Trabzon is the largest city and the second commercial port of the Black Sea in Turkey after Samsun, and it is also the center of an important agricultural region where , tobacco, tea, hazelnuts, rice are intensively grown. The city is built in the shape of an amphitheatre against woody hillsides overlooking the sea. It has narrow streets and old Ottoman wooden houses.
Trabzon is linked to İstanbul and Ankara by daily flights.

Ancient Trapezos successively came under the domination of the kings of Pontus (Euxeinos Pontos is the Greek name given to the Black Sea and the north-east region of Anatolia) and later the Romans. It was an important commercial port at the beginning of the main caravan route between the Black Sea and Persia via the Armenian mountains. It was destroyed by the Goths in 260 AD. Rebuilt and strongly fortified by Byzantine emperor Justinian, the city resisted the assaults of the Seljuks and the Mongols. In 1204, when Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, was seized and sacked by the Crusaders, two princes who were grandsons of Andronikos Komnenos I, fled. With the help of Georgian Queen Tamara, Alexius Komnenus took the title of emperor and founded the Independent Empire of Trebizond where he and his successors held a somptuous court. Later they made alliances with the Crusaders and the Palaeologus after the Byzantine restoration in Constantinople (1261). Trebizond could repel the assaults of the Seljuk Turks and the Mongols, but the last Byzantine bastion was finally seized by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461.

Haghia Sophia
, this wonderful byzantine church in the middle of a garden overlooking the sea, was transformed into a mosque by the Ottomans. Between 1916 and 1918 during the Russian occupation, it was used as a depot. In 1964 it was finally opened as a museum. The monument is decorated with splendid frescoes from the 13th century. They are the most beautiful homogeneous group of frescoes that can be seen in Turkey.

The Citadel and the walls

Panaghia Chryzokephalos (The Golden Head Virgin) Church has become Fatih Camii.

St Anna (Küçük Ayvasıl Kilisesi) is the oldest church in Trabzon built in the 7C and 9C but has not yet been restored.

The old quarters of the upper town with the House of Atatürk


The Byzantine Monastery of Sumela is located hinterland in a breathtaking site, hanging on the face of a steep rock 1,200m / 4,000 ft high. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this sanctuary, where Emperor Alexius Komnenus III was crowned in 1340, is composed of a rock-cut church and a chapel both decorated with frescoes, and conventual buildings, some of them added in the 17th century.



Located at the seaside, Rize is surrounded by green tea plantations which make the wealth of the region as far as Hopa at the Georgian border. Tea has long been the national drink of Turkish People but tea cultivation was introduced in Turkey a little before World War II. There are about 200,000 tea growers in the Eastern Black Sea Region. They pick green tea three times a year from May to October. The average annual fresh tea leaves production is about 800,000 tons which means a 155-160,000 tons of black tea production. 65% is produced by public sector “Çaykur”, and 35% by private sector. High technology is used on tea production in tea processing factories. It is possible to visit the Rize Tea Institute or/and a tea plantation.

The Rize International Tea Festival takes place every year in June.



Between Artvin and Erzurum, a picturesque road follows the course of the fast flowing Çoruh River which is ideal for rafting. There are beautiful landscapes all along the river over which numerous old bridges and wooden footbridges have been thrown. All along the valley, many small ruined castles can be seen. They were built within sight of each other, which enabled better communication between them. Also, lots of Georgian vestiges can be found in the region:

Parhal : here stands a three naved basilica decorated with 10C paintings.

Dört Kilise
is another 10C church.

located high in the mountains, in a picturesque village that was once an Armenian then a Georgian bishopric, there are a 8-9C cathedral decorated with frescoes and a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary by Prince Gurgen in 1006.

is a picturesque village on the way to the Georgian Unguzek Castle.

Tortum Kalesi
is another Georgian fortress.

Tortum Gölü
: Tortum Lake and its waterfalls.