AYDER

The tourism hub of the Kaçkars, this high-pasture village lies nestled in a scenic valley at 1300 meters.  Here snowy slopes slide towards Ayder's rooftops, and waterfalls cascade to the river below.  Charming alpine chalet structures dot the steep hillsides, and all new buildings must be in traditional style (sheathed in wood).  Ayder is home to thermal springs, and a visit to the gender-segregated bathhouses to test the waters (at 55 degrees C) will prove an utterly relaxing treat.  Continuing the ascent past Ayder, you will come the end of the road at Kavrun (elevation:  2240 meters), driving past countless waterfalls, rushing streams, and absolutely breathtaking vistas.  Few travellers (Turkish or foreign) make it as far as Kavrun, a tiny village above the treeline with several small cafés and fabulous views of some of the tallest peaks in the Kaçkars.

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