In winter, women often stay around the house, tending to domestic chores, such as cooking, baking, and tending to the children, while men - even from small villages - often go into town. 


Baking bread over a fire on a cold winter day.

At home with the baby. 

Making tea and baking buttery bread in a wood-fired oven.

Meanwhile, men gather in town.


In spring, once the snow melts, and in fall, before winter arrives, the valley is much busier. Herds are taken out to graze for several hours each morning and again each afternoon. Milking is usually done twice a day, soon after the animals return from their walkabouts.


Grazing in the floodplain of the Munzur River. 


At the end of May or beginning of June, families load their horses with canvas tents, cooking pots, mattresses, clothing, and everything else they need to create a home away from home, then they trek with their herds up into the mountains that tower over the Munzur Valley. The climb is steep – some sections of the trail switchback for miles up nearly sheer slopes – so nomadic families move slowly, taking a few days to reach the high country, where streams trickle across swaths of grass littered with stones.


An entire village-worth of sheep and goats moves along a trail in the Munzur Mountains.

Camped in a yayla.


Every summer, husband and wife Efrail and Aynur San migrate from the village of El Baba, in the Munzur Valley, to their traditional alpine pasture, known as Keper. At the edge of a mile-long meadow - or yayla - they pitch their white, cone-shaped tents, which are dwarfed by the rocky peaks and ridges that rise around them. Nearby, the tents of others from their village (and the adjacent village of Gözeler) are set up, creating a little nomadic community about 9000 feet above sea level. Though each family builds a corral for their own sheep and goats, they often graze their animals together, taking them out on long looping routes so they don’t overuse any one area. 


The tents of Efrail and Aynur San, and others from the village of El Baba, pitched in a high meadow, are dwarfed by higher peaks. 

Below: Efrail and Aynur San milk a sheep