Antalya home to most number of national parks in Turkey
ANTALYA – Anadolu AgencyThe Mediterranean province of Antalya, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, is also home to the highest number of nature parks, followed by Ankara, the Aegean provinces of Balıkesir and Muğla, and the Black Sea provinces of Artvin and Kastamonu.
Although covering a relatively small part of the world’s total landmass, Turkey is home to 2.4 percent of the world’s plant species and 2.9 percent of its mammals. It also has species belonging to regions of three of the world’s 37 floral areas, namely the Irano-Turanian region, the Mediterranean region and the transition region from Europe to Siberia.
According to data compiled from the official figures of the Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks, Turkey is currently home to a total of 40 national parks, 31 natural conservation areas, 112 natural monuments and 206 natural parks.
While 40 national parks cover a total of more than 800,000 hectares of land, Antalya is home to four national parks – the highest number across the country.
Antalya is home to the Altınbeşik Cave National Park, established in 1994 around a subterranean lake on Manavgat Hill; the Beydağları Coastal National Park, also known as the Olympos Beydağları National Park; the Köprülü Canyon National Park, a canyon that stretches for 14 kilometers and sometimes as deep as 400 meters; as well as the Güllük Mountain Termessos National Park, the city’s oldest national park which is also home to the ancient city of Termessos, one of the country’s best preserved ancient destinations.
Antalya is followed by five other provinces, all of which are home to two national parks, Ankara, Balıkesir, Muğla, Artvin and Kastamonu.
The largest national park, however, is the Ağrı Dağı National Park (also known as Mount Ararat National Park), covering 88,014 hectares of land along the border between the northeastern provinces of Ağrı and Iğdır, near the country’s borders with Armenia and Iran. The second largest park is the Lake Beyşehir National Park located in the southwest of the Central Anatolian province of Konya covering some 86,855 hectares of land.
In addition to the protected areas and parks, Turkey also hosts a total 81 wildlife protection areas declared between 2005 and 2014, covering nearly 12 million hectares of land.
The largest wildlife protection area is located in the Çat district of the eastern Erzurum province, followed by a second park in the same province.