Last Updated on December 19, 2022

Karapınar is the only desert in Turkey. It is a district of Konya in central Anatolia and the region with the least rainfall in the entire country.

Due to wind erosion experienced in the 1950s, 103 thousand hectares of land became dry and Karapınar became a desert land due to dune movements.

Meke Gölü Crater Lake in Karapinar Desert, Turkey
Meke Gölü, a Volcanic Crater Lake in the heart of Karapinar Desert

Karapinar Desert

The Karapınar Desert is also one of the “greenest” deserts in the world. A project was started in 1959 to save the region with the cooperation of Turkish engineers and local people, and Karapınar sets an example to the world with its successful greening of an arid area.

In the past, the areas that had become desert due to erosion were completely sand dunes, while today there is a hillside, an example of desertification, a wooded forest, and a pasture area. Every year, researchers from various countries visit the region to see this struggle against nature.

Located on the historic Silk Road, Karapınar attracts many visitors with its desert and tectonic lakes. This natural wonder desert is also one of the rare safari spots in Turkey.

The region is also home to a number of historical and cultural sites, including the Haci Bektas Veli Mosque and the Karapinar Castle.

Meke Gölü and Acı Gölü Lakes

The area is also filled with unique geological sites such as mountains, sink-hole lakes, and volcanic lakes, as well as desert-like sand dunes.

The two most popular attractions in the area are Meke Gölü (Meke lake) and Acı Gölü (“bitter” lake).

Meke Gölü is a large, shallow volcanic crater lake that is fed by underground water sources and is home to a variety of aquatic plants and animals.

Acı Gölü is a smaller salt basin lake that is located near Meke Gölü and is known for its high concentration of salt, which gives the lake its nickname of “bitter” lake.

Unfortunately, due to global warming and the already arid environment of Karapinar, the water in the lakes is drying up.

Read also: Sandboarding in Turkey logo icon

Your n°1 source of information on the world of sandsports and desert adventure travel. Our articles are the result of extensive research, personal experience, and knowledge-sharing within the global sandboarding community.