Kervan Yolu - Hiking a section of Seljuk caravan route

Kervan Yolu - Hiking on a section of the Seljuk caravan route

Once again, the time had come - Ömer had invited people to hike a section of the Seljuk caravan route across the Taurus Mountains. Despite his many years of experience, which he had gained during the various routes through the Taurus between Manavgat and Akseki, the planned section was a first ascent for him too.

So, we had arranged to meet in the morning to first drive by car to Sinanhoca to the mountain pasture above the Oymapinar reservoir. From here we should go through a washed-out canyon, which was otherwise only used by hiking shepherds to reach the high mountain pastures, towards the village of Melas Vadisi.

Seljuk sultans ensured that these caravan routes were maintained

kervan yolu 01As we have already reported several times, there is a closely linked network of roads and paths across Anatolia, some of which can be traced back to the Romans as paved highways and trade routes. Later, around the beginning of the 11th century, this network of highways through the Rumseljuks became denser and more experienced a brilliant rise in its importance for trade through its connection to the Silk Road. We have already reported on some sections of these caravan routes, which still exist today as paved routes and are relatively easy to hike. Heavily loaded camel caravans needed paths that were about 2 meters wide and not too steep, and that didn't have too tight curves. The Seljuk Sultans ensured that these caravan routes were always maintained and that the necessary fortifications and bridges were built so that trade could flourish.

It should be around 16 kilometers to the destination

kervan yolu 04This can also be attributed to the pressure from the predominantly Italian trading houses in Venice at the time, who demanded safe trade routes for their goods.

To supply the caravans, caravanserais were set up every 40 kilometres and served as accommodation and protection for the caravans at the same time. Even today, a number of these caravanserais, which were lined up in close succession along the historic trade routes, are still well preserved and can be visited in many places.

Ömer likes to talk about his father, who ran the trade between Manavgat and Akseki until the 1950s and needed 7 days to complete the route of around 75 kilometres.

kervan yolu 05After an interesting journey we reach Sinanhoca, find the first signs for the Kervan Yolu, but cannot find the start of the route over the mountain.

The residents surveyed also don't really know about this section of the caravan road. So we explore ourselves, follow some clues and then actually find the marked entrance to the passage that leads over the mountains.

Initially on relatively easy-to-hike dirt roads, the path quickly becomes narrower and steeper until it is actually just a goat path. Higher and higher it goes. Loose stone material on the Goat Trail makes for some really physically demanding hiking, which understandably takes a lot of time as breaks become absolutely necessary. It should be around 16 kilometres to the destination.

Hiking on the scree and gravel

kervan yolu 06Of course, you always need to take breaks to look at the truly unique landscape and of course also to take photos of the panorama.

After about 800 meters of climbing and about half the way over wooded passages and almost garden-like plateaus, we notice that time has progressed a lot and after some discussion we decide to return to the starting point, as the remaining path takes us back down to Melas Vadisi is still unknown, but we don't have any equipment for a night hike and we still have to return to the location of the vehicle in Sinanhoca.

Admittedly, we started too late for this route, because despite the route being only 16 kilometres long, hiking on the scree and gravel, always steeply uphill, takes so much time and energy that breaks are simply necessary, just a typical all-day stage that starts early in the morning Should start tomorrow.

kervan yolu 07It was this realization that finally made us return to the vehicle. Once you found the entrance, the entire route was well marked, making orientation safe and easy. But it is also clear that this route is only for experienced and persistent hikers. We'll try again later.

By the way: If you are interested in further hikes in Turkey, we recommend Kate Clow's hiking guides. Please follow the link!

Please read as well:

Akseki - Silk Road invites you to go hiking

Laurel forests line the way - hiking tour


Life | Outdoors