Published On: Sat, May 4th, 2019

Macahel, “Green Heaven on Earth” in north eastern Turkey, next to Georgia

Macahel, “Green Heaven on Earth” in north eastern Turkey, next to Georgia

MACAHEL, which is in BORCKA district of ARTVIN in north eastern Turkey, is located in a valley on the slopes of KARCAL Mountains. The region took its present form in 1921 with the border agreement between Russia and Turkey. After a referendum held in the region, 12 of the 18 villages located in the valley decided to stay in Georgia territory which was Soviet Union then whereas the remaining 6 villages decided to stay within the borders of Turkey.

The names of 6 villages in Turkey are CAMILI (the central village), Efeler, Kayalar, Uğur, Düzenli and Maral. The Georgian border passes right below CAMILI Village

MACAHEL is one of the unique beauties of the Black Sea region. It is a natural wonder surrounded by mountains and Turkey’s first biosphere area with its rich flora and fauna. Those who have visited this place say it is a green valley everybody should definitely see once, at least.

As the winter conditions are very tough, the snow stays for a long time and the roads are blocked. In fact, one of the main reasons MACAHEL is so untouched could be the difficulty of reaching this place. It is as if because the roads remain closed for 4-6 months due to the snow and no one from outside the village can reach the village, the time has stopped in MACAHEL resulting in a well preserved landscape. This is not to ignore the positive contribution of local people, certainly.

The region is so precious that it was declared as “World Biosphere Reserve Area” by UNESCO in 2006. World Biosphere Reserve Area means “Areas approved by UNESCO in order to ensure protection of areas of global importance and the sustainable development of the local population”. There are supposed to be over 600 such reserve areas in the world.

The most important livelihood of peasants is beekeeping/honey production. A rich flora exists in the region due to the difference in altitude and it hosts the ‘Pure Caucasian Bee’. Beekeepers, who have been dealing with honey production for many years, have been sharing their knowledge both on national and international platforms and they are working on preserving and improving the quality of honey. In addition to UNESCO, TEMA Foundation and WWF play an active role for the protection of MACAHEL.


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