A summer retreat for rock climbers escaping the heat Isparta’s Kapıkaya combines ancient ruins with stunning climbing routes among the limestone peaks.
In the heart of Turkey’s lake district the province of Isparta is a beautiful place of soaring mountains, rivers, fields of lavender and rose, pine forests, and, of course, lakes. Isparta’s natural beauty and varied landscape make it one of Turkey’s most attractive places for enjoying the great outdoors. With over 500 kilometres of hiking trails, magnificent limestone peaks for rock climbing, freshwater sailing, caves, skiing, and campgrounds Isparta is a unique place to explore.
Known as the Rose City for its production of rose water, rose perfumes, and rose flavored dishes Isparta turns pink from spring to fall. Roses have been agriculturally cultivated here for over two hundred years, much of the work of harvesting and processing still taking place by hand in small picturesque villages.
The name Isparta is the Turkish form of Sparta, though how exactly this place in the Anatolian mountains came to share the name of the Greek city seems to be a mystery. Little is known about the founding of Isparta, and, as the Spartans of Greece are only known to have founded two other colony cities (both in Italy) it’s unlikely that modern Sparta has much connection to the famous city-state in Greece.
The mountains of Isparta are home to a number of historical cities of the Pisidians who preferred to build their cities high in the mountains where they could use the natural cliffs and crags as defense against invasion. In religious history Saints Paul and Barnabas traveled through the region; the remains of cities they visited can still be visited here today.