkey) for heating.  A special problem for Turkey, again related to energy, is the use of the Straits (Bosporus and Dardanelles) as a tanker route to transport Caspian oil from Russian ports to Europe.  Several major accidents over the past few years in the swift currents of the narrow channel of these waterways amply demonstrate the folly of such use.  An alternative pipeline to transport the oil to the Mediterranean has its own environmental disadvantages.

Anatolia had a lot more forest cover at one time, but uncontrolled use over the centuries has denuded the countryside.  During recent Republican times, reforestation has been a government policy, a policy that was especially close to Atatürk's heart.  Unfortunately, these efforts have not been sufficient to restore the original health of the forests.  Add to all of these the monumental problem of the preservation of innumerable, irreplaceable historic sites.  In short, the country has no shortage of environmental issues that a fledgling conservation movement is attempting to address.  We will meet representatives of these groups, exchange ideas, offer the insight of our own experience in tackling similar problems, and offer whatever advice and assistance we can.


Your local library should be full of history books on Turkey and Anatolia (Asia Minor).  The following books are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the formation of the Turkish Republic and the reverence in which Turks hold the father of modern Turkey: "Ataturk, A Biography of Mustafa Kemal, Father of Modern Turkey" by Lord Kinross and "Emergence of Modern Turkey" by Bernard Lewis.  A more extensive list of other books for a deeper understanding of Turkish and Ottoman history and culture will be sent to trip participants.  The Turkish Embassy offers useful information on page  http://www.turkishembassy.org/traveltourism/index.htm .

Hiking Information
appadocia 10 km hike 2 hours leasurely walking pace
We start at 6:30 in the morning walk through vinyards for 1 km on a level dirt road. The Church carved in the rocks will be our first surprise. We will need to climb up a rock to see the beautiful frescoes and reliefs which time could not wear off. We will continue our hike through fruit orchards and vineyards where the branches of the apricot trees will be wrapped around the vine branches. The fresh smell of the air will be more of a joy when it is filled in with the songs of the nightingales. After walking 1 more km we will reach another church carved in the Rocks, but this time more than the church the view of Cappadocia from the church will be our focus of interest. It is amazing how this very easy 2-3 km hike would bring us to a point where you are totally disconnected from the real world. The only sign of life around us as we continue our hike on a level dirt road will be more fruit trees which have been carefully planted and taken care of by the local farmers. The next 300 yards will remind us that "no pain no gain" as we climb up a path which is quite steep. If hiking is not your at least twice a year hobby, you might have to stop a few times to get your legs working again. But once we get up to the top, you will feel like the rocks are playing the most "colorful symphony." The wild flowers and the colors of the rocks will be competing with each other to display more shades of all the colors. Our hike will continue on level ground for the most of it until we arrive back to the village This hike takes 2 hours We get our excellent breakfast when we return to the hotel.

Guzelyurt 5 km 1.5 hours leisurely walking pace
We will drive up to the place where we will start the hike. The first part of the hike will be on a level rocky land. As we start walking down hill the rocks will be replaced first by oak trees then with vineyards and fruit orchards. Once we arrive in the canyon we will sometimes be walking along the side of the creek. Sometimes we will be hopping on the rocks to get to the other side of the water. On this hike there is one very short 10 yards steep downhill walk. We end our hike in the oldest monastery of the Christian history.

Antalaya 3 km 1 hour walk on level ground
We will drive into the mountains for 100 km before we start our hike on a part dirt part paved road running by a river. We will pass by villages, greet the locals and enjoy the pine forest which will sometimes make seeing the sky difficult. We will finish our hike at a Roman Bridge connecting the two sides of the gorge. Very easy walk. A nice picnic at the end of the road will be our bonus.

Pamukkale 2 km down the designated path on the travertines with the calicium deposits
Once we leave the ancient Hierapolis with all its mysterious looking ruins, we will be in a white world of the warm waters and calcium deposits. The walk down the cliff on the designated path must be down without shoes. It may be hard on your feet. Wearing socks is recommended.

Prienne 2 km round trip up and down hill walk
Overlooking the Meander Valley, the ancient city of Prienne will be reached at the end of a gradual climb walking on the ancient roman stairs.

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