Our home is a huge country, with thousands of years of history, wild and beautiful scenery and friendly and hospitable people. Our members are working to open the maze of old roads and trails in the countryside, and combine them into long-distance cultural routes and clusters of day-walks.
The Culture Routes Society
Turkey’s Culture Routes Society was established in July 2012 in order to protect Turkey’s existing culture routes, to promote the establishment of new routes, and to set best-practice standards for their development. As defined in the Society’s constitution, a culture route is a sustainable route or combination of routes following a historical, cultural or natural theme. Our routes are aimed at walkers, cyclists or horse-riders.
We see the routes as a means of deepening cultural understanding—both for city Turks, who are increasingly distanced from their rural past, and for international visitors who want to have greater insight into Turkey’s rural culture.
Aims of the Society:
We aim to bring benefits to the areas through which the routes pass, by involving local people in their creation and by offering them opportunities to host route-users in their homes and pensions.
We work with the relevant authorities to place historical sites and roads under preservation and sometimes support environmental campaigns.
We set standards for our routes, working to keep them maintained and signed to Grande Randonee standards. Our standards are also applied to the guidebooks, mapping and iphone applications.
We work with international organisations – the European Institute of Culture Routes and the World Trail Conference.
Turkey’s Culture Ministry intends joining the Council of Europe Extended Partial Agreement, which aims at fast-tracking the development of international culture routes, especially around the Mediterranean and in Eastern Europe.
We have association agreements with several cross-border Mediterranean routes and work with them to link Turkey to Europe and the Middle East.
Our Action Plan:
The immediate aims of the society are aimed at the publicising and protection of the routes. We:
- Help working groups to start new routes and produce guide books and maps for their routes
- Develop iphone applications for some of the routes (in a choice of languages). These show all the accommodation and services along the routes as well as historic sites, etc.
- Work with the Tourism Ministry to publish more material on the routes and represent them at tourism fairs in Europe (most of the existing walkers are Europeans, but we now have visitors from as far as China and Brazil as well as many Australians)
- Support independent trekkers – see the frequently asked questions page – or mail us your questions
- Petition the authorities to protect our routes as classified sites with a real and historic value. Many are under threat from HES works, mining and new road-making.
- Work with local authorities, especially the forestry authorities, to help villagers along the routes earn money from providing services for walkers – small pensions, transport services, restaurants, etc. We are currently working on projects on the Phrygian Way and Lycian Way.
- Work with foreign and local travel agencies to offer holidays on the routes. Our member travel agencies are listed on the right of each route page. Guided and self-guided tours are listed on the route pages, and you can view all our members’ tours from the main menu – under ‘tours’.
- Work with international bodies – we attend the meetings of the Institute of Culture Routes in Europe and the World Trails Conference in Korea. We adopt international standards and co-operate with other trail makers. If you would like to join us in a cross-border project, please contact us.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
“And these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed ”
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer.