Mountains and Tradition
The historian Fernand Braudel says that: “Traditions are best preserved in the mountains.” Antalya, which envelops the Gulf of Pamphylia, and the provinces of Burdur and Isparta in its hinterland are one of the areas where traditional culture is best preserved. This is mainly because the modes of production and relationships have remained substantially unchanged until the present day.
These traditions still continue, because the limited production possibilities of the people of the Taurus have remained unchanged for centuries. The cultural mix between the coastal and mountainous areas has diverged and evolved over the years enabling visitors to see the contrasts. Since arable land is sparse in the Taurus Mountains many people migrate to Antalya or to the larger cities of Izmir, Manisa, Bursa and Istanbul in the Marmara and Aegean regions.
Whereas they are reduced to a few families in winter, the population of the villages increase significantly during the summer months. People hurled near and far from their villages, return to the place where their ancestors are buried and where they can reminisce with relatives and friends. These villagers do not forget where they came from, even though they have become urbanised. Instead they return to build modern houses in place of the earthen roofed homes they abandoned long ago. Old village houses are also being restored by taking traditional features into consideration. The restored villages especially attract the interest of foreigners, who visit these villages in increasing numbers. Most of these restored villages are situated to the east of the Gulf in mountain settlements. They include the Sarıhacılar, Büyükalan, Belenalan, Bucakalan villages of Akseki district and were known as İlvat villages in the past. They serve as an example to other villages in the region, which have, in turn, started to restore derelict houses. The Çekül Foundation plays an important role by guiding and reviving these abandoned villages in the Taurus Mountains.