x0x Cedar tree museum CIGLIKARA
- [See more about the tree at:
Note the link that shows a photograph of the Ciglikara Forest:
x0x Cedar tree museum CIGLIKARA
By Nusret Nurdan Eren
'At one time the world's finest and fastest ships were built in
Antalya. The timber from which these ships were built was as legendary
throughout the world as the skill of the shipbuilders. When the Suez
Canal was under construction, timber cut from the forests of Antalya
was sent to Egypt, where the canal consumed tens and hundreds of
thousands of tons of timber from these forests. And when the railway
was being constructed, tens of thousands more tons of wood from these
emerald forests went to Africa to be sawn into sleepers. Syria used
wood from here, and for centuries the Aegean islands depended upon
it.' So wrote Atabeyoglu in 1972.
With its turquoise sea, fine golden sand and sunny skies, Antalya
attracts holidaymakers from all over the world today, but throughout
history it was best known for its forests.
Even today forests cover more than half of this beautiful province in
southern Turkey, the most common tree being the Mediterranean pine
(Pinus brutia). But the cedar is also abundant, with half of Turkey's
remaining cedar (Cedrus libani) forests situated in this area. The
celebrated ship presented to Cleopatra by the Roman general and
statesman Mark Antony, and the fleet of ships commanded by the Ottoman
admiral Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa were built of cedar wood.
In antiquity cedar was valued for its pleasing scent and beautiful
color as well as its durability, and was therefore used for the
construction of palaces and temples, and for the coffins of Egyptian
pharaohs and high-ranking state officials.
The white resin was one of the ingredients used for mummifying bodies.
This imposing tree was a symbol of majesty, power and prosperity.
The cedar grows in the Toros range of mountains which stretches all
along Turkey's Mediterranean coast, in the anti-Toros and the Amanos
Mountains, but the place where it flourishes best is Ciglikara Forest.
Here some of the trees are as much as two thousand years old. This
forest is today a nature reserve lying between the towns of Elmali and
Finike west of Antalya, and covers an area of 15,889 hectares. Located
55 kilometres from Elmali and 165 kilometres from Antalya, the forest
lies in two great hollows, themselves dipping into small hollows,
surrounded by mountains.
Diverse fossils dating from the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic eras are to be
found in the area, whose limestone bedrock and porous soil layer
suggest that it was once covered by sea.
The vegetation varies according to the altitude. Junipers, which are
found scattered amongst the cedars in the lower part of the forest,
outnumber other species at heights over 2000 metres. Besides the
bluish green cedars the forests here are home to prickly juniper,
Grecian juniper, stinking juniper, oak, maple, ash and poplar, and to
a rich diversity of wildlife, including rabbits, foxes, partridges,
wild boar, eagles and buzzards. When spring comes the aspens, sweet
williams, violets and deadnettles transform the forest into heaven on
earth. One of the most ancient inhabitants of Ciglikara is a tree
known as Baba Sedir whose age is estimated at around one thousand
The trunk is 2.36 metres in diameter and 28 metres in height. But even
this tree is young compared to Koca Katran, a cedar aged two thousand
years old which has a diametre of 2.82 metres and a height of 25
On the southern slopes of Civkus Tepesi (on the summit of which is a
fire tower) at an altitude of over two thousand metres only junipers
are hardy enough to withstand the harsh weather conditions, with its
extremes of heat and cold. Scattered in splendid isolation from one
another, the junipers have been twisted into strange shapes by the
fierce winds. With its monumental trees, wildlife and many endemic
plants, this beautiful forest is like a natural cedar museum.
Do not miss visiting this wild unspoilt spot in the heart of the
Beydaglari Mountains next time you are in this part of the world. Baba
Sedir and Koca Katran are expecting you.
* Nusret Nurdan Eren is a photographer and freelance writer