Levent Valley: Where dreams melt into reality

Published 23.09.2017 00:00
The mesmerizing rock formations of the valley formed some 65 million years ago.
The mesmerizing rock formations of the valley formed some 65 million years ago.

Known as ‘The Grand Canyon of Anatolia,' Levent Valley mesmerizes visitors with rock formations that are 65 million years old

At first glance, Levent Valley seems to be a very surreal place, with numerous caves, cliffs and rock formations that resemble figures ranging from people's faces to birds in flight. Located in the Central Anatolian province of Malatya in the Akçadağ district, Levent Valley is known for geological features that make it one of the world's most precious natural areas. The valley stretches 28 kilometers (17 miles) in length, and it is also home to ancient ruins from the Neolithic Age, adding more magic to its mystic aura. Situated 240 meters above the valley floor among the steep rocks of the valley that stretch as high as 1,400 meters (4,600 feet), a viewing terrace made of steel and glass offers a bird's-eye view of the stunning landscape to visitors, while the caves and rock formations surrounding the viewing terrace are illuminated with a solar-powered lighting system.

In addition to its rock formations, the Levent Valley is also home to famous fauna, flora and endemic plants. Thanks to the high concentration of rare findings in nature here, local authorities are working hard for Levent Valley's inclusion on the UNESCO Global Geo-Parks List. Regarded as a "stopover" for nature enthusiasts who want to get away from the stress of urban life, the valley also offers visitors a chance to relax with breath-taking views and is a favorite among amateur and professional shutterbugs alike.

Located 240 meters above the valley floor among the steep rocks that stretch as high as 1,400 meters (4,600 feet), the glass terrace offers a 360-degree bird's-eye view.

The Levent Valley often hosts various events as well, including the "International Malatya Photo Camp," organized by the Malatya Art of Photography and Cinema Association (MAFSAD), and the "Levent Valley International Outdoor Sports Festival," held in association with the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, the Akçadağ Municipality Extreme Climbing and Outdoor Sports Club and İnönü University. As a result of these events, a large number of local and foreign photographers and athletes come to the valley for camping. The recent Levent Valley International Outdoor Sports Festival hosted a number of visitors, including Swiss slackliner Samuel Volery, who walked along 1,210 meters of slack rope at a height of 240 meters in the valley, breaking the previous world record of 1,020 meters previously set by Nathan Paulin and Danny Mensik in Aiglun, France.

The observation terrace installed in the valley is perhaps the most striking part of this natural wonder. The viewing terrace is made of glass, giving you a 360-view of the valley as if you are in the sky. Thanks to the light balls scattered around the valley, visitors are nothing less than mesmerized upon climbing up to the viewing terrace. Since it opened, the terrace has seen nearly 1 million tourists, and the observation deck is increasing in popularity every year. One of the local administrators said: "We constructed the viewing terrace amid efforts to introduce the natural, historical beauties of the valley to tourists. The Levent Valley is an important center of attraction for both local tourists from Malatya and people from around the country, with its clean air and amazing scenery."

Lütfiye Mustafa, who came to the region from Bulgaria on vacation with her family, said the valley is very beautiful. Explaining that this was her first time visiting the observation deck, Mustafa said: "The guides were hardly able to persuade me to go up to the glass terrace since it is at such an unfathomable height. At first, I felt dizzy and just felt very bad. However, I gradually got used

to it. Levent Valley has very unique rock structures. I am very impressed. This place seemed different to me, like a magical place. It is a must-see for everyone."

On the other hand, Neyla Baza from Algeria said: "The Levent Valley is wonderful. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I am visiting the valley and its cliffs for the first time, and they are very beautiful. I encourage everyone to explore and see this place [for themselves]."

Mustafa Akbaş of Malatya said that he came to the valley while visiting the area with his family. "I was in awe of the valley when I first saw it. Its soil and rock structures are reminiscent of ocean waves. It's a deep and very impressive valley. I wish I had time to engage in climbing or outdoor sports and to explore this place more closely," Akbaş said, adding that spending time on the terrace, right in the middle of this unique valley, is a truly moving experience for all who come here.

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