We have said it before: the mountains behind Alanya hold many natural treasures. From waterfalls to caves and from magnificent rock formations to picturesque villages. At a height of about 1400 meters, there is also a place called Susuz Yayla, or: Waterless Plateau. It’s high up in the mountains and known for its wild tulips that bloom in the early spring to announce the departure of winter. It’s end of April now, when we take this trip, and we expect the hills to be full with wild flowers…..
They say that a picture paints a thousand words and that it captures the moment. This is true in most cases but….on our trip to Susuz Yayla we see that it’s almost impossible to catch this amazing experience on camera.
After leaving the hustle and bustle of Alanya we drive up into the mountains via Bektaş Caddesi (Bektaş Street). We go with two jeeps as it is a not a touristic road we will take. When going into the mountains, off the beaten tracks, always prepare yourself. For example by going with more than one car and taking enough water with you.
First the calm and beauty of nature welcomes us as we pass the Kızılalan forest. Travelling further we feel a slight lowering of the temperature as we enter the beautiful, steep sloping, picturesque village of Gedevet. Gedevet is the home and summer getaway for many (wealthy) Alanya people.
Unspoilt village lifestyle
Driving downwards from here we pass through Dere köyü, a small village that truly reflects the unspoilt Turkish village lifestyle, traditions and culture. Its elegance is also seen in the clean natural water meandering along the river, the sound of the birds and the extreme delicate beauty reflected in the wild flowers.
We continue on our quest for the Susuz Yayla. Higher and higher we climb, stopping every now and then to take in the awe of the scenery. Every inch of the steep sloping land is utilised for small vegetable patches, grazing, wheat, cherry, apple and other necessities for human survival. This is intertwined with wild fruits such as Kara Dut (blackberries) which were brimming with juicy flavour.
An obvious change in the landscape greets us to our destination Susuz Yayla – which means no water – as we cross a vast plateau, approximately 1400m above sea level. The tracks are narrow and it’s very sparsely inhabited. We see that spring has come late to Susuz Yayla. Because we are so high up, it’s still chilly and we even see some dots of snow around us.
Most of the famous red tulips (lale in Turkish) we so much wanted to see, have not yet bloomed. Here and there we see a red head peaking above the grass, but that’s all. The wild hyacinths however are already larger in number and their bright blue-purple buds are a wonderful sight.
Susuz Yayla is also known for a very special, very rare tulip: ‘Ters Lalesi’, or: the reverse tulip. We are very lucky to spot a few of them. Their hanging heads are said to be a symbol of sadness.
Then it is time to relax. We find a nicely located Çardak (raised, covered seating area), unpack the cars and have a BBQ with friends. That is where I write this piece. But to say that any picture could reflect my contentment, tranquillity, oneness with nature and my delight to have the opportunity to absorb this wonderful region and country, would under-estimate this experience….