Taurus Mountains

The Taurus Mountains (Turkish: Toros Dağları), are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, separating the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau. The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east. It is a part of the Alpide belt in Eurasia.

The Taurus mountains are divided into three chains from west to east as follows;

  • Western Taurus (Batı Toroslar)
    • Akdağlar, the Bey Mountains, Katrancık Mountain, Geyik Mountain
  • Central Taurus (Orta Toroslar)
  • Southeastern Taurus (Güneydoğu Toroslar)
    • Nurhak Mountains, Malatya Mountains, Maden Mountains, Genç Mountains, Bitlis Mountains
Taurus Mountains
Demirkazik Crest of Aladag Mountains in Nigde Turkey
Demirkazık in Niğde Province
Highest point
Peak3,756 m
Elevation3,756 metres (12,323 ft)
Native nameToros Dağları
Range coordinates37°N 33°E / 37°N 33°ECoordinates: 37°N 33°E / 37°N 33°E


Asia minor-Shepherd 1923 Syria
Amanus Mts. near the Gulf of Issus and Antioch

Pre-history to early Roman period

The bull was commonly the symbol and depiction of ancient Near Eastern storm gods, hence Taurus the bull, and hence the name of the mountains. The mountains are a place of many ancient storm-god temples.[1] Torrential thunderstorms in these mountains were deemed by the ancient Syrians to be the work of the storm-god Adad to make the Tigris and Euphrates rivers rise and flood and thereby fertilise their land.[2] The Hurrians, probably originators of the various storm-gods of the ancient Near East, were a people whom modern scholars place in the Taurus Mountains at their probable earliest origins.

A Bronze Age archaeological site, where early evidence of tin mining was found, is at Kestel.[3] The pass known in antiquity as the Cilician Gates crosses the range north of Tarsus.

The Amanus range in southern Turkey is where the Taurus Mountains are pushed up as three tectonic plates come together. The Amanus is a natural frontier: west is Cilicia, east is Syria. There are several passes, like the Amanian Gate (Bahçe Pass), which are of great strategical importance. In 333 BCE at the Battle of Issus, Alexander the Great defeated Darius III Codomannus on the foothills along the coast between these two passes.[4] In the Second Temple period, Jewish authors seeking to establish with greater precision the geographical definition of the Promised Land, began to construe Mount Hor as a reference to the Amanus range of the Taurus Mountains, which marked the northern limit of the Syrian plain.[5]

Late Roman period to present

During World War I, the German and Turkish railway system through the Taurus Mountains proved to be a major strategic objective of the Allies. This region was specifically mentioned as a strategically controlled objective slated for surrender to the Allies in the Armistice, which ended hostilities against the Ottoman Empire.[6]


In the Aladaglar and Bolkar mountains, limestone has eroded to form karstic landscapes of waterfalls, underground rivers, and some of the largest caves of Asia. The Manavgat River originates on the southern slopes of the Beydaglari range.[7]


In addition to hiking and mountain climbing,[8] there are two ski resorts on the mountain range, one at Davras about 25 km (16 mi) from the two nearest towns of Egirdir and Isparta, the second is Saklıkent 40 km (25 mi) from the city of Antalya.

The Varda Viaduct, situated on the railway lines Konya-Adana at Hacıkırı village in Adana Province, is a 98-metre-high (322 ft) railway bridge constructed in the 1910s by Germans.

Western Taurus

West Taurus and Taurus Mountains form an arc around the Gulf of Antalya. The East Taşeli Plateau and Goksu River divide it from the Central Taurus Mountains. It has many peaks rising above 3,000–3,700 m (9,800–12,100 ft). The complex is divided into four ranges:[8]

  • Beydaglari mountain range, western, highest peak Mt. Kizlarsivrisi 3,086 m (10,125 ft)
  • Aladaglar mountain range, central, highest peak Mt. Demirkazik 3,756 m (12,323 ft)
  • Bolkar mountain range, southeastern, highest peak Mt. Medetsiz 3,524 m (11,562 ft)
  • Munzur mountain range, northeastern, highest peak Mt. Akbaba 3,462 m (11,358 ft)
    • Mercan mountain range, within the Munzur

The highest point in the central Tauruses is the summit of Mt. Demirkazık (3,756m).[8]


Relief of the Western Taurus Mountains

Termessos solymos 200603

Termessos is an ancient city in the western Taurus


Antalya with the sunset and mountains in the west

Крепость Аланья

Alanya, and the surrounding mountains

Central Taurus

Central Taurus are roughly defined to be the north of Mersin and north west of Adana

Puertas Cilícias

Gülek, Mersin Province

Varda Demiryolu Koprusu

Railway gate, Adana Province

Toros Mountains near Mersin

Near Mersin

Karagöl, Toros

Lake (Karagöl) near the summit

Southeastern Taurus

The Southeastern Taurus mountains form the northern boundary of the Southeastern Anatolia Region and North Mesopotamia. They are also the source of the Euphrates River and Tigris River.


Malatya's Castle district and the Southeastern Taurus


  1. ^ Ravinell, Alberto and Green, Whitney The Storm-god in the Ancient Near East, p.126. ISBN 1-57506-069-8
  2. ^ Saggs, H.W.F. The greatness that was Babylon: a survey of the ancient civilization of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, Sidgwick & Jackson, 2nd Revised edition, 1988, p.380. ISBN 0283996234
  3. ^ Yener, K.A. (2000) The Domestication of Metals: The Rise of Complex Metal Industries in Anatolia Brill, Leiden, ISBN 90-04-11864-0 p. 91
  4. ^ "Amanus Mountains". Livius - Places. Livius.org - Jona Lendering. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ Bechard, Dean Philip (1 January 2000). Paul Outside the Walls: A Study of Luke's Socio-geographical Universalism in Acts 14:8-20. Gregorian Biblical BookShop. pp. 203–205. ISBN 978-88-7653-143-9. In the Second Temple period, when Jewish authors were seeking to establish with greater precision the geographical definition of the Land, it became customary to construe “Mount Hor” of Num 34:7 as a reference to the Amanus range of the Taurus Mountains, which marked the northern limit of the Syrian plain (Bechard 2000, p. 205, note 98.)
  6. ^ Price, Ward (16 December 1918) "Danger in Taurus Tunnels" New York Times
  7. ^ "Manavgat River Water as a Limited but Alternative Water Resource for Domestic Use in Middle East" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  8. ^ a b c "Mountaineering in Turkey" All About Turkey

External links

1962 Turkish Airlines Taurus Mountains crash

The 1962 Turkish Airlines Taurus Mountains crash occurred on 8 March 1962 at 17:43 local time (15:43 UTC) when a Turkish Airlines Fairchild F-27 airliner, registration TC-KOP, on a scheduled domestic flight from Esenboğa Airport (ESB/LTAC) in Ankara to Adana Airport (ADA/LTAF), flew into the Bolkar Mountains on approach to landing.

Antalya Province

Antalya Province (Turkish: Antalya ili) is located on the Mediterranean coast of south-west Turkey, between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean sea.

Antalya Province is the centre of Turkey's tourism industry, attracting 30% of foreign tourists visiting Turkey. Its capital city of the same name was the world's third most visited city by number of international arrivals in 2011, displacing New York. Antalya is Turkey's biggest international sea resort. The province of Antalya corresponds to the lands of ancient Pamphylia to the east and Lycia to the west. It features a shoreline of 657 km (408 mi) with beaches, ports, and ancient cities scattered throughout, including the World Heritage Site Xanthos. The provincial capital is Antalya city with a population of 1,001,318.

Antalya is the fastest-growing province in Turkey; with a 4.17% yearly population growth rate between years 1990–2000, compared with the national rate of 1.83%. This growth is due to a fast rate of urbanization, particularly driven by tourism and other service sectors on the coast.

Anti-Taurus Mountains

The Anti-Taurus Mountains (from Greek: Αντίταυρος, Turkish: Aladağlar) are a mountain range in southern and eastern Turkey, curving northeast from the Taurus Mountains. The tallest mountain in the range is Mount Erciyes, 12,851 feet (3,917 m) high. The ancient Greek geographer Strabo wrote that in his time the summit was never free from snow, and that those few who ascended it could see both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.Mount Erciyes, the highest peak in central Anatolia, is a massive stratovolcano located in the northern part of the Anti-Taurus.

Antiochia ad Taurum

Antiochia ad Taurum (Ancient Greek: Αντιόχεια του Ταύρου; "Antiochia in the Taurus") was an ancient Hellenistic city in the Taurus Mountains of Cilicia (later Commagene province), Anatolia. Most modern scholars locate Antiochia ad Taurum at or near Gaziantep, Gaziantep Province, Turkey (formerly called Aïntab), although past scholars tried to associate it with Aleppo (formerly Halab), Syria.Coins were minted at Antiochia ad Taurum.Antiochia ad Taurum was Christianized early and formed a bishopric see in Commagene.

Cappadocia (satrapy)

Cappadocia (from Old Persian Katpatuka) was a satrapy (province) of the Achaemenid Empire used by the Achaemenids to administer the regions beyond the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates river.

Caracalla's inscription

Caracalla's Inscription (Turkish: Gülek Kitabesi, also called İskender Kitabesi) is a rock-carved ancient Roman inscription on the Taurus Mountains, southern Turkey dedicated to the Roman emperor Caracalla.

Cennet and Cehennem

Cennet and Cehennem (English: heaven and hell) are the names of two large sinkholes in the Taurus Mountains, in Mersin Province, Turkey. The sinkholes are among the tourist attractions of the province.

Central Taurus Sign Language

Central Taurus Sign Language (CTSL) is a village sign language of Turkey. It is spoken in three villages in the central Taurus Mountains. It was brought to the world's attention by Rabia Ergin, who was exposed to it growing up.


The Göksu (Turkish for "blue water" also called Geuk Su, Goksu Nehri; Latin: Saleph, Ancient Greek: Καλύκαδνος, translit. Calycadnus) is a river on the Taşeli plateau (Turkey). Both its sources arise in the Taurus Mountains—the northern in the Geyik Mountains and the southern in the Haydar Mountains. Their confluence is south of Mut.

Julius Lederer (entomologist)

Julius Lederer (24 June 1821, in Vienna – 30 April 1870, Vienna) was an Austrian entomologist who specialised in Lepidoptera.

He travelled widely: to Andalusia in 1849 Carinthia with Johann von Hornig (1819–1886) in 1853, İzmir in 1864, Magnesia in 1865, Amasya and Turkey in 1866, Mersin and the Taurus Mountains in 1867, Lebanon in 1868 and the Balkans in 1870).


Karboğazı is a mountain pass in Mersin Province, Turkey.

The pass at 37°18′N 34°43′E is in the rural area of Tarsus ilçe (district). It is to the north of Gülek and 6 km (3.7 mi) north west of the Turkish state highway . Its distance to Tarsus is 60 km (37 mi) and to Mersin is 87 km (54 mi).Karboğazı means literally "snow-pass". It is situated in a high valley around a tributary of Berdan River in the Taurus Mountains. The upper reaches of the valley are usually snow-covered. The location was officially included in the Tourism centers of Mersin Province. With a peak at 3,524 m (11,562 ft), the area will be developed as a ski resort. Just to the south of the snow covered pass, there is a plateau, which is a popular picnic area encircled by pine forests.

However, Karboğazı is more than a touristic center. This pass was the scene of one of the critical fights during the Turkish War of Independence on 27–28 May 1920, called the Karboğazı ambush. A memorial was erected in the picnic area to commemorate the event.

Manavgat River

Manavgat River (also called Til and Melas in old historical texts) originates on the eastern slopes of Western Taurus Mountains in Turkey. At an elevation of 1,350 m, the outflow of several small springs joins together to become the headwaters of the Manavgat. The largest of these springs is called Dumanli, whose name means "place where there is fog", because of the dense mist that forms above the spring. In addition to the springs from the Taurus Mountains, the Manavgat is also fed underground from large lakes to the north of the mountains, on the Anatolian Plateau.From there, the river flows south over conglomerated strata for about 90 km, descending through a series of canyons. Finally, it washes over the Manavgat Waterfall and through the coastal plain and into the Mediterranean Sea. There are many caves in the river watershed area, the most interesting being the Altınbeşik cave.The maximum flow of the Manavgat River is 500 m³/second, with an average of 147 m³/second. Using the average flow as a measure, the Manavgat River accounts for a very small amount of the water flowing into the Mediterranean. There are two dams over the river: Oymapınar Dam and the Manavgat Dam. Studies have shown that water drains into the Manavgat River basin from its surface watershed and also from endorheic basins, especially those to the east of the river.In 1992, the Turkish State Hydraulics Work (DSI) was given the job of developing a water supply project for domestic use from the Manavgat river.

Medetsiz Mountain

Medetsiz Mountain (Turkish: Medetsiz Dağı) is a summit in Toros Mountains range of Turkey.

Toros Mountains run parallel to the Mediterranean Sea in south Turkey. The highest portion in mid Toros range is also called Bolkar and the summit is Medetsiz at 37°23′33″N 34°37′59″E. It is a part of Çamlıyayla (ilçe) (district) of Mersin Province. Its birds flight distance to sea is about 65 kilometres (40 mi). The altitude of the summit is 3,524 metres (11,562 ft). The north of the submit is a high cliff and the ramp to the south is relatively more gentle. It is one of the popular tracks of the mountaineers.


Sagalassos (Greek: Σαγαλασσός) is an archaeological site in southwestern Turkey, about 100 km north of Antalya (ancient Attaleia), and 30 km from Burdur and Isparta. The ancient ruins of Sagalassos are 7 km from Ağlasun (as well as being its namesake) in the province of Burdur, on Mount Akdağ, in the Western Taurus mountains range, at an altitude of 1450–1700 metres.

In Roman Imperial times, the town was known as the "first city of Pisidia", a region in the western Taurus mountains, currently known as the Turkish Lakes Region. During the Hellenistic period it was already one of the major Pisidian towns.

Sertavul Pass

The Sertavul Pass (Turkish: Sertavul Geçidi) is a mountain pass situated on the central Taurus Mountains at the border of Mersin Province with Karaman Province on the road from Konya over Karaman to the Mediterranean coast at Anamur or Silifke.

The landscape around the pass differs from the other Taurus Mountains' passes due to its relatively flat form. Its character changes as the passage extends further south into the deep valley around Mut north of Mersin Province. While the terrain is mainly treeless and is often with no grass, the plains are covered with cushion plants. The karst landscape is dotted with limestone rocks and riddled with countless sinkholes.

Servatul Pass was the location that Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa crossed the Taurus Mountains on the Third Crusade before he drowned in the River Calycadnus (currently Turkish: Göksu) in 1190.

Seyhan River

The Seyhan River (formerly written Seihan, Sihun; ancient name: Ancient Greek: Σάρος, Sáros) is the longest river in Turkey that flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The river is 560 km and flows southwest from its headwaters in the Tahtalı-Mountains (in Sivas and Kayseri provinces) in the Anti-Taurus Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea via a broad delta. Its main tributaries are Zamantı and Göksu, which unite in Aladağ, Adana to form the Seyhan River. The Zamantı River originates from the Uzun Plateau in Pınarbaşı, Kayseri and crosses Tomarza, Develi and Yahyalı districts in Kayseri.

In ancient times, it was called the Sarus or Saros, and its plain was called the Cilician plain. Its sources were reported being in the Taurus Mountains in Cataonia. It flowed through Cappadocia by the town of Comana, then through Cilicia. It is noted by numerous ancient authors including Livy, Xenophon, Procopius, Strabo, Ptolemy,, Appian, Pliny the Elder, and Eustathius of Thessalonica who erroneously calls it Sinarus.50 km from its mouth, Seyhan River flows through the city of Adana, the only settlement situated on the river. Several bridges and footbridges cross the river in Adana including the Stone Bridge, a 4th-century Roman bridge. The river meets the Mediterranean Sea at Cape Deli.

The major Seyhan Dam upstream of Adana serves for irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood control. Yedigöze, Çatalan and Kavşak Bendi are the other dams on Seyhan River which also serve the same purposes. The river is currently under extensive development for hydroelectric power and irrigation.

Toros University

Toros University is a recently established university in Mersin, Turkey.

It was established officially on July 23, 2009 by the Mersin Education Foundation (Turkish: Mersin Eğitim Vakfı), a foundation founded 40 years ago and active in establishing high schools. It is a private non-profit (Turkish: vakıf) university. It is named after the Taurus Mountains, a mountain range which extends from east to west in southern Turkey.

Today, there are two more universities in Mersin Province; Mersin University is a public university and Çağ University is another private university.


Çayönü Tepesi is a Neolithic settlement in southeastern Turkey inhabited around 7200 to 6600 BC. It is located forty kilometres north-west of Diyarbakır, at the foot of the Taurus mountains. It lies near the Boğazçay, a tributary of the upper Tigris River and the Bestakot, an intermittent stream.

Şekerpınarı Bridge

Şekerpınarı Bridge (Turkish: Şekerpınarı Köprüsü), also called Akköprü, is a Roman bridge in the Taurus Mountains, southern Turkey.

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