Falconry in the Pontos Mountains


The Pontos Mountains are located in northeastern Turkey, near the borders of Georgia and Armenia, and from what I can tell, are extremely isolated. Because of their proximity to these borders, the region has a strange history. The Black Sea is purportedly the site of a great flood more than 7500 years ago, which equalized the level of its water with that of the Mediterranean. With a surge of water more than 400 times stronger than Niagara Falls, scientists claim that this flood has imprinted itself into our history as the Great Flood – what scientests have called human mythology, but you might know from the epic of Gilgamesh or the story of Noah’s Ark. In the early 1900s, the region’s Armenian population was annihilated and around 3000 orphans were drowned in the Black Sea. In the 1980s, Turkish officials decided to offload and destroy all state documents older than 20 years. These tons of documents dating back more than 500 years were brought to the town of Trabzon in the region and dumped into the sea.

This region is also home to the strange hobby of training falcons. A holdover from centuries past, falconry is now a dying art. Animal rights, modern lifestyles, and a lack of interest are all contributing factors, but this article in The White Review is one of the most interesting things I have read in a long time. Split into 10 parts, the article is extremely long but it is worth your time to check out parts I, III, and IV for background on the Pontos Mountain region, the history of falconry in the region, and what the 300 estimated remaining falconers in this area spend a season of the year doing – trapping, training, and hunting with falcons. Read the full article here.

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