“İbrahim Üssünoğlu Effendi was a farmer who earned his living from his land. Everything was fine during the summer.
However, with the arrival of winter he faced ever growing financial problems. Assuming that the hay stocked in the barn wasn’t enough during winter, he decided to turn his horse, Doru, which he himself had raised, loose. Doru had difficulty in getting accustomed to his new situation. He returned home and tried to open the gate of the barn. But the gate of the barn in which he had spent his life remained closed. He departed from his home in despair. He met Çilkır, who was a horse turned loose just like Doru, while he was wandering around the mountains all alone. Çilkır wanted to join Doru, as he had been living alone for a long time. While they were walking together, they came across a herd of horses, some of which were strong and some who were puny. They started to spend their days together. Doru began a new and a challenging way of life. However, he found it difficult to live without the colt he had named Altay, which stayed behind in the village.”
Doru is the main character of Abbas Sayar’s novel “Yılkı Atı” (Loose Horse), written by Abbas Sayar. This horse was a great help to its owner when he was young, but he was discarded and forgotten as he grew older. This book, in a way, depicts the desperation of villagers struggling with poverty and the relations of horses among themselves. It touches our conscience with every detail.
Wild horses await you
They say that wild horses love high mountains and climb as high up as possible. Maybe it is due to the fact that they think they were left behind. We heard that the number of wild horses exceeds 500 on Spil Mountain in Manisa province. They are so many in number that they are the symbol of the mountain, which measures 1,300 meters at the summit. Actually, it can be said that wild horses living on Spil Mountain are luckier than Doru and his friends, as the Directorate of Environment and Forestry placed them under protection. The Manisa Provincial Directorate of Environment and Forestry then put together a five-person-team to prevent wild horses from damaging picnic fields and to protect the horses from rustlers. The history of the wild horses living on Spil Mountain dates back to the period of the Ottomans. In those days, shahzadahs’ (the sultan’s son) horses were turned loose for a while to feed and to get used to running. They were then trained and entered service with the shahzadahs to be used when necessary. Afterwards, those horses were set free. Therefore, the number of the wild horses grew bigger year by year. It is clear that Spil Mountain is home to a great number of wild animals, as rabbits, foxes, weasels, squirrels, red legged partridges and grey partridges live on this mountain. Among predator birds living on this mountain are hawks, eagles, falcons, sparrow hawks and vultures. Besides, most of the singing bird species exist here. Of course, they are protected just like the horses.
We set off for Spil Mountain National Park at noon. Actually, we intended to see Manisa, the city of sultans, from the observation point, to visit the national park and to see wild horses. We were told that wild horses generally wander as a herd, and that they come to Sülüklü Lake to drink water everyday at 12 p.m. After they drink, the horses head towards the “horse path.” Moving forward, not knowing if we will be able to see those horses, we came across those wild animals at a hillside of Spil Mountain somewhere near the national park. If you observe them from a distance, they seem to be harmless. But if you want to approach to them, they can respond unpredictably. If you want to watch them more closely, you may ask one of the staff of national park.
Fresh mountain air and medicinal herbs
The signs indicating Spil Mountain National Park are there as you leave from Manisa city center. You can tell this is a mountain road because you will come across red pine trees. The colors of the pine trees grow darker as you climb. Torch pines, bay trees and oaks welcome us on both sides of the road. When we open the window, fresh mountain air rich in oxygen fills the inside of the car and, inevitably, our ears get stopped up. We get accustomed to the mountain air as we move away from city center and arrive at Spil.
You need to wear warm clothes if you want to have a walk in the national park. Almost 70 species of medicinal herbs grow here. It is, however, not possible to find them so easily. And of course we can’t leave out the Manisa tulip and many other flowers such as hyacinth, crocus, dianthus, violet, daisy and poppy. In addition, there are attractive alternative activities in the national park such as mountain climbing, paragliding and camping.
Spil is good for taking a vacation in any season
Spil Mountain National Park is a good vacation destination for those who like cold and cool weather. You may overnight here for as long as you wish or you may opt for making a one-day trip and have a picnic here. The Manisa Directorate of Environment and Forestry runs a facility that boasts bungalows which resemble huts. The various items that a family may need during their vacation are available in the houses. Among the various bungalows with the capacity of four, five, six or eight people, you may select the one most suited for you. There are 25 houses as a total. By the way, it should be noted that food and beverages are not included. You need to cook for yourself. Besides, separate areas are allocated for tent camping and mobile home camping inside the national park. You need to make a reservation in advance to make use of these facilities.
Tariff in National park
Price for a four-person house TL 60 weekdays; TL 67 weekends
Price for a five-person house TL 50 weekdays; TL 55 weekends
Price for a six-person house TL 72 weekdays; TL 83 weekends
Price for a eight-person house TL 88 weekdays; TL 100 weekends
For reservations call
(0236) 237 10 61 / 62-63-64-65
Entrance fees for one-day picnic are as follows:
TL 7 for cars
TL 20 for small minibuses
TL 30 for big minibuses
TL 40 for buses
TL 15 daily for tent area
How to get to Spil Mountain National Park
From the city center of Manisa, Spil Mountain National Park is at a distance 24 kilometers, and it is possible to reach it in 40 minutes by driving a winding asphalt road. The distance between İzmir province and the national park is 38 kilometers. If you leave from İzmir, you should take the İzmir-Ankara highway and then follow signs that say Sütçüler village.