Trabzon is a very ancient and important port city established at a natural coast of Eastern Black Sea at the beginning of Asia and Middle East transit roads. It is the second biggest city center and settlement place of the Black Sea region in the country, after Samsun. It has connections with other Black Sea ports of the country too.
Historical and cultural richness, natural beauty, mountains higher than 3000 meters, deep blue sea, wide uplands, nature with incredibly many shades of green, rivers with waterfalls, rich flora and fauna, friendly and funny people, interesting and special properties of its own, traditions, rituals and customs, upland festivals, regional handicraft, dishes, mild climate, transportation and shopping opportunities make Trabzon a beautiful tourist place that can be visited 4 seasons and 12 months a year.
With its area of 4685 km2, Trabzon is a relatively small province of Turkey. However, its population density is among the highest. The population density of Turkey is 73 persons per km2, whereas Trabzon’s population density is 170 persons per km2.
The most convenient passage place of the impassable East Black Sea Mountains is the Zigana Passage located 2010 meters high. The road that reaches inner regions starts from Trabzon and this is an important reason why Trabzon was established here. In 399 BC, a Greek army of about 10000 soldiers under commandment of historian soldier Ksenophon, was returning from a troublesome Iran campaign and after passing through East Anatolia and Zigan Passage under difficult winter conditions, they saw the sea near the place where Trabzon is now located and exclaimed "Thalasa! Thalasa!” (Sea! Sea!) with rejoice. This expression is still used in western languages as a parable for the end of difficult days.
Trabzon has been an important port, trade and service center for centuries. Also, during Byzantine Empire period, it was a religious center. Trabzon was a capital of Trabzon Roman Empire. Also, it was province and state center during the Ottoman Empire period.
Trabzon has been established in about 2000 BC, at the beginning of the Great Silk Road that passes through Erzurum to the borders of Iran and joins Europe and Asia. Some fossils from the village Bahcecik show that the first settlers here were Mosks, Tibarens and Mars of Turani origins and that they were engaged with agriculture and fishery.
The strategic location of Trabzon due the trade roads that come from the Middle Asia and Middle East and reach the sea at the Trabzon coasts has been known by the Aegean people long time ago. According to a myth, long time before the birth of the Christ, an Argonaut Voyage was made here in order to get a golden coat that was known to be hanging in Colchist. The region was famous with its richness of forests and mines in mountains even in those days. Actually, some say that the term “golden coat” is a metaphor to describe the richness of this area. According to some myths, the mining art has been found by a tribe living here long time ago.
In 756 BC, colonizers from Milet moved from Sinop to Trabzon and settled here. The best seamen and merchants of that time were the colonizers from Ionia’s Milet city.
People from Milet called this place Trapezous from the word “trapeza”, which means “table” in Ancient Greek, after they saw surfaces of table-like terraces that reach the coast through plains. As time passed, the name changed to Trapezus, Trapezund, Trebizond and ultimately, people started to pronounce it as Trabzon. People of Trabzon have made fortunes by shipping the goods coming to the port via hundreds of ships to various coasts of Black Sea and Aegean Sea.
Till the middle of the first century AD, after Kimmer attacks and Med and Persian domination, this free city has been ruled by Roman Empire. As Romans did for other Greek colonies, they gave Trabzon the title and privilege of “Free City”. Trabzon was an Eastern base for Romans until 395 AD.
After being left as a heritage from Romans to Byzantine Empire, Trabzon has been surrounded by Muslim Arabs in 8th and 9th centuries. They even invaded it for a short time. However, Byzantines took Trabzon back. In 1204, Trabzon became a capital of Trabzon Roman Empire. Turkmens began to come to this region only in 1048. Despite multiple attempts, Turkmens did not succeed in invading Trabzon. In 1461, Trabzon was taken by Fatih Sultan Mehmet and integrated into Ottoman lands, where Yavuz Sultan Selim has been a governor and where Kanuni Sultan Suleiman was born.
The land of Trabzon is made of river valleys, deeply cleaved mountains and bumpy areas. The rivers and streams that originate in Trabzon are short and fast-flowing and they fall into the Black Sea.
Immediately after the coast, there are East Black Sea Mountain Chains that resemble straight walls and that reach 3000 meters in some places. These mountains are hard to pass and there are only a few passage points. These mountains stretch in East and West directions and they form a natural border for the Bayburt and Gumushane provinces at the South. The forests that lay as high as 2000 meters are made of various kinds of trees. After the snow melts here in the wide uplands, the weather becomes pleasantly cool and the rivers fill with plenty of cold water. In past, these uplands were important for cattle-breeding and now these uplands are drawing interest as summer house places.
The highest point in Trabzon is the Karakaya Peak of the Haldizen Mountain – it is 3193 meters high. The north regions of the mountains that stretch parallel to the coast are always getting plenty of rainfall. In Trabzon, a typical Black Sea climate is dominant – every month of a year there is some rain. The temperature difference between summer and winter and between day and night is not very big.
Trabzon is very rich in terms of its flora. 440 types of plants are specific for Trabzon and about 2500 of plant types rare in Turkey are present in Trabzon.
Mountains are covered with dense alder, hornbeam, chestnut, reech, fir and spruce tree forests. The south part of the mountains has Scotch pine forests.www.trabzon.bel.tr
Trabzon’s counties are: Akcaabat, Arakli, Arsin, Besikduzu, Carsibasi, Caykara, Dernekpazari, Duzkoy, Hayrat, Koprubasi, Macka, Of, Surmene, Salpazari, Tonya, Vakfikebir and Yomra.
This county is located 13 km West of Trabzon and has a Black Sea coast. Akcaabat is one of Trabzon’s touristic counties and it is famous with its natural beauties, uplands, streams, historical houses, districts, historical mosques, churches and fountains, Akcakale Castle, Sera Lake and renowned Akcaabat meatballs. Akcakale Castle has been established in 12th century and it still challenges the time itself. It gave its name to the Akcakale city of Akcaabat. The natural beaches along the coasts of Akcakale and Mersin village are the preferred places during the summer months. One of the historical districts of Akcaabat is Orta Mahalle (Middle District). Orta Mahalle is one of the rarest settlement places that bears civil architecture samples, houses, streets, stairs, walls and fountains of the Ottoman Empire periods that shows a historical integrity as an antiquity.
This county is located 76 km South-East of Trabzon and is famous with its Uzungol Tourism Center. Starting with Sultan Murat Upland, the beautiful uplands of Caykara are worth visiting. Sultan Murat Upland can be reached from a 15 km long road that starts 4 km above Caykara. Every year at 23rd of June, people from various provinces come here to celebrate the Upland Festival.
This county is located 30 km away from Trabzon, on the Trabzon-Gumushane road. Besides its natural beauties, this county is one of the most tourist-visited ones due to Altindere National Park and Sumela Monastery.
This county is 40 km away from Trabzon. The touristic places here are the Calkoy Cave and the beautiful uplands. One of the important uplands here is the Hacka Upland. The Hackali Baba Mausoleum located in this upland, is an important visiting place for the local people and is always full with visitors.
The local people are the Cepnis from the Oguz’s Ucoklar Clan. The Cepnis are known to have come here long before the conquest of Trabzon by Ottomans. The word “cepni” has meanings like “hardy against enemies”, “merciful against oppressed” and “border watcher”. Cepni’s have migrated from Middle Asia. They first have come to the East Anatolia and Iran and then about 100000 of them have come to Gorele, Tirebolu, Sebinkarahisar, Torul, Kurtun and Agasar (Salpazari) at the East Black Sea coast. Salpazari has a valley, the beauties of which became a topic for local songs. This valley is known as Agasar. Natural beauties, cultural richness and varieties make the uplands worth seeing. Especially the Sis Mountain Upland where people perform traditional upland festivals each 4th Saturday of June and healing water named Acisu (bitter water) are famous.
Arakli is located at the East of Trabzon. The first settlement here was at the place called Konakonu, which is located West of the today’s province center. Because Arakli is located between Buzluca and Kalecik Castles, it is assumed that the name Arakli comes from the “Arakale”, which means “a castle in between”. Pazarcik, which is located 70 km South of Arakli and is covered with pine trees, has been announced as tourism center by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. At the entry to Pazarcik, there is a Pazarcik Cave. Every 25th of August, people perform festivals in the Yilantas Upland of the Yesilyurt city. There is a cemetery of the 1st World War located in the Yesilyurt. There are healing waters in the Bereketli village that is 10 km away from Arakli, Cormeler Pilitli village that is 55 km away from Arakli and Balahor village that is 80 km away from Arakli. The name of the water in Balahor village is Acisu, which means “bitter water”.
Haghia Sophia Church-Center
Trabzon Haghia Sophia Church serves as a museum, nowadays. This church has been built during the times of the Trabzon Empire King 1st Manuel Komnenos (1238-1263). The tower located at the West of the church has been dated by the English voyager and historian G. Finlay in 1427. After Fatih Sultan Mehmet has conquered Trabzon, the church became a mosque and has been beautifully preserved. Haghia Sophia has attracted the attention of voyagers and explorers for centuries.
The church has architecture of the Late Byzantine church types and has a square-cross shape and a high central dome (cupola). It became a museum after 1964.
The most magnificent part of the building is its south part. Here, the creation of Adam and Eve has been depicted in form of a beautiful stone engravement.
At the South border, there is a single-headed eagle statue - a symbol of Kommenos people that ruled in Trabzon for 257 years. A similar eagle depiction is located at the East part of the church. At this border, there are descriptions of creatures like Centaur, pigeons and panels with stars and new moon, and medallions with plant-based motifs.
Wall-paintings (frescos) are the main decorations in the church and some topics from Bible have been depicted in these paintings.
Haghia Sophia lives today as both historical and art antique with a long history, central planned structure, beautiful high dome, circular and polygon apses, multiple stone handicrafts and wall-paintings.
In this area there is a unique monument called Serender, which has been taken from Of Province as a donation from Kislacik village and has been restored under a guidance of an 85-years-old serender master. Also known as “Serendi” and “tekir”, these portable structures that are built on pillars were used to dry and store cereals in the moist climate of the Black Sea region. These structures have a special place in the East Black Sea Architecture.
A portable village house that is built next to a serender is generally a small-sized and single-floored. These houses were built in an old-fashioned manner by masters who knew special building techniques.
The structures are made of the chestnut tree and the technique is based on intercalation of the wooded parts into each other. Two of the sides of the house are empty and the others are filled with stones and soil. The roof made of four parts is wide and covered with tile.
Trabzon Museum (Kostaki Mansion)
This mansion has been established in the beginning of 1900s by Banker Kostaki Teophylaktos. Except for the basement floor, all of the floors have hand-made wall ornaments.
After a restoration that took almost 13 years (1987-2001), the mansion has been opened for visits as an Archeological and Ethnographic Museum in 22 April 2001.
The basement level was assigned as archeological antiques level after the mansion became museum. In this level, stones, baked soil, metals, glass and other works from Early Bronze Period till Ottoman period are being displayed.
Being relatively simpler than the entrance floor, the first floor is assigned as a section for presentation of ethnographic works. In this floor, Islamic works, weapons, written works, documents, jewelry and clothes are being displayed.
The museum’s garden is also very beautiful and worth seeing. The South-East section of the garden has a round pool with a fountain in its center consisting of two segmented plates: the one at the bottom larger than the one at the top. The garden has pine trees, palm trees and various
Ataturk Pavilion (Ataturk Museum)
The pavilion is located in the Soguksu region, in a small pine forest. It was built at the very beginning of the 20th century. Ataturk has stayed this pavilion in 1934 and 1937 during his Trabzon visits. After his death, Trabzon Municipal decided to turn this pavilion into a museum. Ataturk wrote part of his will while he was staying in this pavilion.
Sumela Monastery (Mother Mary Monastery-Macka)
Sumela Monastery, built in the name of Mother Mary, is located 17 km South of the Macka county, on the Altindere Valley’s Western side, at 300 meters altitude, in a cave that is inside of the valley that stands as straight as wall. The difficult ascent to the peak is rewarded with a tremendous view from here. The monastery is the source of all the propagation of Christianity in the area and with its chapel, church and other complexes it has an important role in the art history. There are various stories about how the monastery was established. The most widely known one is that a monk from Athens called Barnabas and his nephew Sophrenios established a church here first. Sumela Monastery, from its first establishment, has been identified as being made by St. Luke and a Mother Mary painting with miraculous effects that are being talked about among folks. According to a legend, Barnabas and his nephew have brought the painting, which depicts Mother Mary and the childhood of Jesus, to Trabzon when they first came here. After accumulating enough workers that would build the monastery they come to a place called Degirmendere (Altindere) located in Macka county. After climbing one of the straightest sides of the Kora Mountains they found a cave that had water dripping from its ceiling and built the first two rooms of the monastery (385AD). After the death of the two monks, this two-roomed monastery has been accepted as a sacred temple by both Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
Mother Mary Monastery is one of the oldest Christian temples in the Black Sea region. Its importance also comes from it being built as a very interesting structure in the middle of the natural beauties of the mountains and wall and ceiling decorations made during various periods of its existence. The monastery consists of two parts. The first part consists of a prayer place, a holy spring under a place where water drips from the ceiling and 3-4 small churches (chapels). The prayer place is decorated with frescos that are made on the topics taken from Bible. The second part is made of four floors that are reached after passing the entrance to the monastery and the stairs leading down. There are bedrooms, lounges, bookshelves, storerooms, cellars and toilets in these four floors. From the records it is known that there were 72 rooms. This part of the monastery is accessible from the outside through 96 step stairs. Every 14th of August a ceremony is being performed here. Restoration procedures are still being done in the monastery.
This castle is one of the most preserved castles in the region. It is in the city center and stretching from the coast to the mountains. The castle consists of the upper, middle and lower fortress parts. The constructions made during the Byzantine Empire periods, have been repaired and expanded by Ottomans. In the Upper Fortress there are remains of a palace, most likely to be of the Emperor Justinianus period, in which emperor and aristocrats were living. Religious constructions are located in the Middle Fortress. The Lower Fortress is a port made during Hadriannus period and it is stretching from a tower called Zaganos Pasa to the coast. Kalepark (Guzelhisar) is 20 meters above and is looking towards the port.
Fatih Munnition (Irene Castle, Fatih Castle)
The tower is constructed as two round structures one positioned in another. The outer two floors are completely intact. Very few remains of the third floor are still in good condition. In inner and outer structures on each floor, there are frequent and evenly spaced 13 windows. The outer structure bears the entry and it is at the same height with windows. The entry is a little wider than the windows and it is facing North-West. The tablet above it is empty. On the wall of the third floor there is a stone tablet at the same height with the door that has a monograph dating 1302 AD. There are embossed rosettes on the four corners of the tablet.
Located 18 km West of Trabzon and giving its name to the county, this tower looks towards the sea. It is thought that this tower was made by Emperor Aleksios II during years 1297-1330 for protection from Selcuks. After the conquest of Trabzon, the tower was defended for seven more years and then was captured by one of Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s captains Mahmud Pasa. Mahmud Pasa himself fell martyr during the capture of the tower and is buried here. After being repaired and expanded by the Ottomans, the tower kept being an important military base even till the beginning of the 20th century. The tower is made of rubble and cut stone. Even though most parts of the tower are in ruins now, it has not changed much from its original look. However, the fact that the stairs were made of wood makes the entry to the upper floors difficult today.
Imaret Deresi, Kavakli and Kuzgundere (Incekopru) Water Archs are among important water arches of Trabzon.
Trabzon’s historical mosques are Iskender Pasa Mosque, Carsi Mosque, Gulbahar Hatun Mosque, Fatih (Ortahisar) Mosque, Yeni Cuma Mosque, Ahi Evren Dede Mosque, Erdogdu Bey Mosque and Tavanli Mosque.
Gulbahar Hatun (Great Pilgrim Hostel, Hatuniye) Mosque and Mausoleum
This mosque was made in the name of Yavuz Sultan Selim’s mother, Ayse Gulbahar Hatun. It was established in 1514, at the West of the Middle Fortress, near the Zagnos Bridge. The mosque and the tomb remained intact till our days; however, the hostel, the theological school, the bath and the school were ruined. This mosque has a special place in the Turkish works of Trabzon. It is a separate plan type of Early Ottoman Empire Architecture and it is classified as “Zaviyeli Mosque” (“Mosque with Corners/Angles”). This mosque does not have a “backyard” present in Zaviyeli types of mosques. The wall ornaments are important here. The minaret at the West side is a classical Ottoman minaret type.
The tomb near the mosque was made in 1506 for Yavuz Sultan Selim's mother Gulbahar Hatun. The tomb has a good stone handicraft. It is built with yellowish cut stones. Gray stones decorate the windows. The tomb is octagon shaped (eight cornered). An octagon cylinder is sitting on an octagon base. The dome is also octagonal and is covered with lead.
Located in the Kemeralti Carsi District, this mosque is Trabzon’s biggest mosque. It was built in 1839 by governor Hazinedarzade Osman Pasa, who was Trabzon’s governor for long years. Since the area where the mosque was built has an inclination, small shops were built under the last rows of the prayer places. The building has tremendously beautiful stone handicraft. It is completely covered with lead. Doors and windows have borders with baroque decorations. The mosque was planned on six pillars. There are places for late coming prayers and place for woman prayers. The place for late coming prayers is made of three parts and is made of a thin porch drawn among four columns.
Iskender Pasa Mosque
This mosque is located behind the Trabzon Municipal building, on the Taksim Square. In 16th century, Trabzon Governor Iskender Pasa established this mosque. The theological school located in the backyard is in ruins and the cemetery at its West has been cancelled. Only Iskender Pasa’s grave is left here. The mosque has been repaired and expanded several times and it has lost its originality. The mosque has a very beautiful stone handicraft. Bricks and colored stones are used in an alternative manner in the building of the minaret. The overall plan of the structure resembles the Yesil Mosque located in Iznik. The entry is from the late coming prayers area. This area has a dome sitting on two columns from the south side and the side walls and this dome is covered with ground tackle from its East and West sides. The women prayer place also has a dome. The niche indicating the direction of Mecca and the minbar (pulpit) are made of marble. It has 19th century baroque decorations. They have large-leafed, curved-stemmed borders and cartridges. The insides of the mosque are decorated with handwritten ornaments. The construction epigraph dating 1529 is above the entry door. Also, there is an epigraph dating 1882, after a repair made in that year.
Ahi Evren Dede Mosque
This establishment date of mosque located in Boztepe district is unknown. Since Semsettin Sami has built Ahi Evren dervish place here during Sultan Orhan period, it is thought that today’s mosque and tomb are located in this place. We have no certain knowledge about the complex. Ahi Evren Dede Mosque was repaired during the period of Abdulaziz (1888) with the contributions of Haci Hakki Baba and saved till our days.
Erdogdu Bey Mosque
Established by Trabzon governor Erdogdu Bey in 1577. The mosque was repaired many times and mainly has lost its properties. Entry to the wooded meeting places that are located at the border of the women and men prayer places is from the top floor. There are flower decorations in the corners and writings on the top. Minbar (pulpit) is wooded and simple.
This mosque is one of the Trabzon’s typical-roofed mosques. It was built by Nemlizades in 1874. It has a wide backyard. It has a square-like plan structure. Thick stone walls are decorated with handicraft. The entrance to the women prayer place (harim) has a wooden fence. Stone niche indicating the direction of Mecca (mihrap) has borders that depict trees emerging from vase and curly stem embossments. Minbar (pulpit) is simple. The wooden ceiling of the women praying place has an embossment in the center.
Yeni Cuma Mosque (Previously Hagios Eugenios Church)
This mosque was built on a Trabzon’s Protector Saint Eugenios church. The first establishment of the church is not known. Researchers say that the first building was made of basilica. An epigraph dating 1291 has been found. It is thought that the building was cross-like in 14th century.
After the conquest of Trabzon by Ottomans the structure was modified to be a mosque: a North entrance and a minaret were added. Another entrance was added from the big apses. The mihrap (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) is made of stone and has baroque character. Minbar (pulpit) is wooded and simple. A good handicraft is seen in the meeting place. Beside these additions, the insides of the mosque have very valuable hand-written decorations. The writings in Arabic were done by the famous Hafiz Hasan Rifat. Some other writings and ornaments have been renewed.
Fatih Mosque (Ortahisar Mosque / Previously Panagia Khrysokephalos Church)
Long ago, this mosque was Trabzon’s most important church. This mosque is located in the Orta Hisar (Middle Fortress) District. It is believed that the church was built by Roman Emperor Konstantin’s (325-364 AD) nephew Hanmibalianos on an ancient Roman temple. It is thought that the building was planned as basilica inside a monastery. Researchers say that the building has passed six major repairs. Known as “Komnen’s Cathedral”, this church was also called as Altinbasli (Goldenheaded) Mary Church Khrysokephalos. The reason why thus church was given this name is that one meter in diameter aura above the Mother Mary’s head is gold-covered. After the conquest, the church was turned into mosque and probably Fatih was here at the first Friday prayer. Fatih Theological School was built in connection to the building. After the building was turned into a mosque, the main entry was taken to the North, mihrap (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) was put to the South wall and a minbar (pulpit) and a minaret was built. The mihrap is made of stone and has many ornaments. The geometrical shapes of the borders around the mihrap and the rosettes remind of Selcuklu period works. The minbar (pulpit) is made of walnut tree and is a valuable art work. Various ornamental decorations and tablets were added to this mosque at different periods. A room at the East of the mihrap was turned into a library and an epigraph was put above the entrance door.
Abdullah Pasa and Abdulhamit Fountains are Trabzon’s fountains worth seeing.
Abdullah Pasa Fountain located at the East entrance of the Zagnospasa Tower. It was built by Trabzon Governor Hazinedarzade Abdullah Pasa in 1844. The structure is made of marble. The shape of the plan is rectangular and there are fringes made of several steps that are surrounded by straight small columns and a decorated coronet part. Above the mirror place there is an epigraph consisting of 18 couplets in Persian, each couplet of 9 lines. The fountains are beautiful examples of ampir style.
Being rich in rainfall and having a bumpy land, Trabzon has numerous streams and rivers and waterfalls that form beautiful views and fall into The Black Sea. Built over these rivers and streams, there are various bridges with interesting and different architectural properties made of wood or stone. The bridges immediately draw attention, especially that of foreign visitors. Besides these multiple bridges that you can see almost everywhere, there are also historical bridges in Trabzon. Degirmendere, Tabakhane and Zagnospasa bridges are located in the city center and can be given as examples for such bridges.
This bridge is located in Ortahisar’s East part (Middle Fortress), on the Kuzgun Dere Creek. It has experienced multiple repairs. Its establishment was during Roman Empire period in about 1st century. Evliya Celebi writes that the bridge belonged to the Karakoyunlu clan. Ottomans gave the bridge its today’s look in 19th century.
This bridge joins the Zindan Kapi and Imaret Kapisi Gates to each other. It has two belts one above the other. Historical resources tell us that long time ago there was a wooden movable bridge instead of this bridge. Still, Roman and Byzantine handicraft can be seen at the pillars of the bridge. Researchers have found four structures belonging to four phases. In 15th century, the bridge was renewed by Zagnos Pasa.
Bedesten, Vakifhan, Tashan and Alaca Han are among the city’s important hostels.
Bedesten (Ceneviz Han)
Being a trade building, Bedesten, is located in Carsi District and at the North of the Carsi Mosque. The plan shape is almost a square and there is an entrance at each side. The doors are belted with brick belts. There is a dome at the center of the building that stands on four elephant legs. The date of establishment is not known. Some researchers propose that the building was built in 11th century by Ceneviz people.
This hostel is located at the North of the Bedesten. This is a three-floored hostel with a backyard. There is a mosque built together with the hostel, located at its South-East. From the epigraph on the fountain of the mosque we know that it has been established in 1781 by a benefactor Haci Yahya. The main entry to the ground floor is at the East. Open backyard is surrounded by the rooms behind it and a porch. The entrance to the first floor is at the South. At this floor there are four shops, a fountain and the mosques entry door. The rooms surrounding the backyard are of different sizes. There is a balcony at the middle of the North part. At the second floor, there are rooms with porches and the mosque. The South-East minaret of this mosque is in ruins.
This hostel is a beautiful example of the Ottoman Empire period city hostels with a backyard. According to the sources, between 1531-1533 years, Trabzon Governor Iskenderpasa has built it. It has been repaired several times. Shops of late periods have been added to its North part. The walls are made of straight sculptural stones. Porch belts and vault covers are made of bricks.
This hostel is located in the Bakircilar district and it dates to the 18th century. The hostel can be entered from its West, East and North doors. There are 16 rooms at the second floor of the building that are aligned behind porch covered corridors.
Turkish Bathes (Hammam)
Sekiz Direkli, Alaca, Haci Arif, Tophane, Pasa and Meydan are Trabzon’s historical Turkish bathes.
This bath is located at the South of the Carsi Mosque. Its name is among the Iskenderpasa's charities. It is thought to be built sometime between years 1521-1533. The men’s part is on the West. This part consists of the undressing room, cooling room and a rectangular warming room. Women’s part is similar and the warming part has two compartments
Sekiz Direkli Bath
This bath is located in Pazarkapi District. The establishment date is unknown. Some sources say that this bath is a Selcuk Bath. From the South corner of the undressing room people enter the cooling room. The warming room has a square plan. There are 4 small rooms for personal warming (halvet) in the corners behind a wall 2.5 meters high. In the middle there is an octagonal stone and eight columns around the stone carrying a dome-like vault above it. The empty space between this vault and the side walls is covered with a smaller vault.
This bath has been made at the end of the 19th century by the Kazazades. The men’s part is on the East. After the cooling room people enter the mild warming room. The plan of the warming room has four balconies and cells at the corners. The women’s part stretches to the North-South directions. It consists of an undressing room, cooling room and a warming room with a design like the men’s warming room.
Mansions and Houses
Old Turkish houses, mansions and districts are one of the most important building blocks of the multi-century Turkish town culture that remains till our days. The functionality and the esthetics of the architecture of old Turkish houses draws attention onto them. These houses also draw attention with their locations in the town and their designs.
With their location in the center of Trabzon, Ortahisar Houses and Middle District Houses located in Akcaabat give clues about the lifestyle of people in Trabzon and local Turkish districts and towns.
Trabzon’s city center bears Kundupoglu and Yarimbiyikoglu Houses in the Pazarkapi District, Nemlizade Mansion in the Gazi Pasa District, Cakiraga Mansion in Hayrat County’s Sariagac Village and Memisoglu Mansion 4 km East of Surmene County on the main road. All these houses and mansions are original works of Trabzon Turkish Civil Architecture.
This house two-floored and is located in a wide garden. In 18th century it was Trabzon’s best Turkish house example. Outer walls are of ruble stone and inner walls are wooden. The entrance was maintained with semicircle stairs from the East.
A hall was entered just after entering the first floor. This outer sofa was divided in four rooms. Only the Eastern room remained intact till our days. However, this room’s inner design has been greatly modified.
The entry to the hall on the second floor was from a wooden staircase from the outside. From this hall there were four entries to four separate rooms. The room at the right was the house’s most decorated room and this can be seen even though the room encountered multiple modifications. The fireplace and the bottle holders on the walls are good works of plaster and wood engraving. Also, there are hand-written flower decorations on the walls. Windows have colored glasses in them.
Trabzon and its areas around it, especially the rural areas, have numerous civil architecture works that were made based on the folk’s lifestyle and needs. The most common of these are residences made of stone and wood, serenders based on columns made of made of chestnut trees, open area depots called “coten” that are knit of sticks with corn and animal food depots.
Monasteries and Churches
Among Trabzon’s and its vicinity’s monasteries and churches, Kizlar (Panagia Theoskefastos), Gregorios Peristera (Hizir Ilyas), Kizlar (Panagia Kerameste), Sumela and Vazelon Monasteries; Hagios Savas (Masatlik) Cave Churches; Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia), Sotha (St. John), Hagios Theodoros, Hagios Konstantinos, Hagios Khristophoras, Haghia Anna (Kucuk Ayvasil), Hagios Kiryaki, Santa Maria, Hagios Mikhail and Panagia Tzita, Hagios Andreas Churches are the most important ones.
Kucuk Ayvasil Church (Haghia Anna Church)
Also called Haghia Anna Church, Kucuk Ayvasil Church was functioning as a church till 1923. Today this church is not being used anymore. Having three naves, this church is a basilica style. Each nave is ending with an apse. Apses are round from inside and outside. Middle and side naves are covered with small vaults and the belts are made of bricks. There is a grave room under the basement. The tracks at the outside of the Western wall show that this building was once part of some other building. The wall paintings have been largely damaged.
Santa Maria Church
This church was built with an order of Sultan Abdulmecid in 1869-1874 for the foreigners coming to Trabzon. this church is still functional. Rich decorations and descriptions of St. Andrew, St. Peter and St. Eugenius on its North and West walls draw much attention.
Vazelon Monastery (Macka)
This monastery is 14 km away from Macka in the middle of pine tree forests. This exact establishment date is not known, but some researchers say that it probably was built in 270- 317 AD. Emperor Justinianus repaired the monastery in 565 AD and since then the monastery experienced many repairs and modifications. Vazelon Monastery was effective in Macka’s religious, cultural and economic structure after 13th century. It is thought that Sumela Monastery was built from the earnings of the richest monastery of the region – Vazelon Monastery. The wall paintings, located on the outer Northern walls of the church with three naves, that describe heaven, hell and last justice still remains live and beautiful. This monastery was dedicated to Prophet Yahya (John) and it was left in 1923.
OTHER TOURISTIC, NATURAL AND CULTURAL VALUES
Altindere Valley National Park
This park is located in the Macka County. The most important property of the National Park is that it has the plant diversity and geomorphologic structure of Sumela Monastery and Altindere Valley.
The plant diversity of Altindere Valley and the beauty of the views and wild life captivate the visitors.
On the area of the National Park; monastery tours, walks through the nature and picnics can be done. Also, it is possible to spend a night in the bungalows of the Altindere Gunubirlik area.
Uzungol Tabiat Park
This park is 25 km away from Trabzon and 19 km away from Caykara. Due to its rich flora and wild life and the beauty of its views, an area of 1625 hectares has been assigned as Tabiat Park (Nature Park) in 1989.
The main stream here is the Demirkapi Creek (Haldizen). Uzungol is a lake that was formed as a result of rocks obstructing the flow of this Creek. Picnics and walks around the lake can be done. There are 3000 meter high mountains right 10 km to the South of the Uzungol. Also, there are places to stay for one night.
There are six uplands that were announced as Tourism Center by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism according to the decision of the Committee of Ministers. After being announced as Tourism Centers, small enterprises in these areas started low and high structured works. First of all, transport, electricity, water, telecommunication, WC and drinking fountains were considered and investments have been made in these social needs.
Caykara - Uzungol Tourism Center
This tourism center is 99 km away from Trabzon and 19 km away from the Caykara County. It is 1090 meters above the sea level. The area has straight mountain sides and beautiful forest cover far ahead of the Alp beauty. In the center of the valley, a lake was formed by the rocks falling from the mountain sides and obstructing the flow of the Haldizen Creek. This lake is called Uzungol (long lake) and the area gets its name from this lake. The old type wooden houses, especially the ones made in the nearby village Serah, complete the natural beauty of this place.
Uzungol drags attention of local and foreign tourists and has a high tourist potential. In this area, trekking, bird watching, botanical tours and tours to lakes higher in the mountains or uplands nearby - Sekersu, Demirkapi, Yaylaonu, and Sultan Murat Uplands can be arranged. About 2-3 hours of walk from the upland Demirkapi Mountain peak (3376m). At this peak, there are about half a dozen of lakes. Wild animals such as bears, wolves, wild goats, foxes and Caucasus mountain cock live in these mountains.
Uzungol is Black Sea’s one of the important tourism centers. The infrastructure of this place is pretty good. There are sufficient accommodation and food-drink facilities.
Macka Solma Tourism Center
A soil road leaving Macka County from its South and stretching 22 km over Magura Upland takes to the Macka Solma Tourism Center. Most of the soil road passes through Kulin Mountain and has a rich flora around it. The upland is at an altitude of 1800 and there are markets, coffee shops, electricity, water and phone services. There are only 3.5 km between Mavura Upland and Solma Upland and the road passing through a forest is perfect for walks.
Akcaabat-Karadag Tourism Center
This center can be reached both from Vakfikebir and Akcaabat-Duzkoy. The road is of low quality. The upland got its name in 1946 meter high Karadag Hill. The clear air and the unique views of this upland make it a natural wonder. During the summer season there is transportation across the upland. A market, a bakery, a country coffee shop and a restaurant give service here. Also, there are souvenir gift shops. There is a guesthouse with 10 beds for temporary stay in the area. The upland is also attractive with tits matchless flora, fauna and wild life.
Arakli-Pazarcik Tourism Center
This tourism center is located at 60 km South of the Arakli at the Karadere taxiway. The upland is a village center that can be reached via roads from Yagmurdere to Gumushane and from Aydintepe to Bayburt. Phone and shopping facilities are present.
Arakli Yesilyurt Yilantas Tourism Center
This center is 64 km away from Trabzon and 33 km away from county center. This tourism center is also connected to Yesilyurt Town via a paved road.
Famous uplands of the Trabzon are at the top of the list of places in Trabzon that just have to be visited. During most of the months of a year these places are covered with snow. The cool air, water and natural beauties of the uplands are insatiable. Camping became more a cultural and touristic activity rather than economic activity. People leave their houses at lower altitudes during summer and go to 2000-3000 meter high uplands. They spend the hot summer days in these pleasantly cool houses. When winter comes, they return to their houses at the lower altitudes. Here in high altitude uplands they can both take care of their animals and stay away from the stress of winter and work and spend some time one-to-one with nature, celebrating some holidays and performing some festivals and just spend good time. They are full of health, happiness and energy. The festivals have long histories. Transportation via motorized vehicles to the villages and uplands of Trabzon is easy during summer months. Communication is not a problem, since there are telecommunication services in all settlement units. The authentic lifestyle of the local folks, traditional culture elements (folk architecture, ethnographic matters etc.) and in some places preserved tradition, customs and routines, agricultural and cultural activities, local handicrafts (various wooded handicrafts like baskets knitted of chestnut and hazelnut tree branches; hand-weaved scarves, cords, and loincloths; small three-stringed violins called kemence and other musical instruments and local food) drags attention of these places even more.
The upland festivals have a special place in the local culture. Detailed information about Trabzon uplands and upland festivals is given in the Upland Tourism department.
Here only a few of them will be mention briefly. Hidirnebi, Kurucam, Sazalani, Kadirga, Kiraz, Lapazan, Hacka Obasi, Gulindagi, Solma, Erikbeli, Karadag, Uzungol, Pazarcik, Sis Dagi and Alaca Uplands are among Trabzon’s most important uplands.
The road between Macka and Gurgenagac Village is a 22 km long asphalt paved road. From the village to the upland there is a soil road 7 km long.
Grass skiing can be done from this place that has an altitude of 1850 meters. The third Friday of the July "Ayeser Festivals" is celebrated. There is also an opportunity for salmon fishing. Electricity, market, country coffee, meat restaurant is present here. Hamsikoy and Gurgenagac Villages have guesthouses where one can stay for a short period of time.
This upland is at located 2200 meters high and a soil road 27 km long take there from Gurgenagac Village’s South. Only cars capable of driving in countryside are suitable for driving to this upland. Even in June and July snow can be seen here. There are no settlements.
After going straight forward through the Macka-Meryemana road for 5 km, a road stretching 90 km to the right takes to this upland. There is public transportation to some of the uplands. Only cars capable of driving in countryside are suitable for driving to Cakirgol Upland, because this upland is at a very high altitude.
The northern mountain sides of the Cakirgol Mountain have Mecit-Mescit Upland plateau with glaciers of Dilowal age. The Cakirgol lake covers Buzyatagi plateau and is in a shape of a stomach and it is 2533 meters above the sea level. The south part of this lake is about 15-20 meters deep and the other parts of the lake are shallower. There is a steep cliff 20 meters above the surface of the lake at its south part. Eight small water fountains about 50 meters behind this cliff fall into the lake in a form of small waterfalls. Waters here are sweet and clean. Besides these waterfalls, there is one more mountain creek that falls into the lake from the lake’s left side. This creek forms an arch flowing towards North through the Morez obstacle. The creek takes the excess waters of the lake without changing the water levels. Then it passes lower through the Meryemana Valley – a branch of Degirmendere. Salmon loves in the lake. The deep green environment of the lake makes it very beautiful.
Before reaching Cakirgol, Arnavutluk, Kirantas, Akarsu, Ayraksa, Livayda, Kurugol, Mesaras, Furnoba, Kasapoglu, Camibogazi, Ortaoba and Deveboynu uplands have to be passed.
Camping materials and basic necessity goods have to be taken to the uplands.
Hidirnebi and Kurucam Uplands
After 12 km of Akcaabat- Duzkoy road 10 km of soil road will take to this upland. It is only 1 km in between Kurucam - Hidirnebi Uplands. The Hidirnebi Festival that starts 20th of July and lasts three days is performed at the Hidirnebi Hill. The view of this hill is famous with its beauty. At an altitude of 1742 meters, there are wolves, foxes and jackals in the forests. The local folk make tasseled bags, pied socks, knitted baskets, wooden tubs, spoons and other kitchen stuff and sell them.
Sis Mountain Upland
This upland is 85 km away from Trabzon city center and 38 km away from Besikduzu coast. The easiest way to reach this upland is via a road that passes through Salpazari by 4 km and then passes through Geyikli Town. There are also some paved roads from Erikbeli Upland 25 km North-West to the Sisdagi Upland and some important uplands such as Alaca, Sazalani and Kadirga.
Sisdagi (means “Fog Mountain”), is the regions highest upland and mountain and it is also the closest one to the sea. The vicinity to the coast, high altitude, rich and cold waters, flora and fauna, flower and other plant diversity and other natural beauties make this upland a beloved one. Forests start just at the bottom of the sides of the mountain. The majority of the trees are pine trees and reech. This mountain is suitable for photo safari, trekking, mountain climbing, skiing, grass skiing, mountain side parachuting, jeep safari and other activities.
The highest peak of the Sisdagi is the Halil Evliya Hill, which has an altitude of 2182 meters above the sea level. There is a great pleasure of watching the view, the dawns and the sunsets from such a height. Snows do not melt here until the beginning of the July. The name of the mountain comes from the frequent fog around the mountain and its sides. Sometimes the hills are sunny, but the lower parts of the mountains fill with fog and the view from the top makes it look like a sea.
An open bazaar is set up each Saturday. All kinds of needs of food and drinks can be found here. Since the mountain is so close to a big settlement, the mountain visits can be confined to a day.
Every year, the fourth Saturday of July, a traditional “Otcu/Kaynak/Dernek Week or Sisdagi Upland Festival” is performed.
Kadirga upland is 24 km away from Tonya and is 14 km East of the Erikbeli Tourism Center.
The upland is 2300 meters high and is a center of more than 200 small and large-sized upland groups. The upland is within the borders of Gumushane province. However, people of Trabzon and Giresun use this place the most. Every Friday a country bazaar is being set up here. People come here for weekly shopping from various places.
Every year, the third Friday of the July, Kadirga Festival is being celebrated. It is also called Otcular (Grass cutters) or Cokluk (Plentiful ness) Week. Ten thousands of people come to this festival. During this festival, local game shows, competitions, entertainments with drums and clarion and tons of meat, bread and buttermilk are consumed. Kadirga Festival is like a big bazaar, fair and carnival. Kadirga Upland is on the border of the forest and it has wide lawns of grass, cold waters, clean air, good location, extraordinary views and nature. It has many plains suitable for walking, picnic, games and sports.
Big crowds in Kadirga pray the Friday prayer in an interesting mosque with no roof, grass instead of floor and only walls and minarets built afterwards. During the festival week this mosque gets full and people pray spreading over wide areas.
Since the upland is close to settlements, the mountain visits can be confined to a day. Especially, on Fridays, all kinds of food-drink needs can be met.
Duzkoy (Hacka Obasi) Upland
This upland can be reached via a soil road from Duzkoy Village, about 40 km away from Trabzon.
The Hackali Baba Tomb located on the upland is considered as an important visiting place by the local people. This place is always full with visitors. There are guesthouses, markets, butchers, fruit and vegetable sellers (manav), a bakery and country coffee shops. 14th of August is Karaabdal Festival is celebrated.
Calkoy Village Cave
A road following Akcaabat Sogutlu Creek for 30 km takes to this cave that is 5 km away from Duzkoy County. The cave has interesting stalactites and stalagmites, water and waterfall and is an important tourism place. The cave is 1050 meters above the sea level and is thought to be 1 km long. 550 meters of the cave have been illuminated and decorated with tour platforms. It has sometimes very narrow and sometimes very wide passages. There are passages that allow air to circulate inside the cave. The cave air is dry at the entrance and it gets dump due to the presence of water stream inside the cave. There is also a tower built at the top of the cave from which the local area can be easily seen.
Akarsu Village Cave
This big cave is located in the Macka County’s Akarsu Village. From the remains in the cave it is understood that this place was an ancient settlement place long ago. According to what being talked about, there are 72 rooms inside this cave. Numerous stalactites and water sources have been spotted inside the cave. A detailed research has not been done yet.
Trabzon’s important excursion places are Surmene Camburnu Ormanici Recreational Place, Uzungol, Boztepe, Cakirgol, Ciftecamlik, Kalepark, Kisarna (Bengisu), Soguksu and Zefanos (Bulak) Excursion Places.
Boztepe is located at the North-East of Trabzon and has been believed to be sacred since old ages. Once, Apollo Temple and Persian Lord of Sun Mitra’s Temple has been built here. From Boztepe Hill Trabzon city’s panoramic view can be easily seen. This place is being used as excursion and recreation place especially during summer months. Boztepe is close to the city and transportation is easy. Food-drink facilities are very developed.
Sera Lake and Premises
It is placed in the West of Trabzon on the Sera Valley, near of the Demirtas village that is 8 km inside the coast. It is the barrage lake formed with the slip of hillside. It has 4km length throughout the canyon behind the barrage. Width is between 150 and 200 meters. In the plateau infrastructures such as water, electricity, communication and workings to provide the basic needs are available.
Balikli Lake is on a road that goes to Hidirnedi Upland from the Akcaabat-Duzkoy road. The natural beauties of this lake and its premises are magnificent and are used for picnic and recreation.
Surmene Camburnu Forest Excursion Place
It is a pine tree, beach and picnic area that is connected to Surmene County and is located on the highway going from Trabzon to Rize.
Important trekking areas are Macka - Ocakli - Kulindagi Upland - Figanoy Upland - Liser Upland racetrack, Liser Upland - Kayabasi Upland - Hacka Upland, Duzkoy County racetrack, Caykara Uzungol Town - Karastel Upland - Sekersu Upland racetrack, Macka County Altindere Valley - Sumela Mosque - Cakirgol racetrack and Cakirgol Zigana Passage - Hamsikoy Village (Old Historical Road) Macka County racetrack.
Mountain Side Parachute
Mountain side parachuting can be done at Uzungol - Karastel Hill, Uzungol-Karacimah Hill, from Akcaabat Karadag Hidirnebi (Yaylakent) Front to Duzkoy County, Calkoy Town and Dogankaya Cayirbagi area.
Arakli Karadere River is suitable for canoe. Start is taken from Tilkibeli area and the end is at the Arakli. Catak - Kayaici - Tasgecit - Conkaya - Erenler - Kestanelik - Pervane - Degirmencik - Arakli route is followed.
This area also has racetracks suitable for jeep safari. Akcaabat - Duzkoy - Kayabasi Upland- Liser Upland- Solma Tourism Center racetrack Macka Trabzon - Arakli - Dagbasi- Aydintepe Underground City - Demirkapi Lakes - Uzungol - Caykara - Of - Trabzon racetrack is full of beautiful nature that can satisfy almost any racer.
Kitchen Culture and Anchovies
The mild climate of the East part of Black Sea and Trabzon’s tropical climate allows cultivating almost any kind of fruits and vegetables. The wide varieties of fruits and vegetables that grow in this area complete its natural beauties: cherries, kiwi, apricots, apples, pears, and olives, tea, hazelnut, tobacco, corn, beans, broccoli and many other plants are grown in gardens and fields. Additionally, there are many types of fruits that are specific for this area, like Trabzon’s dates and black fragrant grapes. Also, there are some types of beloved fruits that grow in the wild: blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and other types. The fruits and vegetables are consumed both uncooked and as a part of delicious dishes made by the local people. For example, dishes made of broccoli and nettles are both interesting and tasty. Also, plants such as nettle have healing properties and are believed to cure various diseases.
Vegetables that are grown so numerously around the area have a great role in Trabzon kitchen. The quality meat and dairy products obtained from the natural and upland grown cattle show great quality compared to those obtained from other regions of the country. This fact is well known even besides the borders of Turkey. For example, Trabzon’s butter or Vakfikebir butter’s color, taste and flavor can be quickly distinguished from other butters and this butter is preferred by people from all over Turkey. It has been narrated that Ottoman Palace Kitchen used only Vakfikebir butter. Trabzon’s bread (also called Vakfikebir bread) is cooked in an oven with wooden fire source and the dough of this bread has is prepared with special yeasts. This bread is well-known all over the Turkey and everybody prefers it.
Trabzon and premises are Turkey’s one of the most important fishing centers. 82% of all the seafood gathered in Turkey is obtained from the Black Sea. However, among all numerous many types of fish and seafood there is one type of seafood, the importance of which in the life of East Black Sea Coast people and Trabzon people cannot be overemphasized. A fish that has many species and some of which are also met in many seas all over the world – anchovies – live in the Black Sea too, but a particular species which is specific to the Trabzon area - Engraulis encrasicolus ponticus, is called Black Sea anchovy. The length of the Black Sea anchovy can be as long as 18-20 cm. this fish is a migratory kind and it migrates in North-South directions for winter periods, feeding periods and reproduction periods. In the winters the Black Sea costs become full with this fish and people catch plenty of it every year. Sometimes the excess of the fish is used as manure for the soil in fields and gardens.
Anchovies are small fish with big culture. It has an important and very different role in the life of Black Sea region and Trabzon people. It has merged with the lifestyle of the people of these regions and almost became a symbol of these places. Anchovies are interesting fish and the varieties of dishes that can be prepared by using them exceed the imagination of all other people but certainly not the Black Sea region people. Famous Turkish explorer Evliya Celebi mentioned anchovies in his scripts after he visited these places. After listing multiple benefits of anchovies, he noted that this fish has an important role in the life of Trabzon people and that they can cook 40 different dishes by using this fish. Besides grilled and fried anchovies dishes, which are known by everybody, there are also anchovies soups, kaygana with anchovies, guveci with anchovies, anchovies meatballs, anchovies pilaf, bread with anchovies, anchovy fillings, pide with anchovies and many other dishes that take an important place in Trabzon kitchen.
Besides anchovies and seafood dishes, dishes from the meat, milk and dairy products of the animals that grow under natural conditions, various vegetable dishes, local sweet types and local fruits always leave tasty memories in the minds of the visitors. Broccoli wrappings, broccoli soup, fried broccoli, fried pickles, nettle soup, kaygana, corn bread, Akcaabat meatballs, Trabzon pides with chopped meat and cheese and Hamsikoy sweet are examples for the local dishes with distinct tastes. After a tour of Sumela Monastery, restaurants at the side of the road, serve broccoli wrappings and kaygana, where these dishes can be tasted.
There are many choices for shopping in Trabzon. In Kemeralti, people of almost whole Trabzon do their shopping walking on Albanian pavements in Eski along corridor-like streets with single-floored buildings. There are hand-made and filigree type golden and silver knickknacks and jewelry that are specific for Trabzon that are worth seeing and buying. The market of golden and silver sellers should definitely be visited. Especially handmade Trabzon bracelets made by master women drag much attention with their elegance and art values. Copper industry is also very developed in Trabzon. Surmene knives, various wooded handicrafts like baskets knitted of chestnut and hazelnut tree branches; hand-weaved scarves, cords, bags and loincloths; small three-stringed violins called kemence and other musical instruments can be bought as presents here.
Black Sea Anecdotes
People of the Black Sea Region and especially people from Trabzon have warm blooded, friendly, helpful, pleasant, nice to chat with and happy type of human nature. They have an ability to look at things from their funny, anecdotic and joking point of view and they know how to talk. That’s why Black Sea region anecdotes with main characters Temel and Fadima are so popular.