Artvin’s Green Paradise Above the Clouds: Maçahel Valley


Maçahel Valley (Camili Basin) is one of the most impressive regions of the Eastern Black Sea Region with its lush nature spread throughout Artvin and Georgia’s Autonomous Republic of Adjara, in Borcka district of Artvin . The valley, which is located on both sides of the border between the two countries at the southwestern tip of Georgia and the northeastern tip of Turkey , is 25 km from the Black Sea coast.

Macahel Valley, which has the oldest rainforest in Europe, is the first biosphere area of ​​our country with its rich flora and fauna as the only place in Turkey with a rainforest. With its different kinds of old trees and untouched nature, the valley offers a unique atmosphere to get away from everyday life and embrace the greenery.

Macahel Valley

Maçahel Valley (Macahel/Macahela/Maçahela), located at the easternmost edge of the Eastern Black Sea Region, on the borders of Adjara Autonomous Region of Turkey and Georgia, is fascinating with its lush nature, rich flora and fauna. Macahel Valley, also known as Camili Basin, has turned into one of the most popular places in our country with the increasing share of travel lovers on social media in recent years.

The valley, which has the oldest rainforest in Europe, is the only place in Turkey with a rainforest. Located at the foot of the Karçal Mountains, the valley was divided into two between Turkey and the Soviet Union with the border agreement between the Soviet Union and Turkey in 1921. With the agreement, 12 of the 18 villages in the valley were left to the Soviets (Georgia) and 6 of them remained within the borders of Turkey.

The names of the 6 villages remaining in the Turkish part of the Maçahel Valley are Camili, Efeler, Kayalar, Uğur, Regular and Maral. Camili, one of these villages, is located in the center of the Maçahel Valley. The name Maçahel is formed from the combination of the Georgian words maca, which means hand and wrist, and hel. The rifles made in the past in the region are also called Macahela.

Maçahel is hidden as a series of hidden valleys in an area surrounded by mountains on all four sides. The only road to Maçahel from Borcka direction consists of a passage that descends to 400 meters after rising to a height of 1,850 meters in Batamya (Küçük Yayla).

In Maçahel Valley, the Georgian border passes just below Camili Village. Due to the harsh winter conditions due to the high altitude of the region, with a special agreement between Georgia and Turkey, the residents of the village are taken to Georgia by private vehicles instead of Borcka or Artvin in case of emergency.

Macahel has managed to preserve its natural texture as one of the places least affected by human influence, due to being covered with snow in the 4-6 months of the year and the difficulty of transportation.

Macahel Valley, selected as the ‘World Biosphere Reserve Area’ by UNESCO in 2006, is the pride of our country as the only place in Turkey out of 621 reserve areas in the world. The main livelihood of the villages in the Maçahel Valley is apiculture. In Maçahel, one of the places where the world’s best quality honey is grown, some non-governmental organizations have special studies to strengthen local development.

How to get to Maçahel Valley

The closest airport to Maçahel Valley is in Batumi , Georgia. Batumi airport is used for domestic flights under the name ‘Artvin Hopa’. Turkish citizens using this airport can fly to Batumi without a passport, only with a new type of identity card, and take a bus from Batumi to Artvin Hopa.

Batumi Airport is 104 km from Camili Village in the center of the Macahel Valley. HAVAŞ buses provide free shuttle service between Batumi Airport and Hopa Port for all passengers using Batumi Airport for Artvin Hopa domestic flights. There are regular minibus services from Hopa Bus Terminal to Borcka every hour. You can take the minibus from Borcka town center to Camili Village.

Other airport options for reaching Macahel by air are Erzurum or Trabzon. You can go from Trabzon to Artvin and be in Borcka after about 5 hours, and from here you can be in the hidden paradise Maçahel after a maximum of 2.5 hours with Camili minibuses.

Another gateway to Maçahel is the exit to Georgia and the Georgian border gate, which is located in Maçahel today, is located here. After November, with heavy snowfall, the gateway connecting Macahel to Borcka is closed. Located on the Borçka-Camili highway, after the Regular Village, the center of Camili is 50 km from Borcka and 82 km from Artvin.

In order to reach Camili, it is necessary to go a very tough road after Borçka. After Borçka, Karagöl, there is a 20 km road to Camili. On your way to Camili, you pass the Cankurtaran Pass at an altitude of 2,900 meters, where you can stop and enjoy the magnificent view and take photos as you please.

If you are considering transportation by bus, all vehicles pass through Borçka when you take the buses departing for Artvin. You can get off at Borcka and go to Macahel.

The hidden paradise of photographers, hikers and nature lovers, Maçahel is a fascinating region with its natural and untouched beauty.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.