CONTRIBUTED BY TUTI HAWKINS
On a Sunday morning, our family wanted to go on a hike, but we did not want to drive too far and we have already been to Snake Castle. With a little research online, we came across Anavarza Castle which is only about a 1 hour’s drive from base. The drive was easy (not a lot of cars on the road) plus there were beautiful scenic views of the mountains and landfills. ODR also offers a group trip to Anavarza, but we decided to venture out on our own since we have a small child.
ODR’s description of Anavarza Castle: “Anavarza Castle is built on a 200 meter high majestic outcrop of limestone and has a clear view of the ancient remains of the city below and the surrounding area. It’s one of our harder hikes as you climb over 400 stairs on the side of a steep cliff. Bring TL coins to purchase çay (tea) at the end of the hike.”
As we approached the bottom of the mountain, an old Turkish man directed us to park near his tea shop/parking lot. He greeted us with some hot çay and he sat with us for awhile speaking Turkish; a super sweet gentleman. Of course, we didn’t have a clue as to what he was saying, so naturally our only response was, “evet evet” (yes–yes) to all his questions. After spending about 20 minutes with him drinking our çay, it was time to begin our trek up this steep hill. We didn’t have any TL coins. The smallest bill we had on hand was 10TL. We handed him our bill. We were hoping to get change back, but who were we kidding? He pocketed the 10TL and offered us more hot çay. Due to the language barrier, we chalked it up to, “Oh well, it would have cost us $5 to park at any national park in the states and we drank some tea too.” I would definitely recommend that you bring TL coins!
If you have a small child, I would not recommend this hike without the proper carrier. My husband carried our three year old in a Kelty hiking backpack and at times it was difficult for him to maneuver through parts of the trail with the excess weight on his back. Some of the stairs were slippery, but not the whole entire climb had stairs. There was loose gravel for the majority of the hike. However, once you made it to the very top of the mountain and you see the amazing views of the ancient remains of the city, it was absolutely breathtaking.
The hike takes about 1.5-2 hours to get to the top. I felt like I had just climbed Mount Everest, all while standing next to the Turkish flag waving above us – Although it was more like ‘Turkey Everest.’ Ha!
Address: Dilekkaya Köyü Yolu, Dilekkaya/Adana Province, Turkey
Google Coordinates: 37.250000, 35.900000