The archeological site of Ani
Some of the most beautiful Turkish yayla-plateaus
Lakes & Sirata floating ponds
Originally Georgian villages
Ruined churches and castles
does not belong to the Pontic coast in either landscape or history. Nor is it part of the Anatolian interior- in effect-it is a separate land, a Caucasian bufferregion. The Çoruh Canyon cuts across the province like a gigant crocky track. The main road follows the Canyonbase, but ‘real ‘ Artvin hides higher up. First come the villages, set in a smiling landscape of mulberry groves,vineyards, apple orchards and olives. Houses are mostly built in typical chalet-architecture. Above the villages the forest gets increasingly thicker and taller, separated by pastures that stay intensely green and fresh into August or later.The yayla-plateau is crowned by the snow capped masses of the Karçahal (3.248 m) in the North,the Altıparmak ( 3492 m) in the West, and the Yalnızçam chain (2.650 m) in the southeast.
Georgian warlords once dominated these valleys and fought wars with local mastery with each other, while paying question able allegiance to the Georgian king, the Arab caliph, The Byzantine emperor or the Ottoman Sultan. Their descendants still speak the Georgian language in the district of Borçka and Meydancık ( İmerhey) valley of Şavşat.
Day 1: Kars-Archeological site of Ani – Lake Çildir- Ardahan – Mısırlı.
Kars, standing at an altitude of 1,750 meters in Eastern Anatolia, has played an important role in Turkish history and was at the centre of theTurkish-Russian War during 1877-1878 after which it remained under the Russian rule for about 40 years. The Russian legacy can still be seen in much of the town’s architecture.After a city tour and lunch set off for Ani, the capital of Bagratid Armenia bounded on one side by the gorge of the Arpaçay/ Akhurian river, which formsTurkey’s border with the Armenian Republic. Impressive fortified walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries. Then continue to Ardahan past Lake Cıldır where we will have a photo stop and teabreak. The route from Ardahan to Mısırlı village over the Yalnızçam Dağları ( Arsiani) mountain range is spectacular.The views are amazing.Mısırlı, formerly known as Ivet is located on the border with Georgia, apart from a few houses in the village ( 1453 m) the houses are out of wood. Papart forests, one of the largest forests in Artvin are within the borders of this village.
Overnight: a guesthouse in Mısırlı (HB)
Day 2. Mısırlı – Cancır Yayla – Maden – Sakorya Yayla – Sative Yayla.
The valley of the İmerhevi, containing about 15 Georgian – speaking villages,once formed an independent feudal domain. Its attractions include some of the purest ‘ Chalet’s’ architecture of Artvin province as well as a few delightful wooden mosques.
After breakfast with a view on a beautiful valley in Mısırlı, drive to the start of todays walk on Cancır Yayla. Following a track to Sakorya Yayla and waterfalls the walk ends at the settlement of Maden ( Bazgiret). Wooden houses, the lake and its location are fascinating. After visit to the village transfer to Sative yaylası for dinner and night at village houses.
Walk: moderate 13 km
Overnight: Village houses, basic accommodation (HB)
Day 3. Sative Yayla – Sative – Şavşat – Karagöl Lake
Following breakfast in the village houses at Sative yayla set off to the Yayla of Dutlu
( Surevan) village. From here we follow the descending track along the canal to the centre of Sative . After the trek drive to Şavşat’s Karagöl lake to explore Lake and surroundings with an easy walk and visit Tbeti church in Cevizli, built under King Ashod II (908-918) and dynamited in 1967 by local authorities. A single gigantic apsis somehow remains standing . Cevizli village itself is an absolutely charming one.
Walk : Moderate Total 12 km
Overnight: a guesthouse on the Lake (HB)
Day 4. Karagöl Lake – Arsiyan mountain – Balık Gölü lake – Sirata lakes
Today we head to Arsiyan mountain and yayla-plateau. There are many small villages in the hills and the plateau is different from the other yayla’s . There are also salt rocks, coal mines, numerous hot springs of various size. The yellow paradise flowers around the ponds smell lovely and the roots are delicious and used for different kinds of foods.
There are 20 large and small lakes on the Arsiyan plateau; some floating. There are different ecosystems around the ponds and some lakes have their own endimic species. According to the locals every pond has its own story to tell. Mount Göze ( 3.200m) and Kol village of Posof can be seen from here.
After climbed Arsiyan mountain which is not too difficult explore some of the lakes on foot and continue to Balık Göl (fish lake). Non- hikers can stay at Balık göl, a pleasant place with an amazing flora.
Walk : Moderate . ca 13 km
Overnight: guesthouse near the Lake (HB)
Day 5. Balik gölü Lake-Akdamla- Balık gölü Lake
It’s a short drive to Akdamla plateau, another yayla with lovely old wooden houses. Very close to the border with Georgia, this yayla is considered one of the most beautiful of Şavşat. After the walk return to our guesthouse near Balık göl Lake.
Walk: 15 Km. easy-moderate
Overnight: a guesthouse near the lake
Day 6. Balık göl Lake – Avcala – Isli cave – Hanlı village.
Another beautiful day awaits us. From Hanlı set off to Avcala Yayla where the walk starts. At Isli stop to explore the cave and then continue to Hanlı, a village with a castle on top of the village; a lovely panoramic route with magnificient views.
Walk: 18 km moderate. The first 8 km rather flat and easy.
Overnight: guesthouse in Hanlı ( Hantuşet) village (HB)
Day 7. Hanlı – Ardahan – Cheese museum – Kars.
We leave for Kars and en route will stop in Ardahan to explore the small town and Boğatepe village to visit the Cheese museum where we are informed about the production of the famous Kars Graver cheese. After lunch in Boğatepe ( Zavot) continue to Kars where the program ends. Onward travel.
- The tour includes:
- 6 Nights accommodation in village houses.guesthouses or hotels
- Breakfast x 6
- Evening meals x 6
- (packed) lunches 5
- English speaking Turkish guide
- Admission fees for National Parks
- Transport during the tour
- The tour excludes:
- Transport to and from Kars
- Extra transfers
- Personal expenses and drinksMinimum for his tour is 8 persons
Maximum for his tour is 16 persons.