TRABZON

Turkey

Trabzon (formerly Trebizond) is the largest city in the Eastern Karadeniz region of Turkey. Trabzon functioned as an independent state or empire during multiple occasions in its long history, ruling over a vast area spanning from Sinope in the west to Georgia in the east, and even including domains on the Crimea. Within Turkey Trabzon is known as a hospitable, energetic, traditional and patriotic city, which is culturally somewhat distinct from the rest of the country.

Info Trabzon

introduction

Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Persia (Iran) in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast. The Venetian and Genoese merchants paid visits to Trebizond during the medieval period and sold silk, linen and woolen fabric; the Republic of Genoa had an important merchant colony within the city called Leonkastron that played a role to Trebizond similar to the one Galata played to Constantinople(modern Istanbul). Trabzon formed the basis of several states in its long history and was the capital city of theEmpire of Trebizond between 1204 and 1461. During the early modern period, Trabzon, because of the importance of its port, became a focal point of trade to Iran and the Caucasus.

info
POPULATION : 768.417
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :• Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
LANGUAGE :
RELIGION :
AREA : 188.85 km2 (72.92 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 0 m (0 ft)
COORDINATES : 41°00′N 39°44′E
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.1%
 Female: 50.9%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 462
POSTAL CODE :  61xxx
DIALING CODE : (+90) 462
WEBSITE :

Tourism

Trabzon (formerly Trebizond) is the largest city in the Eastern Karadeniz region of Turkey. Trabzon functioned as an independent state or empire during multiple occasions in its long history, ruling over a vast area spanning from Sinope in the west to Georgia in the east, and even including domains on the Crimea. Within Turkey Trabzon is known as a hospitable, energetic, traditional and patriotic city, which is culturally somewhat distinct from the rest of the country.

Trabzon has a number of tourist attractions, some of them dating back to the times of the ancient empiresthat once existed in the region. In the city itself, one can find a hub of shops, stalls and restaurants surrounding the Meydan, a square in the center of the city, which includes a tea garden.


Outdoors

Trabzon is well known in Turkey as a destination for nature tourism and outdoor sports activities. The mountainous districts in Trabzon and neighboring Giresun and Rize provinces offer plenty options, but most areas are hardly developed for (international) tourism. However, this is also what makes the region attractive to adventurous travelers and Turkish families fleeing the hordes of tourists in Istanbul or the west coast. The beauty of Trabzon really lies in its alpine nature and remote, independent village life; Waking up in a traditional timber shed by the sound of cowbells and the scent of morning dew drawing the endless flower fields into your bed. Having fresh milk, corn bread, eggs and cooked green vegetables and spring water straight from the tap. To have this experience, you have to leave Trabzon, leave Uzungöl, and move higher up the mountain slopes, to the villages with their typical architecture and beautifully ornamented timber mosques, or even higher, where there are 'open air mosques', similar to the very first mosques in the world. Even though the people here are devout, they are not conservative in the traditional sense. It is normal for men and woman to mingle, make jokes, etc. Sufism has had a strong influence on these remote districts, and many people still grow up speaking minority languages like Romeyka Greek, Laz or Hemsin Armenian.


Visitor information

  • Tourist office (Trabzon Turizm Bürosu) (one block to the east of Atatürk Alani square, down Camii Sk., just beyond Hotel Nur), +90 462 3264760. For general tourist information. The clerk speaks English very well and provides you with a wealth of information about Trabzon and its surroundings (pdf) . Before doing anything in Trabzon, go to the tourist office.

History

Iron Age and Classical Antiquity

The oldest area associated with the Kartvelians was northeastern Anatolia, including the Iron Age monarchy of the Diauehi (early-Georgians), later known as the culturally important region of T’ao-Klarjeti (part of Turkey since 1461), where they pre-dated the Hittites.

In classical antiquity the city was founded as Τραπεζοῦς (Trapezous) by Milesian traders (756 BC). It was one of a number (about ten) of Milesian emporia or trading colonies along the shores of the Black Sea. Others include Sinope,Abydos and Cyzicus (in the Dardanelles). Like most Greek colonies, the city was a small enclave of Greek life, and not an empire unto its own, in the later European sense of the word. Early banking (money-changing) activity is suggested occurring in the city according to a silver drachmacoin from Trapezus in the British Museum, London.

Trebizond's trade partners included the Mossynoeci. When Xenophon and the Ten Thousand mercenaries were fighting their way out of Persia, the first Greek city they reached was Trebizond (Xenophon, Anabasis, 5.5.10). The city and the local Mossynoeci had become estranged from the Mossynoecian capital, to the point of civil war. Xenophon's force resolved this in the rebels' favor, and so in Trebizond's interest.

The city was added to the kingdom of Pontus by Mithridates VI Eupator and it became home port for the Pontic fleet.

When the kingdom was annexed to the Roman province of Galatia in 64–65, the fleet passed to new commanders, becoming the Classis Pontica. Trebizond gained importance under Roman rule in the 1st century for its access to roads leading over the Zigana Pass to the Armenian frontier or the upper Euphrates valley. New roads were constructed from Persia and Mesopotamia under the rule of Vespasian. In the next century, the emperor Hadrian commissioned improvements to give the city a more structured harbor. A mithraeum now serves as a crypt for the church and monastery of Panagia Theoskepastos (Kızlar Manastırı) in nearby Kizlara, east of the citadel and south of the modern harbor.

Trebizond was greatly affected by two events over the following centuries: in the civil war between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger, the city suffered for its support of the latter, and in 258 the city was pillaged by the Goths, despite reportedly being defended by "10,000 above its usual garrison', and being defended by two bands of walls.


Byzantine period and the Empire of Trebizond

Although Trebizond was rebuilt after being pillaged by the Goths in 258, the city did not soon recover. Only in the reign of Diocletian appears an inscription alluding to the restoration of the city;Ammianus Marcellinus could only write of Trebizond that it was "not an obscure town."Christianity had reached Trebizond by the third century, for during the reign of Diocletian occurred the martyrdom of Eugenius and his associates Candidius, Valerian, and Aquila. By the time of Justinian, the city served as an important base in his Persian Wars, and Miller notes that a portrait of the general Belisarius "long adorned the church of St. Basil." An inscription above the eastern gate of the city, commemorated the reconstruction of the civic walls following an earthquake at Justinian's expense.

The city regained importance when it became the seat of the theme of Chaldia. Trebizond also benefited when the trade route regained importance in the 8th to 10th centuries; 10th-century Muslim authors note that Trebizond was frequented by Muslim merchants, as the main source transshipping Byzantine silks into eastern Muslim countries. The Italian maritime republics such as the Republic of Venice and in particular the Republic of Genoa were active in the Black Sea trade for centuries, using Trabzon as an important seaport for trading goods between Europe and Asia. Some of the Silk Road caravans carrying goods from Asia stopped at the port of Trebizond, where the European merchants purchased these goods and carried them to the port cities of Europe with ships. This trade provided a source of revenue to the state in the form of custom duties, or kommerkiaroi, levied on the goods sold in Trebizond. The Greeks protected the coastal and inland trade routes with a vast network of garrison forts.

Following the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Trebizond came under Seljuk rule. This rule proved transient when an expert soldier and local aristocrat, Theodore Gabras took control of the city from the Turkish invaders, and regarded Trebizond, in the words of Anna Comnena, "as a prize which had fallen to his own lot" and ruled it as his own kingdom. Supporting Comnena's assertion, Simon Bendall has identified a group of rare coins he believes were minted by Gabras and his successors. Although he was killed by the Turks in 1098, other members of his family continued his de facto independent rule into the next century.

The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) and the Sack of Constantinople by the Latin Crusaders in April 1204 led to the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire. The Empire of Trebizond was formed in 1204 as one of the three Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire. Located at the far northeastern corner of Anatolia, it was the longest surviving of the Byzantine successor states, until its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1461. Geographically, the Empire of Trebizond consisted of little more than a narrow strip along the southern coast of the Black Sea, and not much further inland than the Pontic Mountains. Its demographic legacy endured for several centuries after the Ottoman conquest in 1461, as a substantial number of Greek Orthodox inhabitants, usually referred to as Pontic Greeks, continued to live in the area during Ottoman rule, up until 1923, when they were deported to Greece. A few thousand Greek Muslims still live in the area, mostly in the Çaykara-Of dialectical region to the southeast of Trabzon. Most are Sunni-Muslim, while there are some recent converts in the city and possibly a few Crypto-Christians in the Tonya/Gümüşhane area to the southwest of the city. Compared to most previously Greek cities in Turkey, a large amount of its Greek Byzantine architectural heritage survives as well.

On his return voyage from Asia in the late 13th century, Marco Polo ended his overland journey at the port of Trebizond, then the capital of the Empire of Trebizond, and sailed to his hometown Venice with a ship; passing by Constantinople (Istanbul) on the way, which was retaken by the Byzantines in 1261. A year earlier, in 1260, Niccolò and Maffeo Polo(the father and uncle of Marco Polo) were residing in Constantinople, then the capital of the Latin Empire. They foresaw a political change, liquidated their assets into jewels and moved away. Their decision proved wise, as Constantinople was recaptured in 1261 by Michael VIII Palaiologos, the ruler of the Empire of Nicaea, who promptly burned the Venetian quarter in the city and reestablished the Byzantine Empire. Captured Venetian citizens in Constantinople were blinded, while many of those who managed to escape perished aboard overloaded refugee ships fleeing to other Venetian colonies in the Aegean Sea. Constantinople remained the Byzantine capital until it was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, who also conquered Trebizond eight years later, in 1461.


Ottoman era

The last Emperor of Trebizond, David, surrendered the city to Sultan Mehmed II of theOttoman Empire in 1461. Following this takeover, Mehmed II sent many Turkish settlers into the area, but the old ethnic Greek, Laz and Armenian communities remained. According to the Ottoman tax books (tahrir defterleri), the total population of adult males in the city was 1,473 in the year 1523.Approximately 85% of them (1,252 adult males) were Christian, 13% of whom (197 adult males) were Armenian, and 15% of them (221 adult males) were Muslim. However, a large portion of the local Christians were Islamized and Turkified by the end of the 17th century, according to a research by Prof. Halil İnalcık on the tax books (tahrir defterleri) of the Ottoman Empire. Trabzon was sanjak centre in Rum Eyalet (1461-1514) and (1520-1535), Erzincan-Bayburt eyalet (1514-1517), Anadolu Eyalet (1517-1520) and Erzurum Eyalet (1535-1598).

Trabzon was the capital of the Ottoman Eyalet of Trebizond (1598–1867) and later of the Ottoman Vilayet of Trebizond (1867–1923) in the northeastern part of Anatolia. During the reign of Sultan Bayezid II, his son Prince Selim (later Sultan Selim I) was thesancakbeyi of Trabzon, and Selim I's son Suleiman the Magnificent was born in Trabzon on November 6, 1494. The Ottoman government often appointed local Chepni and Lazbeys as the regional beylerbeyi. It is also recorded that some Bosniak beys were also appointed by the Sublime Porte as the regional beylerbeyi in Trabzon. The Beylerbeylik of Trabzon (Trabzon Beylerbeyliği) had always sent troops for the Ottoman campaigns in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Trabzon had a wealthy merchant class during the late Ottoman period, and the local Christian minority still had a substantial influence in terms of culture. A number of European consulates were opened in the city due to its importance in regional trade and commerce.


Modern era

In 1901 the harbour was equipped with cranes by Stothert and Pitt of Bath in England. The city was the site of one of the key battles between the Ottoman and Russian armies during the Caucasus Campaign of World War I which resulted in the capture of Trabzon by the Russian Caucasus Army under command of Grand Duke Nicholas and Nikolai Yudenich in April 1916. Russian general Shvartz's army caused a massive destruction in Trabzon. Russians banned Muslim mosques, and forced Turks, who were the largest ethnic group living in the city, to leave Trabzon. The Russian Army ultimately retreated from the city and the rest of eastern and northeastern Anatolia with the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Trabzon was a major Armenian extermination centre during the Armenian Genocide, as well as a location of subsequent trials (see Trabzon during the Armenian Genocide). Many of the victims were taken out to sea in boats that were then capsized.The Trabzon trials reported Armenians having been drowned in the Black Sea.

Following the Turkish War of Independence and the annulment of the Treaty of Sèvres(1920) which was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), Trabzon again became a part of Turkey. During the war several Christian Pontic Greek communities in the Trebizond vilajet rebelled against the new army of Mustafa Kemal, but when nationalist Greeks came to Trabzon to proclaim revolution, they were not received with open arms by the local Pontic Greek population of the city. At the same time the Muslim population of the city protested the arrest of prominent Christians, and the government of Trabzon refused arms to Mustafa Kemal's henchman Topal Osman, who was responsible for mass murders in the western Pontus. Osman was forced out of the city by armed Turkish port-workers. Osman would eventually murder parliamentarian Ali Şükrü Bey from Trabzon for his criticism of the nationalist government of Mustafa Kemal. Ali Şükrü Bey is seen as a hero by the people of Trabzon, while in neighboring Giresun there is a statue of his murderer Topal Osman. The efforts of the pro-Ottoman, anti-nationalist population of Trabzon only postponed the inevitable, because the national governments of Turkey and Greece in January 1923 agreed to a mutual forced population exchange. This exchange included well over one hundred thousand Greeks from Trabzon and the vicinity, to the relatively new Greek state, along with the Christian population of Ionia (over a million people).

During World War II shipping activity was limited because the Black Sea had again become a war zone. Hence, the most important export products, tobacco and hazelnut, could not be sold and living standards degraded.

As a result of the general development of the country, Trabzon has developed its economic and commercial life. The coastal highway and a new harbour have increased commercial relations with central Anatolia, which has led to some growth. However, progress has been slow in comparison to the western and the southwestern parts of Turkey.

Trabzon is famous throughout Turkey for its anchovies called hamsi, which are the main meal in many restaurants in the city. Major exports from Trabzon include hazelnuts and tea.

The city still has a sizable community of Greek-speaking Muslims, most of whom are originally from the vicinities of Tonya and Of. However, the Pontic Greek language (known as Romeiaka or Ποντιακά, Pontiaka) is spoken mostly by the older generations.

Climate

Trabzon lies in a humid subtropical zone with high precipitation throughout the year. In the winter there is the chance of some snow cover in the city. The climate of the city differs greatly from that of the mountainous hinterland. Snowstorms frequently isolate the high mountain villages from the outside world for weeks on end. Rural life in the the province moves along traditional transhumance patterns similar to communities in the Caucasus; each settlement is divided in multiple villages for each season. Thus most villages above 1200 m remain unsettled during the winter months. At the Zigana-pass south of the city there is a small ski-resort.

Climate data for Trabzon

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)25.2
(77.4)
28.2
(82.8)
35.2
(95.4)
37.6
(99.7)
37.8
(100)
35.9
(96.6)
37.0
(98.6)
34.8
(94.6)
33.2
(91.8)
32.7
(90.9)
30.3
(86.5)
26.4
(79.5)
37.8
(100)
Average high °C (°F)10.9
(51.6)
11.0
(51.8)
12.1
(53.8)
15.5
(59.9)
19.1
(66.4)
23.5
(74.3)
26.2
(79.2)
26.7
(80.1)
23.8
(74.8)
20.1
(68.2)
16.5
(61.7)
13.2
(55.8)
18.22
(64.8)
Daily mean °C (°F)7.4
(45.3)
7.3
(45.1)
8.6
(47.5)
11.8
(53.2)
16.0
(60.8)
20.4
(68.7)
23.2
(73.8)
23.4
(74.1)
20.3
(68.5)
16.5
(61.7)
12.7
(54.9)
9.6
(49.3)
14.8
(58.6)
Average low °C (°F)4.7
(40.5)
4.4
(39.9)
5.5
(41.9)
8.8
(47.8)
12.9
(55.2)
17.1
(62.8)
20.1
(68.2)
20.4
(68.7)
17.3
(63.1)
13.6
(56.5)
9.8
(49.6)
6.7
(44.1)
11.77
(53.19)
Record low °C (°F)−6.0
(21.2)
−6.1
(21)
−5.0
(23)
−2.0
(28.4)
5.4
(41.7)
9.2
(48.6)
13.5
(56.3)
13.8
(56.8)
8.5
(47.3)
3.4
(38.1)
0.6
(33.1)
−3.1
(26.4)
−6.1
(21)
              
Source #1: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü
Source #2: Weatherbase 

Geography

Trabzon Province has a total area of 4,685 square kilometres (1,809 sq mi) and is bordered by the provinces of Rize, Giresun and Gümüşhane. The total area is 22.4% plateau and 77.6% hills. The Pontic Mountains pass through the Trabzon Province.

Trabzon used to be an important reference point for navigators in the Black Sea during harsh weather conditions. The popular expression "perdere la Trebisonda" (losing Trebizond) is still commonly used in the Italian language to describe situations in which the sense of direction is lost. The Italian maritime republics such as Venice and in particular Genoa were active in the Black Sea trade for centuries.

Economy

As of 1920, the port at Trabzon, was considered "the most important of the Turkish Black Sea ports", by the British. It traded as far as Tabriz and Mosul. As of 1911, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey signed an agreement to develop a harbor at the port. When the Russians occupied Trabzon, a mole was built. They built a breakwater and were responsible for creating an extended pier, making loading and unloading easier. In 1920, Trabzon produced linen cloth, silver filagree, tanning and small amounts of cotton, silk and wool. Tobacco and hazelnuts were exported. The tobacco produced in Trabzon was called Trebizond-Platana. It was described as having "large leaves and a bright colour." Trabzon was known for producing poor quality cereals, most which were grown for local use.

Trabzon produced a white green bean, which was sold in Europe. It was, as of 1920, the only vegetable exported out of the province. Poultry farming was also popular in Trabzon. Sericulture was seen in the area before 1914. The area produced copper,silver, zinc, iron and manganese. Copper was kept for local use by coppersmiths. During the Balkan Wars production ceased due to poor exportation and fuel supplies.

Subdivisions

Trabzon province is divided into 18 districts:

  • Trabzon (Central district, after 2014 it will be named Ortahisar)
  • Akçaabat
  • Araklı
  • Arsin
  • Beşikdüzü
  • Çarşıbaşı
  • Çaykara
  • Dernekpazarı
  • Düzköy
  • Hayrat
  • Köprübaşı
  • Maçka
  • Of
  • Şalpazarı
  • Sürmene
  • Tonya
  • Vakfıkebir
  • Yomra

Internet, Comunication

Internet

  • Internet in both hotels and internet cafes (costing 1-2 lira/hour) is both glacially slow and unreliable, with a tendency to drop connections for high-bandwidth programs, such as Skype.In recent years, Trabzon municipality provides internet to folks free of charge at central parks. The city has a high-speed internet connection recently.

Prices in Trabzon

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.60
Tomatoes1 kg€0.90
Cheese0.5 kg€1.50
Apples1 kg€0.90
Oranges1 kg€0.75
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€7.50
Coca-Cola2 liters€0.75
Bread1 piece€0.45
Water1.5 l€0.30

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€12.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€22.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€4.50
Water0.33 l€0.20
Cappuccino1 cup€1.50
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€1.50
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€2.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l€0.70
Coctail drink1 drink€6.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€7.00
Gym1 month€42.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€4.00
Theatar2 tickets€6.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.15
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€3.30

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€3.00
Tampons32 pieces€2.60
Deodorant50 ml.€1.70
Shampoo400 ml.€1.80
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.25
Toothpaste1 tube€1.50

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€50.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€38.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€49.00
Leather shoes1€57.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.33
TaxiStart€1.20
Taxi1 km€0.60
Local Transport1 ticket€0.55

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Airport (E 10 km - Beşirli-Airport Bus transfer to the city with seven stops, the last (most western point) at Beşirli Uzunkum Hotel), +90 462 3280940fax:+90 462 3259950, e-mail:. By daily planes from Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir. There are also planes from Adana (Pegasus Airlines) and Bursa (Borajet), as well as scheduled international flights from certain European and regional cities.

Transportation - Get In

By car

The largely 6-lane D010 coastal highway is of high quality, and can bring you to Trabzon within 2.5 hours from the border with Georgia and within 4.5 hours from Samsun. TheE97 is the main road connecting Trabzon to the rest of Anatolia, it runs south to Gümüşhane and then eastward towards Bayburt. The D915 from Bayburt to Of via Caykara has been chosen as the most dangerous road in the world and should not be attempted during winter. It does offer beautiful views on the surrounding landscape.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

  • Bus Station (Otogar Trabzon), Terminal Sk (~2.5 km East. There will be a "servis" (free shuttle bus) from the bus station to the city center.), +90 462 325 2343.

Buses from all major cities in Turkey. Example (price, journey time, density): Istanbul (65₺, 18 hrs, several per day); Kayseri near Cappadocia (-,12 hrs, daily). Tbilisi, Georgia(about 12 hours) which serve as a useful point of entry to the country from Caucasus, also hourly leaves a bus to Batumi (if the border crossing is too busy, the bus might turn around at the Georgian border, so be sure to get all your belongings off the bus. On the Georgian side you can take a taxi or minibus for 25-30TL to bring you the short distance to the center of Batumi). Kars: daily bus at 09:30 and midnight (around eight hours).Ardahan: (45₺, - , at 12:30 ). Doğubeyazıt (leaves at 22:00, arriving 10:00). Ulusoy (four-six per day, 5 hours. 25 TL (2012)). Torul and Gümüşhane (hourly until 20.00). In the morning there are two bus connections heading to Baku, Azerbaijan, and on Thursdays and Sundays there is an early bus to Yerevan, Armenia. Many busses coming from the Caucasus heading to Istanbul pass through Trabzon.

It might be a good idea to book tickets in advance. There are many travel /ticket agent shops around Atatürk Meydanı (the main square in Trabzon) who can help with this. You can get bus tickets for Trabzon on this site.

Transportation - Get In

By boat

Turkish Maritime Lines used to operate two weekly ferryboats between Istanbul and Trabzon. However, as of 2007, this service has been cancelled.

There are also ferries twice weekly from Sochi on Russian Black Sea coast. Which takes 5-6 hours and costs US$ 110/passenger one way. Timetable available at Sochi port's website (in Russian).


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

On foot

The center of Trabzon is walkable; most of its historical sights lie in an area of 1.5 km by 500 m. This includes the area around central Meydan square in the east, the bazaar quarter in the center, and the historic walled city towards the west. If one is interested in taking in as many historical sights as possible, it would be advisable to plan multiple walks around these different areas of the city. The historic city was built on a hill between two ravines (Zagnos to the west and Kuzgun to the east), thus there is a lot of height difference between neighbourhoods, and travelers should be prepared to climb up and down stairs and walk streets with steep inclinations. In recent years car traffic has been limited through the historic neighborhoods, making it safer for pedestrians. Since the arrival of the coastal highway the city has been amputated from the sea. To alleviate this the city has started constructing a promenade along most of its 5 km long western coast. With few restaurants or other facilities, it has yet to regain its historic attractiveness.

Transportation - Get Around

By minibus

Notable locations outside the central zone are the Hagia Sophia to the west of the city and Boztepe tea garden overlooking the city towards the southeast. To get to these locations one best uses a minibus (dolmuş). There are dolmuş stops on Kahramanmaraş Street west off Meydan square. There is also s small minibus station just southeast of Meydan, under the viaduct. For transport towards one of the villages towards the east of Trabzon and in Rize province, there is again a different dolmus station along the coastal road.

  • Local Minibus Station (Dolmuş gar) (To the south of central Meydan, under the viaduct). Busses to neighborhoods of Trabzon and surrounding villages.
  • Regional Minibus Station (Dolmuş gar) (Down the hill and to the east of central Meydan, west of the coastal road). Busses to villages in Trabzon and Rize

 

Hotels

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Shopping

As an important trade node, Trabzon also developed its own refined export produce. The area is rich in mineral deposits and it is thought that even in its early years as a Greek colony, part of its exports to the Agean were valuable metals. The ultra-fine handwoven gold and silver bracelets of Trabzon are a popular wedding gift throughout the country. Other local trades that still survive in the market quarter are copper-smiths and leather-workers. An exceptional souvenir would be a Kemençe (Pontian Lyra), the national instrument of Trabzon. A decent playable Kemençe violin will set you back around 200 TL. Of course there are also key chain versions. For those heading to Iran or the Caucasus by bike, Trabzon is likely the last city in a few thousand kilometers to have an outdoor supply store. Alternatively, you might find supplies at the many hunting or fishing shops.

  • Market Quarter (Bazaar). To get to the Bazaar from central Meydan, walk down pedestrianized Kunduracılar street to the northwest. The hand-woven gold and silver bracelets of Trabzon are world renowned. You can find the jewelry stores in the market quarter. Most of work occurs indoors, however. The sound of copper-smiths can still be heard.
  • Uzun Sokak. Trabzon's main pedestrian shopping street.
  • Forum shopping mall (near Atatürk Airport). A modern shopping mall offering a similar experience to large shopping malls across the globe.
  • Cevahir Outlet shopping mall (near Novotel, in Yomra town).
  • Varlıbaş AVMGülbahar Hatun Mahallesi Atapark Karşısı Merkez, 61040 Trabzon / TÜRKİYE,  +90 462 223 60 00. 10AM-10PM. An older shopping mall just to the west of the western city walls (to the north of Atapark).
  • Russian Bazaar (Rus Pazarı). The 'Russian Bazaar' is a street that runs down from Şht. İbrahim Karaoğlanoğlu street, to the east of Meydan square. Here you might be able to find cheap fake brands. For a more authentic bazaar experience, go to the market quarter.

Restaurants


Local Cuisine

Typical ingredients for a Black Sea meal differ greatly from those of Anatolia. Vakfikebir ekmegi is the local sourdough bread similar to Italian Pane Casareccio. It is baked in a stone oven and can weigh up to 7 kilograms. Because the Black Sea coast is too moist for the cereals that grow so abundantly in the rest of Anatolia, the main grain variety used in rural communities surrounding Trabzon is maize. Thus cornbread is also a popular dish. Hamsi (Anchovies) are a main staple for the region. They are typically fried and eaten whole. Fishermen from Trabzon catch about one-fifth of the Turkish total. There is even an Anchovies bread (Hamsikoli). The Black Sea region grows 70% of the worlds hazelnut production, and they are also often used in dishes. Some fruits that are grown in the region are cherries, persimmon and kiwi. The Black Sea kitchen relies heavily on stews and soups of vegetables and beans. It also includes many dairy dishes like Kuymak/Muhlama, fresh cow milk and Ayran, and different types of cheeses.

The pide (pizza) and köfte (meatballs) of Trabzon are famous in Turkey for their distinctive taste. Trabzon pide is a kind of pizza with cheese and eggs, similar to Adjarian Khachapuri, but there are many varieties. Many places sell these typical dishes, a cheap but good example near the city center is "Cardak Pide Salonu".

Kuzen is also a good option: no standard kebabs but (for example) delicious wrap-like rolls filled with hot Merkez sausage. You can find it in in Cevdet Akcay sokak next to the modernish shopping mall on the north side of Kahraman Marash Cad.


Eating Out

There are a few restaurants at the northern side (İskele street) of Meydan square, like popular Cemilusta. Most menus revolve around meat or fish dishes. Fast-food stores and kebab shops can be found at the western end of the square. There is also ÇigköfteM, a vegetarian fast-food chain.

If you are fond of pastries, sweets and ice-cream, there are many places along Uzun Sokak selling baklava, helva and dondurma. The most famous pastry store is Beton Helva, where they combine helva and ice cream.

Most food in Trabzon is cooked to a high hygienic standard, and additionally most restaurants give you free hand wipes to clean your hands before and after eating food.

  • Bordo Mavi. Relaxed garden restaurant of Trabzonspor fanclub, next to the Trabzonspor Museum. One of the only restaurants in the city center that servers wine and spirits.
  • Kalender (Kalender Lokanta Ve Kafe). Cozy cafe/restaurant just south of Trabzon Museum.
  • Kulüp Garden Cafe (Kulüp Bahçe Kafe). Small stylish garden restaurant with diverse day menu and live music. At no.7 Özüdoğru, a dead-end side street of Uzun Sokak.
  • Tarihi Kalkanoğlu Pilavı. A historic restaurant established in 1856 serving traditional dishes around pilav.
  • Trabzon Architects Union Garden Cafe (Trabzon Mimarlar Odası Bahce Cafe). A relaxed green garden cafe with a small menu.
  • McDonald's & Burger King. Western fast food can be found at the intersection of Meydan square with Kahramanmaraş Cd.

Akçaabat specialties and restaurants

Akçaabat, the historic village Platana, some 10 km west of the city, is renowned throughout Turkey for its special kind of meatballs, calledAkcaabat koftesi. Made with ground meat, garlic and bread it's very delicious with ayran(yogurt mixed with water) and piyaz (beans,lettuce). There are plentiful quality restaurants in Akcaabat town such as Nihat Usta,Keyvan, Cemil Usta, Korfez Restaurant. You can have a walk and drink tea after dinner in Akcaabat Fisher Port. You can also try "kiymali" which is made with meat and served with butter. Don't forget to visit the historic neighborhood with its dozens of timber mansions when you are in Akçaabat.

Coffe & Drink


Coffee & Tea

For those longing for real (European-style) coffee,Keyif Coffee & Tea Storehas a huge selection of Tea (listing them by area and even Tea Estate) and first rate Cappachino (3 TL). They are hidden within the shopping complex Canbakkal İş Merkezi, a few blocks to the west of Atatürk Alani square. Kahve Durağıand Edward's Coffee offer many kinds of coffee and cakes. Cinema-themed sineK, next to Royal Cinema also offers western (and Turkish) coffee and tea. It is a kind of hip place where young Trabzonites come to play games after going to the movies. You might need to make reservations (like for most popular or trendy restaurants in the city). Time's Coffee Restaurant on Kahramanmaraş Cad. offers coffee and more with a rooftop view of the city. It is located on the 7th floor of the Silk Road Business Center.

  • Boztepe tea garden. Watch the sun set from the hill overlooking the city.
  • Vokal Sanat Kitap ve Kafe. Book store annex cafe.
  • Reis'in Yeri. Grill house and tea garden with a view on the old Genoese fortress. You might be able to get a beer here.

Sights & Landmarks


Churches and Mosques

Trabzon has dozens of churches and mosques dating from the Byzantine period, the Empire of Trebizond and the Ottoman Empire. During the classical period the city at least had temples for Hermes (the god of trade), Apollo (war), and multiple Mithraeum for the Persian-Greek god Mithras. A bronze statue of Hermes can be found in the basement of the Trabzon Museum. On the places of these temples, which were destroyed for the most part in the 3rd century, christian chapels were built. The oldest surviving church is the 9th century Armenian church of St. Anna, which was built to the east of the Kuzgun valley because Armenians were not allowed to live inside the city walls. After the Ottoman conquest most churches within the walled city were converted into mosques. Many of these buildings retained some elements that hint at their Christian past. During the 18th and 19th centuries there was a boom in the construction of mosques and churches. Most of the historic churches and mosques of the city survived the first world war and the building frenzy of the 1980s onward. One of the most famous churches of the city however, the 19th century Saint Gregory of Nyssa, which stood on the rocky outcrop at the former Genoese castle Leonkastron, overlooking both harbors of the city, was dynamited in 1930.

Church buildings

  • St.Anna Church (Hagia Anna, Küçük Ayvası Kilise), Ziyaret Sk No:9. This small Armenian church was built in the 9th century and is possibly one of the oldest buildings in the city. The door is locked, but one can look through the keyhole
  • Former Panagia Khrysokephalos Church (Fatih Camii).Founded in 11th Century on top of a smaller chapel, part of which used to house a Mithraeum until the 3rd century A.D. Turned into a mosque right after the fall of the city in 1461.
  • Former Eugenios Church (Hagios Eugenios, Yeni Cuma Camii), Cami Sk 26-76.Now it is a Mosque. Founded in 13th Century
  • St John Church (Sotha Kilisesi), Haneci Sokak (1. Çulha Sk.). This church is mostly used as a cultural centre
  • St. Mary Church (Santa Mariya Katolik Klisesi), Sümer Sk. The only church in Trabzon that has regular masses.
  • Kudrettin Mosque (Kudrettin Cami). Former St.Philip church.
  • Mollah Siyah Mosque (Mollah Siyah Cami). Former Byzantine St. Andreas church
  • Yeni Kemerkaya Mosque (Yeni Kemerkaya Cami). Former church built in 1838
  • Hoca Halil Mosque (Hoca Halil Cami). Former church
  • Erdoğdu Bey Masjid (Erdoğdu Bey Mescidi). Another former church, next to a newer mosque
  • Hızırbey Mosque (Hızırbey Cami). Ottoman mosque built in 1789 around a pre-existing church.
  • Hüsnü Gökkuş Paşa Mosque (Hüsnü Gökkuş Paşa Cami). Former St.Elefterios church. Unfortunately, the building was recently defaced with a kitsch facade and a LED ticker board. Also, the municipality has started demotion of large parts of the historical port quarter Çömlekçi, where the former church is located.

Islamic architecture

Interestingly, much of the Islamic architecture in Trabzon makes use of Seljuk and local Pontic/Caucasian references, instead of Ottoman ones found in other Turkish cities. Baroque Revivalism was also quite popular, and still has some influence on new mosque constructions.

  • İskender Pasha Mosque (İskender Paşa Camii), Meydan Cami Sk.
  • Bazaar Mosque(Çarşı Camii), Çarşı Cami Sokak
  • Gulbahar Hatun Mosque & Tomb(Gülbahar Hatun Camii), Yavuz Selim Bulvarı (Tanjant Cd.).Founded in 1507
  • Tabakhane Mosque (Tabakhane Camii). Interesting revivalist mosque next to the Tabakhane bridge.
  • Marketgate Mosque (Pazarkapı Cami). Ottoman mosque.
  • Hacı Kasım Muhittin Mosque (Hacı Kasım Muhittin Cami).Ottoman mosque.
  • Müftü Mosque (Müftü Cami). Ottoman mosque built in 1753.
  • Ahi Evren Dede Mosque.
  • Tavanli Mosque (Tavanli Cami). Ottoman mosque.
  • Tekke Mosque (Tekke Cami). Ottoman mosque, built in 1591.
  • Hamza Paşa Mosque (Hamza Paşa Camii). Ottoman mosque.
  • Hacı Salih Mosque (Hacı Salih Cami). Recently restored Ottoman mosque.
  • İçkale Mosque (İçkale Camii). A small but very old mosque, built on the acropolis of the old city, near the palace.
  • Hasanpaşa Mosque (Hasanpaşa Cami). Ottoman mosque.
  • Haji Yahya Mosque (Haji Yahya Cami). Small Ottoman mosque
  • Hoca Halil Mosque Mosque (Hoca Halil Cami). Small Ottoman mosque
  • Semerciler Mosque (Semerciler Camii). Small Ottoman mosque

Monasteries

  • Kaymaklı Monastery (Monastery of the All-Saviour, Ամենափրկիչ Վանք), Hizmet Cd., Trabzon suburb? (2 km East).
  • Kızlar Monastery(Panagia Monastery, Kızlar Manastırı), Desen Sokak and Mht. Coşkun Karaağaçlı Cd. corner, Boztepe Mh.. Founded in 1360's. There is a rock church with fresco's. Currently (2015) being restored and transformed into a cultural arts center.

Caravanserai

  • Bedesten. A former caravanserai. Recently restored and turned into an arts and crafts center.Three of the historic caravanserai of the city have recently been restored. They are all located near to each other, in the Bazaar district.
  • Taş Han. A former caravanserai. Recently restored.
  • Alaca Han. A former caravanserai. Recently restored and turned into an arts and crafts center.

Other buildings of interest

  • City walls (Fortress of Trabzon (Kalesi)).Most of the city's defense walls and a few towers remain standing, surrounding the historic center. Only the northern section near the coastal highway has been removed. The walls can best be viewed from Zagnos bridge and park. Sections of Roman, Byzantine, Trebizond and Ottoman Empire times remain visible.
  • Aqueduct. In the south of Zagnos Valley Park there is a small late Roman/early Byzantine aqueduct.
  • Kalepark Fortress(Güzelhisar). It is a former Genoese fortification calledLeonkastron. You can get there by walking to the northeast from the eastern end of Meydan square. There is a tea garden just west of the fortress.
  • Office of the chamber of mechanical engineers (Makina Mühendisleri Odası). One of the most interesting architectural works in the city. It faces the small Hagia Anna church.
  • Trabzon Bar Association. The former American consulate, squeezed in between Yavuz Selim boulevard southeast of cental Meydan square.
  • Office of the chamber of journalists. Small but quaint historic building on the central Meydan square.
  • Former Trebizond Province Governors office. This historic building now houses a cultural center.
  • Russian consulate. This large building is located in the heart of the historic walled city.
  • Former Phrontisterion (Kanuni Anadolu Lisesi). Currently the Turkish high school Kanuni Anadolu Lisesi. This monumental building housed the main Pontic Greek school of higher learning until 1921.
  • Trabzon Art House (Trabzon Sanat Ev (Eski Vali Konağı)). The former city governors mansion.
  • Arsenal (Cephanelik). In the south of the Tabakhane valley lies the old armory. It is restored and now houses a restaurant.
  • Nemlioglu Mansion (Nemlioglu Konak, Nemlioğlu Konağı) (Central).
  • Ortahisar education directorate (Ortahisar ilçe milli eğitim müdürlüğü). Monumental building on Kahramanmaraş street.
  • Former Alaca Turkish Bath (Alaca Hamam), Kazancilar Sokak. A monument.

Parks

  • Meydan. encircled by Atatürk Alanı. The central park was recently renovated. There is a large statue of Ataturk which draws groups of demonstrators. But you can easily drink a relaxing tea under the trees, watch passers-by, eat on the sidewalk cafes or have a beer on one of the rooftop bars.
  • Zagnos bridge & valley park. A new park along the western side of the ancient walled city. With views on many historic mansions. Includes a small theater and byzantine aqueduct.
  • Boztepe tea garden. Southeast of the center, on a hill overlooking the city. Offers great views during day and night. Until the third century A.D. there used to stand a tall statue of Mithra guarding the city on the hill, which was at that time named after the Persian-Greek god. It was replaced by a church and later a mosque. On the hill are also the Ataturk kiosk and Kızlar monastery (under renovation in 2015).
  • Fatih Park. A public tea garden just southeast of Meydan near the Iranian consulate. Come here to relax or play a game of backgammon.
  • Atapark. To the west of Zagnos bridge. It has a tea garden, Ottoman mosque, and the central public library. There is also a full-size model of aSerander, a timber structure typical of the Black Sea region meant to store food away from rodents. To the north of the park is the Varlıbaş shopping mall and the City Council building.
  • Kuzgun / Tabakhane valley park. The new park along the eastern side of the city. Under construction.

Further afield

  • Memorial House Museum of Akçaabat(Akçaabat Ortamahalle Evleri Müzesi). Akçaabat (former Platana, the village closest to Trabzon city) is home to dozens of historical wooden mansions in the local Pontic/Caucasian style. It also has two church buildings, one of which is being restored.
  • Akçakale Fortress(Akçakale kalesi). Only worth it if you plan on visiting the beach nearby.
  • Kuştul Monastery(Turkish: Kuştul Manastırı, Greek: Ιερά Μονή του Αγίου Γεωργίου Περιστερεώτα) (near Şimşirli village, 30 km southeast of Trabzon).
  • Vazelon MonasteryMaçka district, (40 km south of Trabzon).Founded in 270 AD. Now, ruined and abandoned
  • Pontic Mountains (Turkish: Kuzey Anadolu Dağları, meaning North Anatolian Mountains, Trabzon Province). Many trekking, hiking, possibility. Zil Castle, Palovit Waterfall
  • Günes Sanat Galerisi (Art gallery), village Zigana (also called Kalkanli) (about 1 hour by bus from Trabzon southward over the mountains towards Torul and Gümüshane). This art gallery is made by mr Azmi Aytekin, a 73 year old painter and thinker from Zigana. He has traveled around the world, and has settled in the small village Zigana (also called Kalkanli) near the magnificent Zigana mountains. Visit his homepage for pictures.
  • Sürmene (Greek: Σούρμενα, Sourmena; Ottoman Turkish: ﺳﻮرﻣﻨﻪ)) (E 40 km). 5 km to the west of Sürmene, stands a ruined medieval castle
  • Uzungöl Lake (Uzungöl gölü) (99 km from Trabzon, 19 km from Caykara). A lake up in the mountains at an altitude of 1090 m. A great number of broken rocks from the slopes filled up Haldizen stream and Uzungöl was formed in this way. The lake is 1000 m long, 500 m in width and 15 m in depth. - It is surrounded by forests. Uzungöl has an interesting view with the village houses around it. And there are some other small lakes on the mountains which are 15-20 km. from Uzungol. The lake is also surrounded by convenient tracks for hiking. There are some facilities such as bungalows and some establishments which rear trout. Travel agencies organize day tours during summer (40 TL). Uzungöl is the most touristic location in Trabzon province. Its beauty lies not so much in the lake or village itself, but more in the surrounding landscape, which is easily accessible by foot or rented bike.
  • Cevdet Sunay Memorial HouseÇaykara-Sultan Murat Rd (21km. InAtaköy). Cevdet Sunay was the fifth president of Turkey. He was born in this small town and grew up in Trabzon. His birthplace has been a museum since 2001. Incidentally, it is located near the Sultan Murat Yayla, where an important memorial site from the First World War is located at Martyrs Hill (Şehitler Tepesi)

Mansions

In the rural districts of Trabzon one can find many historical 18th and 19th century churches, mosques and mansions.

  • Yakupoglu Memis Aga Mansion (Yakupoğlu Memiş Ağa Konağı) (Sürmene quarter). 
  • Ahmet Aga Mansion (Yakupoğlu Ahmet Ağa Konağı) (Sürmene quarter).
  • 99 Window Hashim Aga Mansion (99 Pencereli Haşim Ağa Konağı) ('Sürmene' quarter).
  • Mustafa Topal Mansion (Sarımollaoğlu Topal Mustafa Konaği) ('Araklı' quarter). 
  • Cakiroglu Ismail Aga Mansion (Çakıroğlu İsmail Ağa Konağı) ('Of' quarter).
  • Cakiroglu Hasan Aga Mansion (Çakıroğlu Hasan Ağa Konağı) ('Of' quarter).

Sümela Monastery

  • Sümela Monastery(Turkish: Sümela Manastırı; Greek: Panagia Soumela, Virgin Mary of Soumela), Altındere Vadisi, Maçka+90 462 5311064, e-mail:. Closed for 1 year from 22 September 2015 for a geological study on the rock face above the monastery due to increased seismic activity in the region.

A spectacular rock-hewn monastery perched dramatically on the narrow ledge of a steep cliff in the forests south of Trabzon. It was built in the fourth century, just before the Roman Empire split into east and west, by two Athenian priests, Barnabas and Sophronius, who, according to legend, found a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave. The monastery's location in this geopolitically tumultuous corner of the globe naturally saw times of trouble and fell into ruin numerous times throughout its history, with its most thriving times falling under Byzantine and Ottoman rule.

The twentieth century, however, was not kind to the monastery. It was abandoned following the chaos and inter-ethnic violence at the end of World War I, and the population transfer of Trabzon's (formerly Trebizond) Greek population back to Greece. Its remote location gave it some sanctuary, but its frescoes still attracted the occasional casually hurled rock by a bored shepherd. The beautiful frescoes today suffer from decades of heart-wrenchingly pointless vandalism by travelers—judging from the various alphabets and names scrawled across these impressive religious works of art, it appears that just about every culture in the world has taken part in the desecration. The buildings themselves have been fairly heavily restored in recent decades, as the Turkish government has stepped in to protect the monastery and to turn it into a museum.

Getting there:

  • The simplest way to get to the monastery is by tour, and you can find a tour in town by just asking any other traveler there (no tourist visits Trabzon without seeing Sümela). For instance, Eyce Tours offers round trip to Sumela for about 30 TL (address: Atatürk Alani, at Taksim İşhanı sk. 11. (462) 3267174). Also both Metro and Ulusoy bus companies run minibuses to the monastery during summer months from their Ataturk Alani offices.
  • The monastery lies close to Maçka, about 30 km south of Trabzon, and those preferring to get to the monastery on their own means instead of taking a tour can get to Maçka by taking minibuses heading for Gümüşhane, Erzurum or other destinations south from Trabzon. There is also a direct bus connection run by Maçka municipality from Cemil Usta street south of Meydan square. The rest of the way, approximately 17 km to the actual site of monastery, can be done by hitchhiking. Thedolmuş from downtown Maçka have the same price than if you would buy it from Trabzon(20TL) and departs at 10h30, which will take you to the entrance of Altındere National Park (Milli Park). Then, the monastery is about half an hour walk away, which can be done through a forest trail, which was recently widened in order to cope with the ever increasing numbers of visitors, or along the tarmac road leading to the monastery.
  • Those approaching with their own vehicles can get as near as 300 meters to Sümela itself, where there is a car-park in front of Hagia Barbara Chapel. There is an additional fee of 20 TL for cars, paid at the entrance of the national park.

Since Sümela is closed for the moment (but you still went to Maçka village for some reason), why not explore Altındere national park? Upstream along Altındere (Golden River) above the tree line are beautiful landscapes with ice cold lakes. An alternative route could lead eastward towards the ghost towns of Santa (Dumanlı, in Gümüşhane province). These are multi-day treks for which you need an experienced tour guide. The best place to arrange this would be in Trabzon at one of the tourist offices off Meydan square.

Museums & Galleries

  • Aya Sofya Museum(Trabzon Ayasofya Müzesi), Ayasofya Caddesi (W 3 km. - You can reach here by anyDolmuş marked 'Aya Sofya', which depart from the north side of Atatürk Alani square. The ride take 5-10 minutes, and costs about 1.5 TL. This should be one of your sights while in Trabzon.). A beautiful and picturesque church converted into a mosque and later into a museum that still has stunning frescoes within—just like its namesake in Istanbul. There is a peaceful open-air tea garden on the grounds. While the main hall of the church has been converted into a mosque (its legal status is still under debate) all of the best preserved frescos are still visible in the narthex.
  • Trabzon Museum (Trabzon Müzesi). Tu-Su 09:00-12:00, 13:00-18:00. Former Mansion of Banker Kostaki Teophylaktos (Kostaki Konağı), built in 1889. The first floor houses the gallery of ethnographical artefacts. In the basement is a bronze statue of the Greek god Hermes, found at Tabakhane bridge nearby. 3 TL.
  • Trabzon Ataturk House Museum (Trabzon Atatürk Köşkü Müzesi), in Soğuksu Village.
  • Silk Road Museum (Ipekyolu Müzesi). Shows objects connected to the silk road trade. Located in the office of the Chamber of Trade and Industry.
  • Şamil Ekinci Museum (Trabzonspor Müzesi). Prize museum of beloved football club Trabzonspor
  • City Museum (Trabzon Kent Müzesi). The city museum shows the history of Trabzon from its Greek inception to the Ottoman times. It also has sections on local flora and fauna, clothing, music, dance, arts and craft, and as of 2015 it is under construction.

Things to do


Sports games

Trabzon is not only the cultural capital of the Turkish Black Sea coast, it is also home to Trabzonspor, the most successful Turkish football club outside Istanbul. Thanks to unrelenting popular support it is rare for the team to lose home games, so if you like football, be sure to visit at Hüseyin Avni Aker stadium. If you are visiting but supporting a competing team, it would be a good start to visit the Trabzonspor clubhouse and adjoining bar/restaurant. Trabzonspor supporters will welcome you and possibly ask you to join them to the game and have a drink afterwards. If the team wins from one of the main clubs from Istanbul, the city transforms into a giant street party. Due to the match-fixing allegations of the 2010-11 season, when Trabzonspor lost the title to rival Fenerbahce under suspicious circumstances, Trabzonspor fans have in part become disinterested in the Turkish football league, even using the slogan "Trabzon, not Turkey". Luckily for the city, the basketball branch of Trabzonspor has made great improvements over the last years. It is now one of the country's best performing clubs, and also participates in European competitions. The new Hayri Gür Basketball Arena is one of the largest in Europe.

  • Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium (about a 20-30 minute walk west of the main square. If in doubt, ask a local "Trabzonspor Stadyumu" and they will point you in the correct direction). Why not watch a match of the local football team, Trabzonspor, the most successful team in Turkey outside of Istanbul. If you are in the city on a weekend, you can watch the team at the stadium.
  • Hayri Gür Arena (Southeast of the airport. Take a bus or dolmus heading east.). With a capacity of 7500, it is one of the largest basketball courts in Europe.

Hamams, beaches and swimming pools

Unfortunatly Trabzon is left without a beach since the construction of the coastal highway. The nearest beaches are at Akçakale, 25 km to the west, and at Kalecik, 25 km to the east. Please take note that the water of the Black Sea is not suitable for swimming during the colder months of the year. Also, these shingle beaches don't offer the comfort or facilities that one finds in the Turkish riviera. The nearest beach holiday destinations are Giresun to the west and Batumi to the east. Within the city itself are 4 historical bathhouses (Hamams). Three of them are still operational. Only the central Hamam is continually operational for both sexes, while the others have specific days for male and females.

  • Central Hamam. If you're brave, try traditional Turkish bath (Hamam). The men-only Hamam is right next to Efes Pub; the women-only Hamam is just around the corner. A really great authentic Turkish experience, and the people are very nice and will walk you through everything. 25 TL for a bath (including a scrubbing and massage) at the women's Hamam, and you should also tip your masseuse.
  • Sekiz Direkli Hamam. Another historic hamam, to the west of the bazaar quarter.
  • Akçakale Beach (Akçakale Plajı) (W 24 km).
  • Kalecik Beach (Kalecik Plajı) (E 25 km).
  • Aquapark. Outdoor swimming pool with large slides. Located between Akçakale and Akçaabat.
  • Mehmet Akif Ersoy Indoor Swimming Pool. Olympic-size swimming pool. Not for small children.

Entertainment

  • Cinemaximum. The movie theater at the Forum shopping mall. Mainly shows blockbusters with Turkish subtitles.
  • Royal Sinema. The main cinema near central Meydan square. Also offers blockbusters with Turkish subtitles. Next door to Lara cinema, which mainly shows dubbed movies.
  • Avşar Sinema. This cinema is located in the Varlıbaş AVM shopping mall north of Atapark (just to the west of the western city walls). Blockbusters with Turkish subtitles, but offers a slightly larger choice.
  • Trabzon state theater (Trabzon Devlet Tiyatrosu). Trabzon was one of the first Ottoman cities to house a theater, and in 1912 it was the first city in the empire outside Istanbul to have an opera house. The state theater of Trabzon still offers quality plays. Even though virtually all plays are in Turkish, the powerful performances can still move tourists.
  • Hamamizade İhsanbey Cultural Center (Hamamizade İhsanbey Kültür Merkez). A culture center with (amongst other things) a theater hall. It is one of a few interesting works of modern architecture in the city.

Outdoors

Trabzon is well known in Turkey as a destination for nature tourism and outdoor sports activities. The mountainous districts in Trabzon and neighboring Giresun and Rize provinces offer plenty options, but most areas are hardly developed for (international) tourism. However, this is also what makes the region attractive to adventurous travelers and Turkish families fleeing the hordes of tourists in Istanbul or the west coast. The beauty of Trabzon really lies in its alpine nature and remote, independent village life; Waking up in a traditional timber shed by the sound of cowbells and the scent of morning dew drawing the endless flower fields into your bed. Having fresh milk, corn bread, eggs and cooked green vegetables and spring water straight from the tap. To have this experience, you have to leave Trabzon, leave Uzungöl, and move higher up the mountain slopes, to the villages with their typical architecture and beautifully ornamented timber mosques, or even higher, where there are 'open air mosques', similar to the very first mosques in the world. Even though the people here are devout, they are not conservative in the traditional sense. It is normal for men and woman to mingle, make jokes, etc. Sufism has had a strong influence on these remote districts, and many people still grow up speaking minority languages like Romeyka Greek, Laz or Hemsin Armenian.

Trekking

The densely forested mountain slopes of Trabzon province are ideal for trekking adventures. However, for most districts there are no maps available in print or online. The exception is Çaykara district, which is the most detailed area of Turkey on Open Street Maps. Incidentally this is one of the most densely settled valleys along the Black Sea coast, which means you will never be farther than a few kilometers from the nearest village. Some villages have small hotels or home-stays, especially near Uzungöl lake, but you are always free to camp in the wild. In some villages you can also rent a traditional chalet or herder's shack on the yayla. Expect to be invited for tea in every village, especially if you have children with you. The most important languages for communication in the villages are Turkish and Greek, but especially during the summer you might also find people that speak German, English, Arabic or Russian. The highest peaks of the Pontic Mountains in Trabzon province lie in the southeast of Çaykara district and reach to just over 3 kilometers. It is possible to trek from Demirkapi (Haldizen) in Çaykara to Anzer yayla and Ovit Plateau in Rize province, and then eastwards to the Kackar mountains (the highest peaks of the Pontic Mountains).

However, currently most mountaineering enthusiasts instead go directly to the Kackar mountains in next-door Rize province. Kate Clow popularized this area through her book, which includes detailed routes with coordinates.

Because dense fog can obscure a clear day within a few minutes in these mountainous areas, it is ill advised to wander around alone or without GPS. Brown bears, wolves but also friendlier wild animals can be found in the forests. It is legal to set up camp in the wild, but be sure not to leave any trash.

Mountain biking

Alternatively to trekking through the highlands of Trabzon, mountain biking along the relatively flat, connected alpine pastures (yaylas), running parallel to each other and at right-angles to the coast, is fun and doable. You will see a lot of Turkish tourists on their mountain bikes.

Rafting

Fırtına valley in upper Hemsin district of Rize province is ideal for rafting in Fırtına river, with its many centuries old arch bridges.

Winter Sports

Although many valleys in the Trabzon region are suitable for winter tourism, for a long time there was no development in this direction. There is however a long tradition of locals using a contraption similar to a snowboard, called apetranboard, for transport down snow covered slopes. There is just one small ski-resort, located at the Zigana-pass between Trabzon and Gümüşhane, though it is being enlarged. The only way to experience the higher pristine slopes of the Pontic Mountains to the southeast of the city is currently by helicopter. Heliskiing trips can be arranged from Uzungöl, Ikizdere and Ayder, but are expensive and can be dangerous for the inexperienced. A large ski-resort with multiple pistes and ski-lifts is being constructed at Uzungöl.

Festivals and events

  • Black Sea Theatre Festival Mostly (but not exclusively) groups from countries around the Black Sea participate in this festival.
  • International Painting Festival Promoting painting int he wider area of Trabzon.
  • Kadirga Festival (third week of June, Kadirga Yayla, Şalpazarı) The largest and oldest folk festival of Turkey. On the Pontic alps near the Gümüşhane province border. Locals, European Turks and Pontic Greeks meet on the mountain pastures to celebrate their shared culture in folk costume, music, dance and cuisine. On other summer pastures (yayla's) there are similar (but smaller) festivities.
  • Sultan Murat Festival (Sultanmurat Şenlikleri) After the Kadirga Festival this is the largest folk festival of Trabzon. It is held in the end of August on the Sultanmurat yayla, 25 kilometers southwest of Çaykara village.
  • Ramadan The Islamic holy month (called Ramazan in Turkish) is very visible in Trabzon. While most liquor stores and restaurants close during the day, in the evening it can be hard to find a free spot on the many sidewalk cafes surrounding central Meydan square.
  • Divine Liturgy (August 15th, Sümela Monastery) Every year since 2010 the Greek Orthodox patriarch has lead a liturgy at the Sümela Monastery (Moní Panagías Soumelá) in Maçka district, south of the city. Because of the size and location of the monastery, only a few hundred people are allowed to join the liturgy. In Maçka village screens are set up for other pilgrims.
  • Kalendar (night of 13-14th January) In some villages in Sürmene and Çaykara districs, similar to Pontic Greek Momogeroi, the "old-new year" of the Julian calendar is celebrated. Locals wear traditional clothing or guise themselves as sheep or Haji Firuz.
  • A historically important festival in Trabzon was Epiphany on January 6th. Thousands of Christians and Muslim onlookers gathered at Kalmek point, the place where the city protrudes the most into the Black Sea, to see the Christian ceremony. With the departure of the Greek Orthodox population, this tradition was lost to the city.

Nightlife

There are only a few restaurants that serve alcohol in the city center. Among them being Bordo Mavi and Trabzon Şehir Kulübü Restaurant in Nemlioğlu Cemal Sokak (sidestreet of Uzun Sokak). Other options are a bit further from the center, between Trabzon and Akcaabat, such as Tirvana,Lazeli or Marina. A lot of the more traditional restaurants offer non-alcoholic cocktails. Luckily, because Trabzon is a student city, there is still quite a broad choice between music venues compared to other Turkish cities.

  • Şişman Efes Pub. Centrally located, one part is men-only, the other is mixed.
  • BARikat rock bar. Rooftop rock bar.
  • Sahne bar. Live music bar
  • Garage Disco Bar. Disco just east of Meydan, in the hotel area.
  • Altmış Bir'a (61'a). Football pub of Trabzonspor fans.
  • Süleyman Bar. This bar is located at Trabzon Forum shopping mall.
  • Mey bar. Live music and DJ's.
  • Cıngıl Bar. Brown cafe.
  • Retto. Nightclub. You need to make reservations at 0543 647 0011

Things to know


Talk

The Eastern Black Sea Region has its own dialect, which is more influenced by Greek and Persian than Anatolian varieties of Turkish. Because of the isolation of the coastal cities, the dialect retained archaic grammar and vocabulary that has been lost in other Turkish dialects. The most striking example is the absence of vowel harmony, one of the building blocks of all Turkic languages. This means that the local dialect can sound funny to speakers of 'standard' Anatolian or Istanbul Turkish. Much Turkish low-brow humor revolves around characters from Trabzon, but the locals don't appreciate the jokes that are made at their expense. The western districts of Trabzon province form a gradual transition area to Anatolian Turkish. This Turkish will be more easily understood for tourists who have studied the language. Next to old varieties of Turkish, there are some minority languages that are spoken, mostly in the rural communities to the southwest and southeast of the city. Romeyka is the most archaic Greek language spoken in current times; its speakers are concentrated in the Of-valley along the Solakli river in the villages on the mountain slopes in Caykara district and surrounding areas. There are also small pockets of Greek speaking muslim villages in Tonya and Surmene districts. Although the locals don't like being called Greek, recent research has shown they are very proud of their language, and they are happy to use it to converse with Greek tourists. It is still possible to find Pontic Greek speakers in Trabzon city, and tourists should not be afraid to openly speak Greek in public space. It is more likely however that one finds a local who is fluent in German, Dutch or Russian. English language courses are immensely popular among the young generation, but it is not yet as common as in neighboring Georgia. There are small groups of Georgians and Ukrainians in the city.

Safety in Trabzon

Stay Safe


Stay healthy

In general the quality of food and drinks in Trabzon is fine, but tap water in the city is heavily chlorinated. In the mountain villages tap water has been connected to local springs and is absolutely safe to drink. Fresh dairy produce are delicious but if you are unaccustomed to this, it could upset your stomach. Very few local dishes contain a large amount of oils (or are wrongly prepared that way). Most of the vegetables and fruit that you can buy at markets in the province are grown locally in an organic way, so they are perfectly safe to eat. If you see wild fruit next to the road while on a hiking or biking trip, it is placed there for travelers to enjoy. But be aware of the local poison honey (deli bal)!


Stay safe

Trabzon is generally a safe city for visitors and has low crime rates. As the city is not touristic, you will not be bothered by pushers of restaurants or shop owners in the bazaar quarter. During the 90s and early 00s there was a problem with street prostitution around the harbor due to the collapse of the economies of the neighboring ex-Soviet states. In the recent decade this has mostly been tackled, and there are now also places where it is safe and comfortable for women to go out. The mountainous hinterland of the city is also safe, but rather sparsely populated. It is not recommended to travel in these remote areas alone, but if well prepared it is possible to do a bicycle camping trip by yourself. If you plan on hiking in the forested mountains, be sure to read about how to deal with bear encounters.

High / 7.2

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 5.4

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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