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(New page: '''Uludağ''' is a national park and wintersports resort in Southern Marmara of Turkey. ==Understand== With its 2,543 mt/8,343 ft summit, Uludağ is the highest mountain of [[Marm...)
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'''Uludağ''' is a national park and wintersports resort in [[Southern Marmara]] of [[Turkey]].
#REDIRECT [[Uludag]]
With its 2,543 mt/8,343 ft summit, Uludağ is the highest mountain of [[Marmara (region)|northwestern Turkey]], visible from [[Istanbul]] about 150 km north as the crow flies on clear days.
Uludağ has two sides to it: On one side, it's an untouched natural beauty of forests, hills, and rocks overlooked by eagles and on the other it's a heavily-used resort of wintersports. One might argue there is a third side as well, the relatively small-sized but well-used daily-use areas that are filled with kebab-odour that disseminate from grills of open-air restaurants.
Uludağ was one of the twenty-odd mountains around the eastern half of Mediterranean basin that used to be called '''Olympos''' in ancient times—more precisely '''Mysian Olympos''' in this case, Mysia being the ancient name of the region what is about eastern two-thirds of [[Southern Marmara]] today.
In medieval times, Uludağ served as a hermitage to Christian monks, a situation which is the reason why its name was ''Keşiş Dağı'' ("Mountain of the Monks") in Ottoman Turkish. It was renamed Uludağ, which translates "Great Mountain" ("great" being more in the sense of "grand"), in 1935, about a decade after the Turkish Republic was founded.
Northern side of the mountain overlooking the city of [[Bursa]] (though you should be darn lucky to have a glimpse of the city from most locations on the mountain) is dotted with a number of flat plateaus around 1,600 mt above the sea level: '''Sarıalan''' (the main daily-use area and where cable cars from Bursa terminate), '''Kadıyayla''' (where the cable car pauses before heading forward to Sarıalan), '''Karabelen''' (when approaching by road, the national park gate is situated here), and '''Kirazlıyayla''' (the first plateau after the park gate) among others.
The southern slopes of the mountain is far steeper and is less accessible.
===Flora and fauna===
Uludağ is one of the places where school geography textbooks come true: the mountain has belts of different types of vegetation varying with the elevation. The lowest slopes bordering [[Bursa]], up to 350 mt above the sea level is covered with Mediterranean shrubs (''maquis''), such as laurel trees. Between 350 through 700 mt, it's the warm temperate decidious forests dominated by chestnut trees (this zone is where most of those delicious chestnut deserts unique to Bursa originates from). It's the time for cool temperate decidious woods between 700 to 1,500 mt, dominated by beech trees. 1,500 to 2,100 mt is the highest belt that still allow trees to grow, dominated by indemic firs of Uludağ. Tree-less and fragile alpine meadows cover the areas of mountain above 2,100 mt.
Bears, wolves, deers, and eagles among others are the dwellers of Uludağ.
As you may be expecting, Uludağ is far chillier than nearby [[Bursa]] thanks to its elevation. A day that is sweltering hot in Bursa is likely to be cool enough that makes it ''really'' uncomfortable without at least a cardigan outdoors in Uludağ.
==Get in==
The narrow (wide enough for vehicles to pass side by side though) and tarmac road from [[Bursa]] (with signs pointing it all around the city) winds on the side of the mountain for 22 km until it arrives at the '''national park gate''' at Karabelen. After the gate, it turns into—or rather isn't upgraded from since it was opened—a cobbled road, presumably to force drivers to lower their speed, so that driving under icy conditions in winter on this winding road is safe. The cobbled road lasts for 8 km until '''Sarıalan''', or 12 km until '''Oteller'''.
In winter, vehicles without '''tire chains''' may not be allowed to go further than park gate if park authorities decide so (which usually do so in heavily-snowing days). Fortunately, you'll see a lot of stalls run by local people on sides of the road which sell chains—though they'll for sure try to rip you off if it's one of those no-cars-without-chains days. Whether a snowy day or not, [[winter driving]] rules apply.
30-person '''cable cars''' (''teleferik'') from Bursa's upper neighbourhood of '''Teferrüç''' on the foothills of the mountain (minibuses with signs ''Teferrüç - Teleferik'' get there from central Bursa) take a much directer route than the road. It takes around 20-25 minutes to get to the Sarıalan station located at 1,634 mt above the sea level. At about mid-way up to Sarıalan, there is a change station at Kadıyayla. As of 2010, ''teleferik'' ride from Teferrüç to Sarıalan costs 10 TL pp return on Wednesdays and Fridays, 15 TL pp return on other days. Departures start 8:30AM with 30-minute intervals until 10AM. Then, there is a departure every 40 minutes during the rest of the day with the last departure from Teferrüç to Sarıalan at 8PM and the last returning departure to the city at 8:20PM [].
A flat rate—which doesn't depend on the number of passengers—for vehicles is charged at the national park gate. Bigger the vehicle, more expensive the fee (though not prohibitively so).
==Get around==
Minibuses (''dolmuş'') are available from Sarıalan cable car station to '''Oteller''' area, about 10 km away and where all of the hotels are located.
2-person '''gondola lifts''' (''telesiyej'') start from their seperate station next to the cable car station in Sarıalan and head to '''Çobankaya''' plateau 3 km away and about 100 mt higher than Sarıalan.
The "two sides" of Uludağ is also evident in the activities it offers: in wintertime it's skiing on the white slopes, in summertime it's taking a walk amidst the woods.
Uludağ is the oldest wintersports resort of the country with the first hotel opened in 1940s. Uludağ offers a number of tracks between fir trees, each with a different level of hardness. Lots of '''teleski'''s are available, though unlike many other wintersports resorts around the world, there is not a universal teleski pass system in Uludağ, so you may have to pay each time you use a teleski unless you are using your hotel's own.
Although none of them waymarked, there is a number of hiking trails on the mountain, with the most popular ones being the trail from Sarıalan to Çobankaya and the trail to the glacial lakes and the summit, which you can start from the abandoned wolfram mine (location simply known as '''Volfram''') east of Oteller area. Volfram to summit hike is reported to take place along a non-waymarked but obvious trail and to take around 3 hours—though those wishing to see both the summit and the lakes close-up better take their camping gear with them since, although near each other, hiking to both locations and then back at the same day is said to be demanding.
Around Sarıalan is a number of open-air ''Kendin Pişir Kendin Ye'' ("Cook it yourself!") restaurants mostly favoured by [[Middle East]]ern (especially [[Saudi Arabia|Saudi]]) families where you buy your meat by kilo and rent a grill with some charcoal and cook your kebab yourself.
Otherwise, all hotels in Uludağ are full-board and you'll have your meals in your hotel.
The bars of the hotels are open to anyone (for a fee, unless you stay there, of course).
Although a national park, being a wintersports resort means that those prefering a luxurious bed rather than a bumpy mat under the tentfloor won't be dissappointed in Uludağ.
All hotels in Uludağ are located in '''Oteller''' (literally "hotels") area. Many are aimed at skiers and thus are closed during summer, though.
Organized campgrounds run by Turkish Ministry of Forestry can be found in Sarıalan and in Çobankaya.
It's possible to wild camp pretty much anywhere—apart from the obvious skiing tracks, of course—in the mountain. However, highest areas are covered with alpine meadows, some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world, so it's important to follow [[Leave-no-trace camping|leave-no-trace]] guidelines.
==Stay safe==
* A heavy fog can quickly set on any day in Uludağ, even on a perfectly sunny one. With the loss of sight of natural distinguishers, it becomes fairly hard to follow the trails, especially on the higher meadows of the mountain, so stay ahead of weather forecasts if you're planning to hike. If you are trapped in fog, the best would be to wait until it goes away—it can rise as quick as it forms.
==Get out==
{{IsPartOf|Southern Marmara}}

Revision as of 00:21, 26 January 2010

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