The Cilo-Sat mountains, within the southeastern
Hakkari province are the eastern extension of the Toros (Taurus) mountain chain
which stretches from west to east along Turkey's southern boundaries. The
mountain range forms the western section of the Himalayan mountain belt. At 4136
meters, the Uludoruk (Resko) summit is the highest in the Cilo mountains;
Catalkaya (Samdi), which rises to 3794 meters crowns the Sat mountains.
Resembling the Alps both in general appearance and glacier topography, the Cilo-Sat
mountains are the areas in Turkey most affected by glaciers. The high altitudes
of the mountains testify to the effects of glacial formation and water erosion.
Of the ten differently shaped glaciers, the largest, Izbirak, measures five
kilometres in length, 500-600 meters in width. It reaches up to 100 meters in
depth. A wide arid expanse stretches across the southern base of the mountain
range. The highlands, in contrast, receive plentiful precipitation during the
winter months. In between crests and summits, fertile green valleys dotted with
rural settlements, enjoy a temperate climate that makes them ideal for wine and
Above the low valleys, alpine meadows blanket the mountain slopes at altitudes
between 2000 and 3100 meters. Herds of domestic animals, the raising of which
makes up the primary economic activity of the region, graze on these pastures.
Trips and Climbs
Arduous and elevated summits, high glaciers, glacial rivers and fast
moving streams combine to make the Cilo-Sat mountains both a fascinating
geographic and geological site of worldwide importance and a national park of
spectacular beauty. The best time for summer excursions is during June, July,
August and September. For winter climbing February and March are the most
To reach the Cilo-Sat mountains, travel to Van from Ankara by road,
rail, or air and then follow the 245 km long highway to Hakkari. Serpil village
offers one route for an ascent of Uludoruk.
A vast plateau, yayla culture has evolved on the Cilo and Sat
mountains, and the summer migration of the colorfully clad local population to
the high grazing pastures is a memorable event. Mountain glaciers and swiftly
running rivers alive with fish and beautiful glacier lakes are a few of the
area's natural wonders.
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