Erciyes is the highest mountain in central Anatolia, with its summit reaching 3,916 metres (12,848 ft). It is considered to be the highest peak of the Anti-Taurus mountain range, a northeastern extension of the Taurus Mountains to the south, and belongs to the Alpide belt in Eurasia.
The volcano is heavily eroded, but may have erupted as recently as 253 BC, as may be depicted on Roman era coins.
Strabo called the mountain Argaeus (Ἀργαῖος); he wrote that the summit was never free from snow and that those few who ascended it reported seeing both the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south in days with a clear sky.
The first documented successful climb was performed by William John Hamilton in 1837. There are, however, some historic writings and symbols on the rocks at the summit, indicating earlier human presence there. There are two caves near the summit tower, of which at least one must have been expanded by humans. It is supposed that monks in historic times have visited the summit several times.
There are winter sports facilities on the mountain, usually accessed from nearby Kayseri.