Slow city Uzundere not so slow anymore: Extreme sports sprout in Turkey's Erzurum

Slow city Uzundere not so slow anymore: Extreme sports sprout in Turkey's Erzurum

Known for its history and natural wonders, Erzurum's Uzundere district, which is one of the slow cities in Turkey, is now a favorite destination for extreme sports enthusiast

Selected as "Turkey's 11th Slow City" by the International Cittaslow Association due to its historical and natural beauties, Erzurum's Uzundere district has become the new favorite spot for extreme athletes.

The district, which has hosted many civilizations in its 3,000 year history, is in line for becoming the new address for athletes interested in base jumping and rope jumping because of its high mountains, as well as the Tortum Waterfall, Tortum Lake, Yedigöller (Seven Lakes), many bridges, historical churches and plains.

Extreme athlete Cengiz Koçak, who determines which mountains to be jumped and jumps with the first parachute, jumped with his team from the fascinating mountain, which he called "Dadaş frower."

Base and rope jumpers from Turkey and around the world enjoy the stunning view as they launch themselves from the hills of Uzundere.

Uzundere Mayor Halis Özsoy told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they are trying to diversify the tourism network of the district, adding that for this reason they lean towards the kind of exciting sports that will pique the tourists' interest.

"Uzundere, with its rising brand value in rural tourism, is trying to have a say in adventure tourism. So, we started to focus on the sports with high adrenalin that very few people can do in the world, such as rope jumping and base jumping," Özsoy said.

Özsoy said that they try to make the city an important destination in adventure tourism, while also developing these sports by including local people, pointing out that the local and foreign tourists who come to the district benefit from many areas.

"We organize mountaineering camps on the weekends, and young people of the region are doing small climbs in the camps. Our district's photo safaris are a blessing for geographers and geologists. It is also possible to obtain information about the geographical formations of this place by taking photos," Özsoy continued, noting that in this respect, they consider the rare characteristics of the district as the products of tourism. "Just behind this mountain where the jump is made is the region where the First World War took place, and it is of great importance for us," he said.

Özsoy added that the areas for mountain sports such as mountain trekking and mountain biking were also well represented in the district.

Extreme athlete Cengiz Kocak also said that he has made 600-700 jumps on land and 6-7,000 jumps from the airplanes so far.

Koçak stated that his Russian friends who are into extreme sports came to the city and established a system, which is the first and only system in Turkey conducted in a sustainable manner.

Koçak, who is originally from Erzurum, said this place, which he called "Dadas frower" is Turkey's second highest jumping cliff, highlighting that it is different from the highest cliffs of the world, because it has about 20 separate jumping areas in the immediate vicinity. "This is a very rich and wonderful playground. There is nowhere in Europe or in the world with so many places to jump," Koçak said. "In this respect, it has great potential. There are people who do not know anything about Uzundere. With an event we want to organize in April, people will accommodate here, see its beauties and leave with a different experience."

Explaining that rope jumping is a difficult and exciting sport, Koçak said those doing it will never forget this moment. Underlining that anyone who jumps from here will undoubtedly remember Uzundere throughout their lives, Koçak said this district, which now offers an opportunity for base jumping and rope jumping sports, has the potential to be the center of these sports in Turkey, adding that Uzundere is also a very suitable place for mountaineering and ice climbing.

"This place has everything to become Turkey's extreme sports village. People can do rock and ice climbing, canoeing, rope jumping, paragliding, and many other sports here," Koçak noted. "It is so hard to find this richness in a small area anywhere else in the world. My concern is to make use of these possibilities."

Stressing that they want to utilize Uzundere's existing potential, Koçak also said they plan to carry out some projects which suit the local context.

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