İhtiyarşahap Mountains are one of the most important mountainous regions of Turkey with their natural beauties, rich vegetation, historical and cultural structure. The İhtiyarşahap Mountains, which are an extension of the Taurus Mountains, are located in the south of Lake Van, within the borders of Bitlis and Van provinces. Its highest point is Artos Mountain at an altitude of 3650 meters.
İhtiyarşahap Mountains: Magnificent, Mysterious and Fascinating Mountains
These mountains are especially important for nature sports. It is an ideal place for mountaineering, camping, hiking, cycling and nature photography. Continental Eastern Anatolia and Continental Mediterranean precipitation regimes are dominant around the Ihtiyarşahap Mountains. For this reason, Bitlis environment has humid and temperate climate conditions, while Van region has drier and colder climatic conditions. Paleozoic and Mesozoic period carbonate metamorphic rocks, quartz marbles, shale, schist, phyllite, dolomite and limestones dominate the lithology. In the north, Mesozoic age ophiolites and volcanics are encountered.
İhtiyarşahap Mountains is the 5th mountainous area that suffered the most glaciation in the Quaternary after the Eastern Black Sea, Munzur, Bolkar and Aladağ mountains during the glacial period. Narlıca Valley in the northern part of the mountain is the area where glaciation is best observed. Glaciers have formed in more than 20 valleys, reaching 200 km², glaciers hanging from the summit up to 2000 m. Moraine deposits can be seen in large areas. It has been determined that a glacier in the central part of the mountains is 17 km long. It is calculated that the temperature during the glacial period was 8-11 °C colder than today. Today, there are no active glaciers in the İhtiyarşahap Mountains.
The height of Arnos Mountain, Arnas Mountain or Kepçe Mountain, which is another high point of the İhtiyarşahap Mountains, located between Bahçesaray and Çatak districts, is 3547 meters. It separates the provinces of Siirt and Bitlis from each other. There are many beautiful places and hiking routes in the region that mountaineers and nature lovers visit. Arnos Mountain is also a popular area for trekking, rock climbing and hiking.
Climbing the İhtiyarşahap Mountain
Those who want to climb the İhtiyarşahap Mountains should be physically and mentally prepared to reach the summits of the mountains. Because these mountains are considered as one of the most challenging mountains in Turkey. Mountaineers must have the necessary equipment and skills to cope with high altitudes, rough weather and technical climbs. However, together with the difficult natural conditions, İhtiyarşahap Mountains is a place that fascinates mountaineers with its natural beauties. The mountains feature glacial valleys, peaks, deep valleys and stunning scenery, as well as a wide variety of natural life. It is possible to come across many wild animal species such as snow leopards, hook-horned mountain goats, wild goats, bears, wolves and foxes in the mountains.
To summarize, this mountain range is a secluded natural wonder. While the precipitation regimes of the Continental Eastern Anatolia and the Continental Mediterranean vary around the mountains, the Paleozoic and Mesozoic period rocks and traces of the glaciation period in the region are among the elements that attract the attention of nature lovers. İhtiyarşahap Mountains, natural beauties and wildlife continue to fascinate nature lovers. You should definitely visit this magnificent and secluded wonder of nature.
You may also want to learn about Turkey’s highest mountain, Mount Ararat. Please click on the link to read more about majestic Mount Ararat.