The featured picture in this post isn’t taken in Switzerland. It is a Turkish village called Hamsikoy at the base of the Zigana Mountain. This area of Turkey has lush green forests and alpine plateaus with a backdrop of snow covered peaks. This was such a surprise to me. The view is great but you’re coming to Hamsikoy for the best rice pudding in all of Turkey. Look for the Sutlac sign on the right as you enter town.

On the way to Zilkale Fortress, you will pass medieval bridges. In the surrounding hillsides there are centuries old wooden homes peppering the green forest.

Zilkale Fortress is a castle built during the Byzantine Empire in the 14th century. It is in a stunning location high on a cliff above the Firtina River. The views from the upper walls of the surrounding Pontic mountains (12,917′ ) and the wide panorama to the river below is simply breathtaking.

This fortress was an important place along the quicker, but more dangerous, silk road route to the port in Trabzon where items were loaded onto ships. I cannot imagine a caravan of animals and packs making it through this terrain. Remains of a chapel, the garrison, outer and inner walls, tower and chapel can be explored. This route for the silk road was so rough it required defensive fortresses every 30 km.

6 km away from the fortress is Palovit Waterfall in the Kackar Mountains National Park. It is 49′ high and thundering with water. Rainbows dance in the afternoon sun and settle on lush plants. Climbing down the walkway is wet and potentially slick. When you get to the barrier at the end, you can’t see the whole falls. The real view is better from the road a little higher up from the stairs.

and a little further on is a short hike to the Tar River waterfall. This is a paved river-side track. Through a dark green forest with flowers blooming and we found watercress too. I’d like to return to this part of Turkey and do some hiking in the mountains.

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