Tortum Waterfall

Tortum Waterfall

One of the most remarkable natural treasures of Turkey and of Eastern Turkey in particular, is the Tortum Lake and Waterfall, 100km north of Erzurum. The lake 8 km long and 1 km wide was formed as the result of a great landslide which blocked the valley though which the Tortum River flowed. At the same time the water sought a new outlet over a fault with a drop of 40m. The hollow left in the Kemerlidag slope on the left of the valley by the fall of rock is still clearly visible.

Some geologists say that this landslide is a very old one. These experts, among whom are to be counted a number of foreign geologists believe that the landslide took place at the end of the Quaternary period. However there is also another opinion on this subject that the landslide was comparatively recent and could not have occurred more than a few centuries ago.

The Tortum Waterfall was the largest and most beautiful waterfall in Turkey. Since the completion of the Tortum Hydroelectric Plant water is drawn from the lake though canals and tunnels and allowed to rush down into the turbines. The waterfall is fed only from the surplus water and thus now functions only for a very short time during the winter months when the water level of the lake is exceptionally high. Now during the summer months the bed of this magnificent waterfall is dry.

After the great waterfall with its drop of 48 m. the river flowed over a series of cascades until its arrival in the Tevs Valley. The combination of cascades and waterfall was particularly beautiful. At the same time four small lakes were formed on the rubble from the landslide by water seeping from underground through the material from the rock fall. The water of these lakes is remarkably clear and blue.

These four small lakes-Incegöl, Karagöl, Efendigilin Gölü and Nazligilin Gölü-contain large quantities of trout. The Tortum Lake is surrounded by limestone marls of the Cretaceous Period. Earth pillars can be seen on the eastern shores of the lake. The view of the lake from the steep slopes along the edge is particularly beautiful as this is a landslide lake is depth begins from zero and reaches 100 in the deepest part. The lake lies about 100 m above sea level.

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