Uludag

With its 2,543 mt/8,343 ft summit, Uludağ is the highest mountain of northwestern Turkey. There are some reports and photos that claims its summit is visible from Istanbul about 150 km north as the crow flies on clear days, though this is usually not the case due to humidity.

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, which explains why it was named Keşiş Dağı ("Mountain of the Monks") in Ottoman Turkish. It was also this time when, in the absence of refrigators, the ice harvested from the mountain made its way to the imperial kitchen in Istanbul's Topkapı Palace. The mountain was later 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.

Uludağ was the first (and, still the most popular) wintersports resort in Turkey, with the first guesthouses aimed at skiing enthusiasts opening in 1940s. It was declared a national park in 1961, but that didn't fully stop tourism developments.



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.

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