Above, the face under the veil.          

Left, a bride in a different kind of traditional dress.

Below, revelers dance at a wedding in Ovacik.        

 
 
 

Perhaps most importantly, Alevis from Munzur like to get married in Munzur, in the summertime, because they know that that's where their friends and family will be, regardless of whether they live most of the year in Ovacik, Izmir, or Berlin. 

 
 

Ceyda Kıluçer (above) lives in Istanbul for most of the year, but she and her parents go to Munzur every summer, where they help her mother's sister with the herd of sheep that she brings up to the high mountains. For a couple of months, Ceyda spends her days with the animals in the alpine meadows and her nights sleeping in a white, cone-shaped tent.  Her family does this in part because they truly enjoy it but also because, as Ceyda's father, Ergül, says, "It's really important for her to have a personal connection with nature, as an Alevi and as a human being, and she's never going to get that in Istanbul." 

 

Ergül Kıluçer, in the Munzur Mountains.

 

Even with all of the displacement that drove Alevi Kurds away from Dersim; even though those who left, whether by force or by choice, have established lives in other parts of the country and around the world - some for more than one generation; Munzur remains a vital touchstone for them.

 
 

As the age-old form of seasonal migration - taking sheep and goats to the mountains - is on the decline, another kind of migration has evolved in its place: the seasonal, spiritual migration back to the Munzur Valley, from wherever those with roots there have spread. 

 
 

The Alevis have a very important saying that's a bit enigmatic: "The heart can be broken, but not the path." There has been a substantial amount of heartbreak in Munzur over the years, but something about this place and very fact that they have it, has helped keep the path intact. In many ways, it seems as though the Alevi path runs through the Munzur Valley - it's that important to the religion, to the way of life, and to just about anyone whose family has ever called it home.