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Transhumance Activities in Sumbas (Osmaniye – Southern Turkey)

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Southern Anatolia has been used as winter quarters by nomadic people since ancient times. The proximity of Toros Mountains to the region and the mild climate conditions of the valleys in particular make the region suitable for stockbreeding. This stockbreeding process is carried out by moving the flock from the lowlands to higher plateaus in spring where they will spend the summer in the uplands (Bates 1971). While the lower areas of the Mediterranean region that are too hot and arid during summer are used in winter, higher mountainous areas are used in summer because they are abandoned in winter due to heavy snow (Bazin 1994:326). Winters are rainy and summer seasons are too hot and arid. In summer the temperature rises to 45°C. When the temperature rises too high in May, the people leave the lowlands, along with their animals, and go to the uplands from their villages, known as winter quarters. Staying in the lowlands is also a health threat due to malaria caused by mosquitoes (Ener 1957).

The nomadic tribes who lived an unsettled life were one of the most important elements that composed the Ottoman community. These tribes were engaged in stockbreeding and they had to continue their nomadic lifestyle in order to provide grazing lands for their animals. They used to set up their tents near cities and towns in winter, and wander to cooler regions in summer. This unsettled lifestyle of these nomadic tribes shows significant differences from other nomadic elements. It should be remembered that in winter some tribes conducted small-scale agriculture in their winter quarters as well as stockbreeding (Halaçoğlu 1988:14). In official records, the term “unsettled” was used for these tribes instead of “nomadic” for this reason (Halaçoğlu 1988; Kurt 1990). They would spend the nights around their small croplands in tents or huts made of reeds or rushes called “huğ” (Kurt 1990).

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5848/CSP.3107.00023

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region II
    The Mediterranean Basin is the largest of the five Mediterranean-climate regions, and one of the largest archipelagos in the world. The basin is located at the intersection of two major landmasses, Eurasia and Africa; and has around five thousand islands, which contribute much to its high diversity and spectacular scenery. This volume continues the analysis of the changes and impacts experienced by the native flora and fauna of the Basin first expounded in 'Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region'.
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