The Land of Roses and Lavender

The rose centre of Türkiye, Isparta, has the capacity to produce 65% of the world’s rose oil. Delicious edible products, such as rose delight and rose jam, are also obtained from the area’s roses and processed in modern factories. Various cosmetic products, such as rose water, rose oil, and rose perfumes and creams, are also produced. The annual rose harvest, which takes place at the end of May and June, is celebrated by residents and visitors alike.


In addition to abundant rose harvests, Isparta is currently distinguishing itself with lavender production. Today, the lavender gardens in Kuyucak village, in Isparta’s Keçiborlu district, constitute 90% of Türkiye’s lavender production. Processed wet or dried after the harvest, lavender is then transformed into creams, soaps, oils, colognes, and other products. Following the rose harvest, the lavender harvest starts from the end of July to mid-August.


Shining Star of the Lakes Region

The charms of Isparta extend beyond the province’s abundant rose and lavender gardens, including much of the Lakes Region – an area in the Mediterranean Basin featuring several lakes. During your trip to Isparta, you can visit Eğirdir, the largest lake in the region, and Kovada, set in a national park. In the Eğirdir district, the “CittaSlow” city of Eğirdir is on the shore of Eğirdir Lake, a splendid natural wonder surrounded by the district’s famous apple orchards. You can walk or bicycle around the lake, enjoy boat tours and dine on fresh fish at a lakefront eatery. There are two islands in Eğirdir Lake: the relatively deserted Can Island is often used for camping and picnicking. Hosting a village of wooden houses and narrow streets, Yeşil Island is known for the Aya Stefanos Church, which is considered a prominent Christian site. In addition to Eğirdir Lake, the district is home to Eğirdir Castle, dating from the Eastern Roman period, and the 800-year-old Hızırbey Mosque. Kovada offers a scenic setting with its unique flora and fauna, and the national park around the lake is a favourite destination for nature photography, wildlife observation, hiking enthusiasts, and campers.


Trekking Adventures amid History and Nature

The Lakes Region features several ancient cities, and hiking trails offer a delightful way to visit these sites. The Saint Paul and Pisidia trails traverse archaeological sites in the Isparta province, with Saint Paul’s Trail, one of the longest hiking routes in Türkiye, reaching from Perge in Antalya and passing through Yazılı Canyon in Isparta’s Çandır village. The canyon, an oxygen storehouse, is historically significant due to its temples and rock inscriptions.  Rock climbing in the canyon is popular, as are experiences like rafting on the Göksu River. The Saint Paul Trail also passes through the ancient city of Adada and the Eğirdir and Yalvaç districts, ending at the ancient city of Pisidia Antiocheia.


After visiting sacred sites such as the Temple of Trajan and the Emperors and the temple of Zeus Megistos-Serapis in Adada, you can see impressive structures such as the Temple of Augustus, the Roman Baths, and the Monumental Fountain in Pisidia Antiocheia, located near the town of Yalvaç, another member of the CittaSlow network. Antiocheia, where Saint Paul presented his first sermon of record, is also notable for the church dedicated to the saint. Findings from the ancient city are exhibited in the Yalvaç Museum. Additionally, while in Yalvaç, you can sample traditional local dishes like Yalvaç hamursuzu, made with butter, tahini and mashed potatoes, and Yalvaç güllacı, prepared with a type of curd.


Pisidia, another noteworthy hiking trail in the region, offers an opportunity to visit the ancient Adada and Antiocheia in Isparta and the surrounding cities. Some of the most striking sites on the route include Sagalassos Ancient City. In the Ağlasun district of Burdur, Sagalassos contains the 1,800-year-old Antonine Fountain. Köprülü Canyon in Antalya is also worth visiting, as is Selge, which is within the borders of the National Park and Termessos, one of the best-preserved ancient cities in Türkiye.