Photographer's Note

The term, "Yörük", is applied to nomadic Turks in Anatolia and Rumelia. These shepherds migrate into the uplands in the winter, and further down the mountains in the fall.The Yörüks travel a long distance. At the minimum, it takes a week to move from the uplands to the lowlands, or vice versa, and in some regions this can take as long as two weeks or even a month. It is a memorable sight to see these people as they move along with their vitality and endurance. In early May, the days begin to get warmer at sea level, where the Yörüks spend the winter and part of the spring. Then the pastures turn brown, and the leader of the group calls a meeting in his tent to decide on when to move. Once the day is set, the clan suddenly springs to action. The women do a large batch of laundry, sew new clothes, and bake bread for the trek, while the men repair the saddles for the horses and the pack animals. The time has come to move. Early in the morning the livestock are gathered and the drive begins. Then the beasts of burden are loaded with tents, woven articles, bedding and quilts, and of course provisions. Most of the Yörüks will be making the long journey on foot, but the children and the elderly go on horseback, as do the heads of families. With these mounts leading the way, and the beasts of burden in file behind, the clan slowly gets going. This is an occasion; the women, girls, lads and children are all dressed in their newest, brightest clothes; the long skirts are as flowered as the mountainsides themselves. The young girls, and newly wed ladies lead the animal procession, and are responsible for those great swaying burdens that carry all of their possessions. The lead camels are decked out in woven harnesses decorated with all sorts of beads, and their loads are covered with multi-colored kilims. After camping during the night along the way, the clan finally reaches the upland pastures. Everyone helps at the campsite. The route followed is the same each year, and if anyone should die along the way, which sometimes happens, they are buried in one of the graveyards that dot the wayside, or in a village cemetery if there happens to be one nearby. Summer is the time when the Yörük migration offers the greatest pageantry. Starting in September, the clan moves down the mountainsides to midway pastures where they can spend the fall. Then at the end of October they make the rest of the journey down to the winter pastures.

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Additional Photos by MEHMET CANAYDIN (CANAYDIN) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 15 W: 0 N: 18] (830)
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