Elmali is the largest Ottoman town of the southwest area of Turkey, located high on a mountain plain. It is famous for its well-preserved wooden houses (some from the 17th century) in which Ottoman Turks, Greeks and Armenians once lived together until the 20th century. People here live much as they did in the past and old crafts such as blacksmithing, hand-crafting copperware and making Turkish Delight in the traditional way are still practiced. A very large mosque complex exists in Elmali dating back to the 16th century with hand-painted tiles rivaling those in Istanbul’s grand mosques.
The Elmali area is rich in archaeology and natural beauty. Some very significant antiquities including the famous Elmali Treasury have been found in the area and excavations are currently underway at a large mound where antiquities have been found dating back to the 12th century BC. Alexander the Great once marched through Elamli with his troops in 333 BC on his campaign against the Persian army. The road they used can still be seen today.
The misty peaks of the great Taurus Mountains, rushing streams and lush greenery offer excellent photo opportunities and the alpine pastures and famous cedar forests (6,000-7,000 feet) are attractive to hikers. Many semi-nomads live in the area as well, as the highlands are good, cool summer pasture for their flocks of sheep and goats.