‘Swimming islands’ to lure tourists

‘Swimming islands’ to lure tourists

BİNGÖL - Anatolia News Agency
‘Swimming islands’ to lure tourists

The ‘swimming islands’ can move about on Lake Turna. The lake has been surrounded by wire fences and view terraces have been placed in the area to invite people to watch the beautiful scene of the monument-like islands. AA photo

A new project is attempting to save the eastern province of Bingöl’s “swimming” Turna Lake islands. The islands, located in the Solhan district, are badly damaged and facing extinction, so the “Swimming Island, a Key to Tourism” project is aiming to protect this natural environmental heritage.

The project has recently been put into effect by the Solhan district governorship and it will also protect other natural heritage of Bingöl.

The “swimming islands” can move about on the lakes and the islands are famous in the region during the winter, although the area attracts tourists in both the winter and the summer. The volume of tourists indicates that there is enough interest in the heritage of Bingöl to justify the launching of the project.

Natural monument 
Launched by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, the project is also supported by the General Directorate of National Parks. The islands have been taken under protection as the “Swimming Islands Natural Monument.” 

Within the scope of the project, which is also supported by the Fırat Development Agency, possible damage to the islands will be prevented. The lake has been surrounded by wire fences and view terraces have been placed in the area to invite people to watch the beautiful scene of the swimming islands. There are also small mountain lodges and picnic facilities have been established for tourists to come and stay in the area. 

The Swimming Islands are located in the Aksakal area of Bingöl. A local from the area, Felemez Akan, said the profile of the islands had been raised thanks to the many TV stations and journalists promoting them.

‘Islands were not visible because of grass’
“The lake’s surrounding are used to be covered with long grass. This is why the islands were not visible,” said Akan. “We called this area Gole Kuling (Lake Turna) in the Zaza language. People call them the Swimming Islands in Turkish. Nobody knew about them in the past. This place was full of grass but then this was burned and the Swimming Islands became visible. People came to the area and informed television channels and newspapers, and in this way the area became very famous.” 

Akan said the exact dept of the lake was unknown, but was estimated to be 60 meters. “The islands move with the wind and they don’t move when the weather isn’t windy,” he said. 

In winter the area is like a marsh and it could be dangerous to try to move the islands, Akan added. “People from around Turkey come here to these islands. Families come here in the morning and have picnics. People come here not only in the winter but in all seasons, as transportation to the area is very easy. It’s a magnificent place and it’s unique in the world.” he said.