Trabzon Travel Guide

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A view of Sumela Monastry

A view of Sumela Monastry

Sezgin Aytuna

Trabzon is an old city on the  Black Sea coast line, at the northeast  corner of Türkiye.  The population of the city is aproximately 480,000. 

While staying at Trabzon make sure you eat  the local food, Akcaabat Köfte (meat ball) special cheese meat ball  and  Kara  Lahana (black caggabe) soup. The Black Sea people love to eat fish, mainly, Hamsi (anchovy), they have more than 30 kinds of dishes made from Hamsi, including bread, baklava (the most famous Turkish dessert), omelette, rice and etc..... Trabzon is also famous for its bread "Trabzon ekmegi", not  only  at Trabzon, but all over the country.

At the main square of the city, one can find buses to the famous Sumela Monastery at Maçka (50km SE) and the mountain village of Uzungöl, 70km (a lake) - you may feel like you are in an alpine village of Switzerland or Austria. In Uzungöl, there are lots of small hotels and fresh water fish restaurants. The lake is a landslide lake and the best view of the lake is in the afternoon looking west from a  mountain on the east.

If you have time, go to Sultan Murat  Yayla (a plateu), 30 km SW of the lake where the altitude is 2400m and there are no trees on the plateu due to the high altitude.  But you will be mesmerized with view as I was.  Sumela Monastery was built in a natural cavity at the edge of the cliff (see in the picture). The mountain is made of volcanic rocks, due to heavy rain in the area, there  has been falling rocks onto the stucture and demages it. Some protection measures are being taken to protect it.

When you go to Maçka on the way back make sure you go/pass to  the Zigana Tunnel (20km south of Maçka)  on the Trabzon-Erzurum road.  It is the longest and the highest tunnel in Turkey (2,000m).  The road to the tunnel has the best scenery in the whole area, lots of forest and all kind of green colors, when you pass it you will be in a different country site, no trees what so ever!!!. The scenery is much better when you are coming down from  the tunnel to Trabzon!! Also on the righthand side of the road 2-km from the tunnel make sure you stop at a small coffee shop and eat sütlac (rice pudding). 

If you have time make sure go to East: Rize-Hopa and than to Artvin., to enjoy the scenery and  dense forests. In the  region, several different local languages are spoken, the most famous ones are;  "Laz and Hemşince".  Most of the Black Sea people can not pronounce the letter "g", "c" instead. So when they speak  Turkish  they sound funny!!!The area is famous for its music called "tulum", made of a goat skin, a special instrument, like a back pipe and "kemence" (a small knee type fiddle). "Horon"  is their local dance. When the music starts everybody dances, fun to watch these guys/gals, the music  has the same tones and never ends so do the dancers!!!  

When you are in the area make sure you visit the Kackar Mountain, 90km East of Trabzon.  You will  follow Firtina River to reach the top  (Ayder), the river is small but flows wildly. Kackar is the second highest peak (3,932m) in the country and  always covered with snow.  In the summer time, you may stay at  Ayder Plateu near the  Kackar top where you will find lots of small hotels and pansions and make sure that you eat mihlama in  morning whereever you stay. It is a special cheese omlet,  a local food.  Make sure you stay at Ayder  for minimum of two days, go to Asagi Kavrun (next to Kackar top, 17km  east) and visit Zil Castle (10km south) nearby.  There is a hot spring at Ayder where you can enjoy the Turkish Hamam.  If you find a rigth tour guide, you may do a hiking tour south of Mountain to Yusufeli, but do not do it by yourself, you must have a tour quide. It is a 12 hour  hike and you stay a small town south of the mountain at  Barhal !!.I did the same trip back in 1998 and enjoyed it very much.

I did  lots of field works as a  field geologist for ARCO Internataional Oil and Gas company  in 1998 and for Australian  and Canadian mining companies between 2004-2005 in the area and wondered around  the whole Eastern Black Sea, all the villages/roads and all the cities A-to-Z. The Eastern Black Sea is the  most beatifull part, as far as the mountains and forests are concerned in Turkey.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: personel


June 30, 2006 change by sezgin aytuna (9 points)

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