Cilician Gates

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Taurus (tôr´əs), Turkish Toros (tôrōs´), mountain chain, S Turkey, extending c.350 mi (560 km) roughly parallel to the Mediterranean coast of S Asia Minor. It forms the southern border of the Anatolian plateau. Its northeastern extension across the Seyhan River is called the Anti-Taurus. The highest peak of the Taurus proper is Ala Dağ (12,251 ft/3,734 m), at its eastern end; Nemrut Dağ (Mt. Nemrut) in the Anti-Taurus, is the site of colossal Hellenistic ruins. Erciyas Daği (anc. Mount Argaeus), reaching 12,848 ft (3,916 m), is sometimes considered part of the Taurus although it rises in central Anatolia, in an outlier of the Taurus proper. The Amanos Mts., along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Iskenderun, are also considered an offshoot of the main Taurus. The Taurus is crossed by five major passes; the Cilician Gates, N of Tarsus, is the best known. The mountains have long been a barrier to movement between the Anatolian basin and the Levant. The range has important chromium deposits and other minerals (notably copper, silver, lignite, zinc, iron, and arsenic). The Anti-Taurus are well wooded.

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Cilician Gates (sĬlĬsh´ən), Turk. Külek Boğazi, mountain pass, S Turkey, leading across the Taurus range. Known to the ancients as the Pylae Ciliciae, it follows the gorge of the Gökoluk River. The gates have served for centuries as a natural highway linking Anatolia with the Mediterranean coast.