In the Guroymak district, Bitlis province, Eastern Turkey, in the region of the Nemrut volcano, which is rich in hot springs, winter is the time for the livestock to bathe. In weather conditions below freezing point, the pools there are like open spas that offer warm water created by geothermal energy.
Buffaloes, and their herdsmen, including the horses they ride, are often found there bathing and often frolicking in the warmth. Not once or twice, but several times in a winter that usually lasts months.
Just so you know, the temperature of the Budakli spring, the largest pool in the snow-covered area, can reach 40 degrees Celsius, well above the air temperature that usually makes the body shiver.
Halit Akin often brings the buffalo that he grazes there. “I take the cattle to this hot spring to cleanse their bodies. By spending time here, the health of the animals is getting better. They are also finally able to raise their babies better,” he explained.
Akin believes that hot baths increase the milk production of the female buffalo, and this means ensuring a food supply for the baby buffalo.
The distance from Akin’s village to the hot spring area is about seven kilometers, and Akin and his livestock spend three hours soaking each time they visit.
Baran Aylu, another herder, said he takes his cattle to the hot springs almost every weekend. She not only bathes her animals, but also pleases her feelings.
“When caring for animals in cages during the winter, they get dirty easily. I bathe them in hot springs to clean their bodies. I also bathe with them, and have fun with cold baths,” he said.
Villagers in the Guroymak district believe that the hot springs have mystical healing properties. The water not only helps heal old wounds on the buffalo, but also cleanses the buffalo of dirt and produces better milk and cheese.
Guroymak district also attracts many domestic and foreign tourists. They generally come there to try out the healing properties of the hot springs there.
The main sources of income for the villages there are cheese, butter and buffalo milk. [ab/uh]