Mythological Trees

Six different species of juniper trees exist in Turkey. Juniper trees, which can live up to 3500 meters of elevation, can be seen at the high peaks of the mountains, even at the upper boundaries of the tree border. The juniper, which can survive in high altitudes and harsh winter conditions, has always been respected by ancient cultures. Today, in many parts of Anatolia, the tradition of shoddy bonding to the highest old juniper trees still continues. It is known that in Çatalhöyük, one of the first settlements in history, the pole and roof system rising from the middle of the houses are made of juniper wood. The juniper tree is also thought to represent God. This divine interpretation has always continued throughout history and has often been the juniper tree at the tombs of respected people.

The drought, which occurred from time to time in the Anatolian steppe, should have been explained in the ancient civilizations of famine. The legends of god that disappeared or abandoned them thus emerged. The legend of the lost son of the Hittite Storm God, God Telipinu, is one of them. Telipinu is an agricultural god. According to the Hittites, it is responsible for everything from planting to irrigation, from growth to harvest. When God Telipinu disappears, it causes drought and famine. Sometimes Telipinu is lost when searching for something and sometimes disappears because he is angry with people. When the drought ends, abundance and fertility comes. For God Telipinu, the Hittites make wishes to the “Eya (juniper)” tree. They give him small gifts and hang them on the branches of the tree. Sometimes they sacrifice a deer under a juniper tree. They cut juniper trees and take them to their holy places and decorate their temples. According to some scientists, this situation carries the first traces of the legend of Santa Claus. On the other hand, the tradition of making wishes by shodding juniper trees still continues in many parts of Anatolia. We can even say that this tradition has preserved many old trees untill today.

You can see juniper trees at the top of Bey Mountains and Taurus Mountains. The tree species that you can see before reaching the bare mountain peaks is usually juniper trees.