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Nomadic herdsmen of Turkic origin used to call their herding locations by different names depending on the season.  Yazlak, yaylak, güzlek and kışlak referred to herding locations of different seasons of the year. But out of the four, yayla and kışla (with the last letter dropped) are more widespread. Kışla (from kış meaning winter) refers to relatively warmer places in the plains and yayla refers to mountain slopes where the pasturing is easier during the summer. (see Alpine meadow.) Yaylas were temporary settlements.
Traditional yayla as resort
For nomads, yayla was a part of productive economy. For city dwellers however, yayla is a summer resort. During summers most of Turkey, especially Mediterranean coast is quite hot and people seek cooler places to spend the nights. Traditionally, during summer vacation of schools, the families migrate to yaylas. The householders either stay in the cities or they also make daily trips to yayla if the yayla is close by.
Contemparary yayla culture
In the second half of the 20th century because of two factors, the yayla practice is not as popular as it once used to be. Most people prefer beach tourism instead of yayla and the advance in climatization technology makes the hot summers more endurable. On the other hand, highways have been constructed and modern amenities have been introduced to yaylas which can increase their popularity. In contrast to past practices, now most yaylas are not temporary settlements and in fact some yaylas gain the status of town and even district center.