Mount Olympos in Turkey was once home to many monasteries, but these days it’s an incredibly popular National Park throughout the year. Visit this beautifully scenic park in between unforgettable sightseeing with one of our epic Egypt and Turkey Tours.
As with most places in the country, Mount Olympos also has a long and interesting history. Most visitors however have little, if any interest at all in the mountain’s historical past. Instead, they visit the mountain to enjoy its vastness and its unspoiled beauty.
Mount Olympos in Turkey measures 2,543 meters in height at its highest point, thereby making it the highest mountain in the country. In much of Turkey, the mountain is known as Uludag (Sublime Mountain) although it is not uncommon to hear people still referring to it as “Kesis Dagi” which is Turkish for “The Mountain of Monks”.
When most people think about tourist attractions in Turkey, they tend to think about fascinating architecture in Istanbul and/or seaside resorts with long sandy beaches, while places like Mount Olympos are often overlooked.
How Mount Olympos in Turkey Became The Mountain Of Monks
In ancient times, the mountain was known as Mount Olympos by the Greeks who inhabited the region, and it was later known as Mount Olympus by the Romans. The nearby city of Bursa was at that point in time called Prusa Ad Olympum because of its close proximity to the mountain.
For most of the Middle Ages, it was home to several monasteries and hermitages. In fact, the unwavering resistance of the monks towards the restrictive policies of iconoclast emperors contributed significantly to the mountain becoming a prestigious monastic center.
During its time as a monastic center, it was also home Saint Joannicius the Great, a monk who to this day is still considered to be one of the greatest monks ever in the Christian East. Since he mostly kept to himself, choosing to live as a hermit, not much is known about his life, apart from the fact that he allegedly worked many wonders.
Mining On The Mountain
There is a deserted Wolfram mine located near the top of Mount Olympos in Turkey which was originally built, together with a processing plant, in 1974 at a cost of around 60 million dollars. However, production costs ended up being prohibitively high, and the mine was soon made redundant in 1989.
A National Park For All Seasons
Today, Mount Olympos (Uludag Mountain) is a National Park. It’s also an incredibly popular tourist attraction in Turkey, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year, both local and foreign. It is also popular throughout the year.
If you intend booking one of our classic Egypt and Turkey tour packages, and you would like to enjoy some quality time in nature in between sightseeing tours, we can easily add a trip to Mount Olympos to your preferred itinerary.
During the winter months, people flock to the mountain to enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. During the summer months, the mountain is frequented by those who just enjoy the great outdoors. The mountain is very popular with hikers, many of whom camp on the mountain in tents.
The summit of Mount Olympos in Turkey can be reached quite easily, and of course this has also contributed to its popularity among hikers. For those who have an aversion to physical exercise, there’s a cable car service in operation, although the cable cars don’t run all the way to the summit.
Even if you are an avid hiker, a trip in the cable car is highly recommended. The cable cars leave from Bursa and make a short stop at the beautiful meadows of Kadiyayla at a height of around 1,200 meters. Passengers can disembark here if they wish, or else continue on to Sarialan which is somewhat higher, at an elevation of around 1,650 meters.
A Nature Lover’s Paradise
Mount Olympos is also very well known for its abundant wildlife and its wide range of fauna and flora which changes as you make your way further and further up the mountain. Expect to see vultures and golden eagles soaring above you, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot the shy and very rare tengmalm owl.
The mountain is also home to other interesting animals, including a number of wolf packs, although these are generally known to be shy so sightings are never guaranteed.
Tour The Best Of Egypt And Turkey
Why not explore our Egypt and Turkey Tours right now to book the best holiday you’re ever likely to have. Whether you want to ski down the slopes of Mount Olympos in Turkey, or whether your dream is to explore the many ancient treasures that await you in Turkey, we can provide you with the ultimate tour package.