7 Days in Artvin

Barhal, Artvin. A very beautiful valley in the North-East part of Turkey (if you know Turkish, you may want to read this).

Until 1950′s there wasn’t any major road leading to this valley, and people were forced to go across the Kaçkar Mountains in order to go to the closest city, Rize. It would take days to go, and days to come back. It is not hard to imagine that this place was not a lively junction for many travelers for this reason.

This interesting and unique place has many endemic flowers and insects waiting to be discovered. Moreover, due it’s remoteness until recent times, it also has been a cradle for an endemic culture and social structure as well. Traditions in Barhal Valley is quite different than the general social conventions of Turkey. Its diverse wild life, along with its culture and traditions, deserve to be protected and transfered to the next generations.

However, due to the lack of common sense and reason, Turkish government is about to build a very large dam into this valley, which will eventually fill up a good portion of it with water. The dam that is going to destroy natural and social heritage of Barhal forever is not the only one. There are more than 1800 dam projects that are going on in the country as a result of scattered and poor resistance from the public.

Barhal and its terrible fate is one serious case, but if you are interested to know more about the concurrent ecological problems facing Turkey, I would strongly suggest you to read this article:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320711002527