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.
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
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
the Conqueror in 1461.
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
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:
here stands a three naved basilica decorated with
Dört Kilise is another 10C church.
İşhan: 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.
Yusufeli 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.