Travel tips for Turkey

How to get there?

Barring a detour via the USSR, you first have to get to  Istanbul or Ankara. Istanbul is a short 3-hour flight from London, and even shorter from points in continental Europe. Once there, you have these options.


Trabzon and Erzurum airports have regular scheduled service from Ankara and Istanbul. Samsun and Kars airports are served by scheduled “air taxi” flights from Ankara and  Istanbul. The following oneway fares are approximate dollar equivalents. In Istanbul, contact Turkish Airlines at (1) 573-3525; Istanbul Airlines at (1) 574-7300. Samsun
THK “Air Taxi” daily to/from Istanbul. ($50), daily to/from Ankara ($35). Trabzon
Turkish Airlines daily to/from Ankara ($40), three direct flights weekly to/ from Istanbul ($55).
Istanbul Airlines three direct flights weekly to/from Istanbul ($40). Erzurum
Turkish Airlines daily to/from Ankara ($40).


Samsun is connected with Istanbul and Ankara by good paved roads of 737 and 438 km respectively. A car can easily average 75 kmph on the first and 85 kmph on the second. It is also possible to take the coastal road from Istanbul via Zonguldak and Sinop. This is 918 km long and much slower because of curvy sections, but also more scenic.
Trabzon is 363 km further away on a good hut occasionally crowded road. This take: about 5 hours by car, driving straight through.
Many bus companies provide cheap and fre (lucnt service between the region and other s
parts of Turkey, and within the region itself. Istanbul-Samsun takes about 12 hours by bus and costs $8. Istanbul-Trabzon is approximately 19 hours and costs $12. Ulusoy is the big name in this field, with hourly service between Istanbul and Samsun, and a large intra-regional fleet. In Istanbul, all buses leave from the Anadolu Terminal at Topkapi, but Ulusoy also has a pickup point at Taksim Inonü Cad #20, (1) 143-4736/143-1094/ 145-1522).


Turkish Maritime Lines operate two weekly ferryboats between Istanbul and various Black Sea ports.
The M/F Ankara leaves Istanbul every Monday at 1730, arriving in Samsun at 1930 Tuesday and in Trabzon at 0800 Wednesday. It returns from Trabzon every Wednesday at 2200. Istanbul-Trabzon fares vary between $8 (Pullman seat) and $22 (bed & shower in A class cabin for two) per person. Cars cost $20.
The M/F Truva leaves Istanbul every Thursday at 1900, and calls at Zonguldak (11 hours), Sinop (25 hours), Ordu (37 hours) and , Giresun (40 hours). It returns from Giresun at 1600 every Saturday. Istanbul-Giresun fares are similar to those for Istanbul-Trabzon. Boats depart from Sirkeci pier in Istanbul (below Topkapi Palace). Tickets may be purchased there, or at TML headquarters in Karakoy, across the harbor. TML regional bureaus can be contacted at (361) 146 47 in Samsun, (371) 110 13 in Ordu, (051) 123 82
in Giresun, and (031) 120 81 in Trabzon. During the summer season advance reservations d are essential for cabins and cars.
t Sunquest Holidays in London (01-749 9911), RECA Handels Gmbh in Sindelfingen, FRG (07031-86356), and Worms Cie – Maritime in Marseilles (91-9022) represent TML within their respective countries.

Travel tips for Turkey: How to get around?

Copyright © Özhan Öztürk

You can rent a car in Trabzon

The best, of course, is to have your own vehicle. The coastal highway is paved, as are most inland routes to relatively significant towns, and six of the cross-mountain drives (off Samsun, Fatsa, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon and Hopa). Minor mountain roads, including those in Artvin side-valleys, the (Çaykara-Uzungöl road, the Tirebolu-Torul and Ikizdere-Ispir passes are unpaved. They require skilful driving and may become impassable after heavy rains. Almost every village in the region, though, is usually reachable by regular passenger car.
Rental vehicles are available from Avis alone in Samsun (Lise Caddesi 24, 36133288) and Trabzon (Lobby of Hotel Usta, 031-23740). Their daily summer rates for passenger cars range from $60 to $100, unlimited mileage. Jeeps are offered, but scarce. A private taxi can easily be engaged from Samsun, Trabzon, Artvin or elsewhere for a daily rate of about $20 plus expenses, driverincluded.
Buses and “dolmus” minibuses operate as frequently as every ten minutes on the coastal strip and stop anywhere for a passenger. Inland routes are less frequently served, but in general even remotest villages will have a
daily “servis” or two. As a rule: take scheduled bus from one provincial capital to another; “dolmuş” between provincial capital and district town: and vaguely scheduled “servis” minibus between district town and village. Reckon about 75 cents per hour of driving


Trabzon map

Trabzon map

RV Verlag’s 1/800,000 map of Eastern Turkey is, despite its many misprints and inaccuracies, the only good road map of this part of the country that is commercially available. It is hard to come across in Turkey. The official 1/1,000,000 road map of the Highway Administration is also quite impossible to locate. Privately published highway maps sold in the country are as a rule outrageously had.
The set of 67 provincial maps published by Ozgul Yayinevi in Isparta is extremely useful. The maps are poorly drawn but quite accurate, and indicate all villages and village roads. The only sure way to get the set is to contact the publisher at PK 38 Isparta (327-13317). Otherwise. the map for each province can be obtained at most stationery shops and bookstores within the province.

Travel tips for Turkey:  When to go there?

At Spring flowers of Turkey

At Spring flowers of Turkey

Late May and June are when nature is at its most glorious: mountains still have a lot of snow, rivers are wild and the excitement of the yayla season is in the air. Most mountain festivals take place in June. July and August are pleasantly warm. Some high mountain passes, eg. the Kaçkar and Yalnizçam passes, are only reliably open in this season. Late September and October offer the best chances of bright, clear days, although they are too late for swimming. Nobody travels east of Istanbul in winter, simply because nobody has traveled there in winter to tell how beautiful it really gets.


Black Sea climate is mild and very rainy. Rainfall increases as one goes east. Rizc gets 173 rainy days per annum on the average, spread evenly throughout the year. (Çamlıhemsin gets over 200 days of rain in most years. Trabzon averages 141 days. Samsun 133 with much drier summers. In terms of total amount of precipitation. Rizc leads the national leagues with 2.3 tons per Antalya in the summer months.
Temperatures are moderate, without extremes of either hot or cold. The average daily maximum at the coast is a pleasant 26 degrees C in July and August, and 23 degrees C in May and September. Winter is mild, with limited snowfall and (especially in Rize) hardly any frostever.
Bright sunshine is not rare, either. On many days it can alternate back and forth with rainy weather. Sea water averages a perfect 24 degrees C in July and August, although it tends to be on the chilly side in June. The sea is Usually clean, but may sometimes get murky near
the shore after rainfall. There are no tides. Higher altitudes have more sunshine and sharper changes in temperature. On a typical day, clouds gather below 1200 m in the morning and gradually move upward to the mountain peaks with warming air. So it is better to plan to cross high mountain passes early in the day.

Copyright © Özhan Öztürk

Lakes of Trabzon

Permanent snow is seen above 3000 m. The region “behind the mountains” tends to be warmer in summer. and colder in winter. The amount of precipitation varies drastically according to altitude (higher gets more rain), distance from the coast (closer gets more), and direction (facing north gets more). Some of the wettest and driest spots in Turkey are found within several miles of each other in the Yusufeli district.

Travel tips for Turkey:  What to bring?, What to read?

Beside informal seasonal clothing, an umbrella and/or light rainwear is essential. So is a bathing suit. Hiking boots are needed if you plan to spend any time in the mountains. Some people prefer knee-length rubber boots to the regular hiking variety, since they let you walk comfortably through little streams, waterlogged fields, etc. Good inexpensive ones are sold at shoe shops throughout the region. A sweater may be necessary at higher altitudes even in summer. Black Sea people have a remarkably tolerant attitude toward outsiders. Nevertheless, both women and men will feel far more comfortable in their dealings with local people if they dress “modestly”, ie. avoid exposing legs and the torso. Topless bathing, although routine in southwestern Turkey, had not arrived in the Black Sea as of this writing.  A Minor tip: unless accustomed to utilizing water as locals do, toilet paper or “selpak” paper napkins will be useful to carry along Tampons, too, have only recently made their way into major-town pharmacies and may elude you at a moment of emergency.  Color print film is available in all towns. But slide film is rarely found and often stale or of poor quality, so bring your own film if you want to take slides.

Travel tips Turkey: Background


copyright Özhan Öztürk

Hagia Sophia Istanbul, Turkey

Tourism has not yet developed as an industry in the Black Sea region and tourists are rare except in downtown Trabzon and at Sumela. As a result, attitudes toward foreigners are still very spontaneous: curious, friendly and altogether unprofessional. Basic services like hotels and tourist information are often of poor quality. On the other hand, the supposed providers of such services will often be extremely eager to chat, entertain, and host a visitor quite heyond the call of duty. (Sorry, showers don’t work. How about spending a day with us at uncle’s yayla?) In remoter places the simplest contact, like asking someone for directions or even a mere greeting, will usually lead to the inescapable invitation to have a cup of tea with the contactee and discuss affairs of the world at large.
Coastal towns are somewhat more impersonal: but civic pride is very strong and people will go to great lengths to please a “honored guest” in their hometown.  Performing services in exchange for money is by and large still considered below a man’s dignity (and improper for a woman’s status), so one should avoid paying money except in clearly defined professional situations Gifts, too, are usually inappropriate
except when given to small children.  As elsewhere in Turkey, people tend to  have an overall fascination with western countries for their wealth and “superior civilization”, mixed with resentment at their snobbery and supposed “dislike” of Turks.


Turkish is spoken throughout the region. The knowledge of foreign languages is not common, with the exception of former “Gastarbeilter” who speak some German. But with overall goodwill and willingness to communicate, this normally poses fewer problems than one should expect.


CPhoto copyright Özhan Öztürk

Cappadocia, Turkey balloon travel


Islam is the professed faith of all inhabitants of the region. How seriously people observe its precepts changes drastically from district to district, as explained in this book. Even in highly “orthodox” areas like Of, though, the basic light-heartedness of the Black Sea personality shines through. Respect and courtesy are always appreciated and repaid in kind.


The main parties are ANAP (center right, governing since 1983), DYP (center-right: SHP (social-democratic) and RP (Muslim fundamentalist. The “Laz” have awway been political creatures, and the region dis plays a wide spectrum of passionately-hel political loyalties. As a rule, each distri( votes as contrary as possible to its next valley neighbors. The region-wide averag is slightly to the right of national totals.


Turkish Lira is the currency and most pr vate people (including many hotels) wi only take TL. Bank branches in all town change foreign money. For traveler cheques bigger bank branches in provinc capitals are your best bet. Credit cards Better leave home without them!
Exchange rates change daily. Various rate are published in all newspapers. What cor cerns you is the “efektif alış” (cash pur chase) bank rate.
Post offices in towns have at least or counter open until midnight on week day and until 9 pm on Sundays. All towns and majority of villages now have automati long-distance dialing facilities. For interna tional calls dial 9-9-country code-city cod( number. For domestic trunk calls dial 9-cil code-number. Carrying a few telephone tol ens (jeton) in one’s purse at all times is useful habit to cultivate. Operator-assiste calls are outrageously more expensive tha automatic calls, but hotels usually allow thformer only so as to be able to find out th charges.
Violence and crime are rare both in towns and in rural areas; incidents involving tourists are rarer still. Theft is rare in towns and almost unheard of in villages. Two cases of violent attack on tourists in remote places were reported in the past three years (19871989). As a rule, however, walking alone at night in the Black Sea mountains is safer in teens of human dangers than in a big city anywhere in the world.
The gendarmerie is in charge of security in rural areas. They sometimes ask you to register with them “for your own security” when in far-away mountain localities. You don’t have to, but may decide to oblige out of courtesy. They are, like most Turkish soldiers and police, and contrary to many Western preconceptions, impeccably polite and friendly toward outsiders.
Foreign nationals are not allowed within 10 km of the Soviet border except by permission from provincial police and military authorities. This restriction has now been waived at the Sarp border gate.

There are no special health hazards to worry about, as the climate is moderate and there is enough water everywhere to keep things clean. Harmful bugs and reptiles are rare; bears and wild boars do not attack people unless attacked first. In case something goes wrong, each district capital and some of the larger villages are provided with a government health clinic (saghk ocagi). Provincial capitals have full-service hospitals.

What to see?

Here’s a recapitulation of highlights, ordered according to the Editor’s personal preferences.


The Hagia Sophia of Trebizond

The Hagia Sophia of Trebizond

Taking into account architectural value, setting and level of preservation:  Sumela Monastery (14th century) is the undisputed leader of the pack.
The Georgian Churches of Artvin (9th to 11 th centuries) rank number 2 thru 11. Barhal, Khan and Öşkvank top the list. The Hagia Sophia of Trabzon (13th century) has a a fantastic collection of Byzantine painting.  The Chrysocephalos and St.Eugene churches in Trabzon (13th-14th centuries), both functioning as mosques, are fine Byzantine monuments.  The “Meryemana” Cave Monastery near Şebinkarahisar is an undiscovered wonder. Several late churches in the vicinity deserve visits.  Vazelon, Kaymaklı and to a lesser extent Peristera Monasteries amply justify the difficult task of getting there.  The Dirlikkoy churches near Surmene are quite impressive 19th century Works.


With the exception of Sinop, the coast is rather poor in Turkish monuments of historical value. Kastamonu, Şebinkarahisar and Bayburt, in the hinterland, have excellent examples of pre-Ottoman mosque architecture.
The Kasaba Mosque near Kastamonu is unique gem built of wood. Delightful wooden mosques abound in the villages of Artvin, notably in Demirkent and the district of Meydancik.  The Gulbahar Mosque in Trabzon (16th century) is an Ottoman classic.


Zilkale and Şebinkarahisar get the top rating for setting and panorama; Bayburt for imposing appearance; Amasra for picturesqueness. Ardanuç, Bedrama and Kastamonu are close trailers.
Three different traditional styles are displayed at Safranbolu, Akçaabat and the villages of the  Şavşat-Meydancık district. The Haznedaroglu Castle in Bolaman and the Yakupoglu Castle in Surmene do not compare with their European counterparts but they deserve inspection.
The Atatürk Mansion in Trabzon is a period gem.
They constitute the main reason why anyone should go to the Black Sea region. (Çamlıhemşin is the ultimate in this field. But don’t go there if you are not relaxed about time.  Uzungol and Barhal offer “Black Sea style” and “Artvin style” natural beauty, respectively. They require at least one day each.
For a quick drive-in, drive-out, a  Sumela-Zigana trip will do fine.  For the ultimate panoramic drives, try the Yalnızçam crossings (Ardanuç-Ardahan or Şavlat-Ardahan). The Of-Bayburt road is NOT for the faint-of-heart.
If you get addicted to Black Sea valleys and want more, choose from this list: Meydancik, Ardanuç-Ayınkoy, Ardanuç-Geçitli, Borçka-Camili, Arhavi-Ortacalar, Surmene-Koprubasi, Vakfıkebir-Tonya, Tirebolu-Harşit, Espiye-Yaglidere, Ordu -Golkoy.
Kadirga (above Tonya) and Kafkasör (above Artvin) lead the lists for color and excitement. Aksu (at Giresun Island) fascinates with its unusual folk traditions. “Vartavar” festivities take place in the highlands of (Çamlihemşin late June thru late August. Here’s a list of (approximate) dates.
May 6
Hidrellez “First day of summer” festivities throughout the region.
May 20-23
Aksu Festival at Giresun. Late May-early June
Yayla migration and festivals throughout the region.
June, third weekend
Kafkasor festivities at Artvin. June 23
Sultan Murat Martyrs Day above Surmene.
June 23, 25, 27, 29
Sea festivities along the Trabzon coast. July, third weekend
Kadirga festivities above Tonya/Maçka. Hidirnebi festivities above Akçaabat/ Düzkoy.
Sisdagi festivities above Şalpazari/ Gorele.
July, fourth weekend
Pancarci festivities at Şavsat. August 14-15
Midsummer festivities at Çaykara, Akçaabat, Tonya.
August 25
Beypinari festivities at Tonya. September 5
Sivritepe festivities at Tonya.


The best are held weekly in the towns of Trabzon and Rize provinces. Days as follows: Monday: Vakfikebir Rize.
Tuesday: Akçaabat, (Çaykara, Sürmene. Wednesday: Tonya, (Çayeli. Thursday: Maçka, Arakli, Arsin, Of. Friday: Koprubaşı Rize.
Saturday: Yomra.

Travel tips for Turkey:  How to plan it?

photo copyright Özhan Öztürk

Arab tourists taking photo at Uzungöl, Trabzon


Most tour organizers take Trabzon as the start or end-point of an integrated Eastern Turkey tour. Usually this involves an overnight stay in Trabzon, visits to the Hagia Sophia and  Sumela and the drive across Zigana Pass to Erzurum. For a one-day peekaboo, this is about the best you can do. But don’t pretend that you have then seen the Black Sea. Starting at Trabzon and moving on to the East, here are some possible variations:
A) 21 /2 Days
1. Walkabout Trabzon; Hagia Sophia; Sumela. Stay in Maçka.
2. Vazelon Monastery; Hamsikoy; Zigana; Bayburt.
3. Erzurum by noon. B) 3 Days
1. Walkabout Trabzon; Hagia Sophia; Sumela and back.
2. Akçaabat old quarter; town market; Siirmene (excursion to Dirlikkoy); Rize (Tea Institute); coast to Hopa (tea fields): Artvin.
3.  Hamamli, Ishan, Oshki, Haho churches; on to Erzurum.
C) 3 Days
1. Walkabout Trabzon; Hagia Sophia; Sumela and back.
2. Surmene; inland to   uzungol. Enjoy nature.
3. Across the Soganlı Pass to Bayburt; on to Erzurum.
D) 4 Days
1. Walkabout Trabzon; Hagia Sophia; Sumela and back.
2. To Rize as in B; up to (Çamlihemsin. 3. Excursion to Zilkale; back down to Hopa and Artvin.
4. Hamamli, khan, Oshki, Haho; on to Erzurum.
E) 4 Days
1. Walkabout Trabzon; Hagia Sophia; Sumela and back.
2. Akçaabat old quarter; town market. Surmene (excursion to Dirlikkoy); Rize (Tea Institute); coast to Hopa (tea fields); Artvin.
3. Ishan, Barhal. Stay in Barhal or return to Artvin.
4. Hamamli, Porta, Ardanuç; across the Yalmzçam to Kars.
F) 6 Days-Editor’s choice.
1. Walkabout Trabzon; Hagia Sophia; Sumela and back.
2. To Rize as in B; up to (Çamlihemşin 3. Hike to Hemşin yaylas; overnight in the mountains.
4. Continued hike; rush back down in the afternoon; reach Artvin late.
5., 6. As in E , days 3-4.
G) 7 Days (minimum)–Sportsman’s choice.
I.Walkabout Trabzon; Hagia Sophia; Sumela and back.
2. To Rize as in B; up to (Çamlihemşin. 3. To  Ayder.
4. 5. Cross-Kaçkar hike to Barhal. 6. Barhal, Işhan, Oshki, Artvin.
7. Hamamlı, Porta, Ardanuç; across the Yalnızçam to Kars.

photo copyright Özhan Öztürk

Turkish women with traditional clothes from Salpazari, Trabzon

You may get to Trabzon by air or a straight 15-20 hour drive. For a complete Black Sea tour, starting in  Istanbul and moving toward Trabzon, choose one of the following as the first leg of the trip:
A) 3 Days
1. Bolu, Safranbolu, Kastamonu, Sinop (hard day!).
2. Lake Simenlik and beach; Unye Fortress; Bolaman; Giresun.
3. Giresun fortress; inland to Yaglidere, or Kuşkoy, or Tonya. Late to Trabzon. B) 31/2 Days
1. Take evening boat. 2. Boat to Sinop.
3., 4. as above. C) 4 Days
I. Akçakoca, Zonguldak, Bartın Amasra.
2. Inebolu, Sinop. 3., 4. as above. D) 5 Days
1. Akçakoca, Zonguldak, Bartm, Amasra
2. Inebolu, Sinop.
3. Lake Simenlik, Unye, Bolaman, Ordu.
4. Inland to Şebinkarahisar; loop back to Giresun.
5. Giresun fortress; inland to Yaglidere, or Kuskoy, or Tonya. Late to Trabzon.

Travel tips for Turkey:  Where to stay?

Hamsiköy, Maçka, Trabzon

Hamsiköy, Maçka, Trabzon

There are enough cheap hotels in every town and some of the larger villages. Most, especially on the coast, leave something to be desired in terms of infrastructure and ambience, but have invariably friendly, if unprofessional, service. Prices per double room vary between $5 and $20. The interior has simpler hotels, which also tend to be cleaner and quainter. They usually bill per person and rarely more than $3. Many yaylas, which get an influx of visitors during the summer, offer accomodations in the $25 range. House “pensions” as in southwestern Turkey are quite unknown in the Black Sea area.
The list includes all “tourist class” accomodations certified by the Tourism Ministry, and a few others where once upon a time the Editor had a pleasant stay. The comments, needless to say, reflect the private opinion of the Editor. All facts were checked in late 1989. Prices are given in
approximate dollar equivalents of the rates valid then. Keep in mind that high inflation and a fluctuating currency limit their usefulness. Unless otherwise noted, they are quoted for two persons, double occupancy. Private shower, breakfast are included in “starred” hotels, tend to be extra elsewhere.
Belvii Palas, Huzur Pansiyon and Papa Kaptan all cost less than $5. KASTAMONU
Hotel Hadi is the least bad among the lot. SINOP
Melia Kasim (***) is the best in Sinop. Dr. Riza Nur Cad. (3761) 163 286. 100 beds. $16.
Karakum Motel offers own beach, 2 km outside town. (3761) 2692. 130 beds, bungalows. $15.
Half a dozen in expencice places near the bus terminal. Motel CD ($12 range) is a very pleasant place on the road to Akliman. Another excellent idea is to drive out to the pleasant resort town of Gerze and stay at Koşkburnu Tesisleri by the beach. (3768) 81-503.
Turban Buyuk Samsun (****) is the only top-class hotel in the Black Sea region to be found outside Trabzon. Atatürk Bulvan. (361) 107 50. 250 beds. $20-24.
Most other hotels are located on Irmak Cadesi /Kazimpaşa Caddesi.
Yafeya (***) is eminently acceptable. Cumhuriyet Meydam. (361) 511 31..34. Fax: 51 1 35. $15.
Vidinli (**). Kazimpaşa C. Once Samsun’s top hotel, now shows sad signs of decline. $16. (361) 160 50..51.
Burç (**). Kazimpaşa C. Somewhat newer, smaller. $18. (361) 154 79..81. Tugra. Irmak C. No star, but better than the preceding two. $18. (361) 511 41..43. Terminal. Near the bus terminal, for those on the move. $10. (361) 155 19.
Many seaside motels at Onye serve weekend beach-goers.
Çamlik (Belediye) has nice spot by the beach, good restaurant. $7. (3731) 1333. Kumsal (*) is second bestt. (3731) 4490. FATSA
Dolunay Motel (*). Superb location, own beach west of town. $10. (3717)1528. Emek is cheaper. Clean and friendly.
Vona (*). Aktaş district. (3717) 1755. ORDU
 Turist Hotel (**) has two stars too many, but the alternatives are even worse. (371) 14273, 19115.$15.
Gedikali (*)is a surprisingly good hotel located in the middle of nowhere outside town. Own beach. (0514) 1081. GIRESUN
Hotel Giresun (**) isb the best in town. (051) 130 17. 60 beds. $12.
Bozbag is cheaper and friendlier. $5. TIREBOLU
Hotel Huzur, on the main avenue, is the best in town. Try Hotel Inci in the old town. Both under $4.
With the growth of tourism, Trabzon has acquired several international-class hotels and many relatively cheap establishments that fit tourist expectations. Almost all are on the main square (Belediye Meydam) or the streets off its NE edge.
Ozgür (***) (031) 113 19, 127 78, 130 64. Tlx: 83227 taft tr. 110 beds. $19.
Usta (**) (031) 121 95. 160 beds. $15. Horon (*). Siramagazalar S. 125. (031) 11199.$13.
Kalfa. Belediye Meydam. (031) 126 90. Friendly management. $8.
Erzurum. Güzelhisar C. (031) 113 62. Located in a beautiful old house, this is our favorite inexpensive hotel in Trabzon. No shower in rooms. $5.
Hotel Trabzon, which figures in Macau-
lay’s The Towers of Trebizond, has declined over the years. It is scheduled to reopen in 1989 after a major facelift.
Also scheduled to open in 1989 is top-notch Dedeman Hotel.
Maçka Palas. Quaint namesake of one of  Istanbul’s top hotels. Tasty restaurant downstairs. $4.
Hüseyin Inan Balik Tesisleri. is a great place to stay close to nature. 6 bungalows and campsite. $10 per person including food.
3 hotels on main avenue. Equally friendly, if unprofessional, management. Er is our favorite for no particular reason.
Hotel Keleş (**). Poorly managed, but good restaurant.
Avcı The boss Nevzat Terzibaş and his colorful friends hang around with hawks and falcons. $5.
The Farm of Savaş & Doris Güney is likely to prove one of the most memorable highlights of a Black Sea tour. In Şenyuva Village, 6 km beyond town. 5 bungalows (12 beds) and campsite. $13 per person incl. dinner and breakfast. PK 1 Çamlıemşin. No phone.
Several simple hotels exist in Çamlihemşin town and in the village of  Ayder.
Papila (*). (0571) 1897. Once good, now falling apart, but with a certain provincial charm. $12.
Cihan (*). (0571) 1440..43. Newer, better. ARTVIN
Karahan (**) deserves the highest praise for service, help and pioneering spirit maintained against heavy odds. (0581) 1800..02. 100 beds. $20-24.
Genya, 7 Mart and Yeşil Artvin, all on the main avenue, are nice enough for tourists on a shoestring budget. $4 range. Belediye Tatil Evleri. Bungalows and houses operated by Artvin Municipality at Kafkasor. Poorly maintained, but extraordinary location. Inexpensive.
The Karahan Hotel maintains a lovely Village House in Barhal (Altiparmak) village, 30 km NW of Yusufeli. 20 beds, sleeping bags. $10 per room. Contact through Karahan Hotel in Artvin.


Organized campsites of serious standards do not exist in the region. On the coast, some roadside cafes with a sufficiently flat backyard advertise themselves as camping sites. A large number of them are in the vicinity of Unye, which has grown into a regional resort town. Mountains have nothing of the sort. In yaylas, visitors with tents are a relatively common sight; in loweraltitude villages you may ask to set up your tent at the edge of someone’s farm, and run the risk of being treated to dinner and a room in the farmhouse. If you set up tent in remote places, do inform the local gendarmerie of your whereabouts to avoid unnecessary midnight visits.

Turkish Language

Turkish is a member of the Altaic group of languages. It is related to Mongolian and Manchu, more distantly to Hungarian and Finnish. A large majority of Turkey’s citizens speak it as their first language, as do
large minorities in Soviet Central Asia an( Caucasia, China, Bulgaria and Iran.
The Latin alphabet has been used since 1928. Pronunciation is phonetic, ie. eacl letter represents one sound, and one sound only, in all contexts. Vowels are as in Ger man, except for undotted i which sounds like the second vowel in “vowel”. Of the consonants, c is always pronounced as in George, ç as in church, g as in grog, ş as in hashish. h is always a distinct sound; thus eg., Ishak is pronounced Iss-huck. g simply lengthens the preceding vowel.
Here’s a base from which to build up a Turkish vocabulary. Accents have been provided for convenience’s sake.
Hello :  Merhaba, selam
Thanks:  Tesekkür’ ederim, sagol
Yes/no:  E’vet/hayir
Sorry:  Ozur’ dilerim, pardon
Please:  Lütfen
What/WHO: Ne/kim
When/where:  Ne zaman/nerede
Why/how:  Neden’/na’sil
This/here/now:  Bu/burada/şimdi
That/there/then: O/o’rada/o’ zaman
How are you?:  Na’silsin? Ne’ var ne yok?
What’s your name:  Adin’ ne?
My name is… Adim’ ….
Do you speak English? Ingiliz’ce bilir’ misin?
I don’t speak Turkish Türk’çe bilmem’
Is there …? … var mı? There is/isn’t Var/yok
When is there a bus (to Samsun)? (Samsuna) otobus ne zaman var?
Where is it going? Nereye gidiyor?
A ticket for Trabzon. Trabzona bir bilet.
Let me off here. Burada ineyim.
How much is (this)? (Bu) kaç’ para?
Fine, nice, beautiful Guzel
Much/little/so so Cok/az/orta
Bad/worse/shitty Kötü/berbat’/bok tan
Food/ drink: yemek/ içecek
Wine/beer/soft drink Şarap/bira/meşrubat
The bill please. Hesap lbtfen.
Do you have free room? Boş oda var mi?
Bed/breakfast Yatak/kahvalti
A room for three. Üç kisilik bir oda.
The shower doesn’t work. Duş çalısmiyor.
Right/left:  Sag/sol
Hopefully Inşallah
Black Sea Kara’deniz
City/town/village Şehir’/kasa’ba/köy
Road/street/house Yol/sokak’/ev
Cow/sheep/bird Inek’/koyun’/kuş
Fish/trout:  Balık’/ala’balık
Person:  Insan
Man/women/child: Adam’/kadın’/çoc uk’
Girl/boy:  Kiz/oglan’
1…10:  Bir, iki’, üç, dört, beş, altı’ yedi sekiz’, dokuz’, on
20 =yirmi’ 50 =elli’ 100 =yüz 1000 =bin.


Turkish is spoken throughout the Black Sea region. The visitor may find it curious, however, that several native languages are still used in some areas despite the successes of the Turkish Republic in inculcating a unified national culture. The languages are not written; not taught in schools; rarely used in public settings. Typically, their speakers regard them as slightly embarrassing atavisms; sometimes even deny knowing them. Yet most children in these areas grow up to school age speaking hardly any Turkish at all; and child and grown-up alike become giddy with surprise/amusement/shyness when an outsider proves capable of uttering a few words in what they regard as a mere familiar jargon.
Laz is spoken by all in the districts of Pazar, Ardeşen, Fındikli, Arhavi and Hopa -ie. by a population of about 125, 000, not counting emigrant communities all around Turkey. It is a Caucasian, ie. non-Indo-european, language related to Georgian. It has borrowed a large number of words from Greek.  Georgian is spoken by some 50,000 people in Borçka and the northern (Meydancik) half of Şavsat districts, and in individual villages elsewhere in Artvin province. Some descendants of the Georgian refugees of 1877 in the Onye and Ordu areas also speak it. Georgian speaking emigrants from Artvin in Izmit and Bursa provinces in Western Turkey probably outnumber those who remain at home.
The Pontic dialect of Greek is spoken by most people in Tonya, Maçka and Çaykara districts, and in specific villages of the upper Akçaabat, Surmene and Of districts. The total number of Greek-speakers may be guessed at between 50,000 and 100,000.
Armenian, like Greek an Indoeuropean language, is spoken in some 20 villages on the mountains between Hopa, Arhavi and Borçka. The 8,000 or so villagers, all Muslims, call themselves “Hemsinli” and their language “Hemsince”.
Here, finally, is your basic guide to Laz, Georgian,  Trabzon Greek, and Hemsince, locally compiled in the best tourbook traditions by your intrepid Editor. Turkish, of course, is far more useful to communicate: but nothing beats these phrases when it comes to reducing a local kid to giggles. The transliteration is into Turkish phonetics: all letters as in Turkish, except kh like the Dutch guttural, gh like a Parisian r, dh as in this.
It is interesting that no words for “hello” and “thanks” other than the Turkish merhaba and teşekkür ederim/sagol exist in any of the languages-our interlocutors, at any rate, were unable to supply any others.
Merhaba Merhaba Merhaba Merhaba Do you speak…?
Lazuri gişkuni? Kartuli itzi? Rumca ekseris mi? Hemsince kides da? How are you
Muço re? Rawai khar? Do eftiyas? Inçbes es? I’m fine, thank you.
Vrossi vore, sagol. Garga var, sagol. Kala ime, sagol. Bedk im, sagol. How’s the weather?
Hava muço in? Dghe darosi rawa ya? Havas inçbes e? What’s your name?
Muce gozun? Sakheli rakh kwi ya? Onoma su do ine? Onunit inçn e? edi’, Man/woman/chid
Koçi/okhorca/bera Gatzi/kali/gharci Andros/gineka/pedhi Mart/gnik/dgha Cat/dog
Gatu/laççi Gata/dzaghli — Gadu/şun Water
Tzkai Tzkali To nero Çur

Travel tips for Turkey:  PLACE NAMES?

Most place names in Turkey originated in earliest history. Each succeeding civilization adopted the toponymics of an earlier culture, often in bastardized form, and added a few of its own. Thus, eg, Samsun derives from the Greek Amisos (eis Ami-son, “to Amisos”), which in turn derives from an obscure pre-Hellenic name-so with Terme, Ünye, Fatsa, Giresun, etc. Towns with properly Turkish names are rare. The same used to be the case with villages; but since the foundation of the Republic, a majority of them have been renamed so as to conform to national standards. Most villages now have an official name beside a real or “old” name, with a distinctly unpatriotic aura associated with the latter. A certain degree of repetitiveness has been the unavoidable result of the ambitious project to invent names for 40,000-odd villages (and towns and mountains and lakes and so on). Here are some elements that recur often:
Agaç – tree Ak – white Bag – orchard, vineyard Bahçe – garden
Çam – pine
Çayir – field, grass Dag – mountain Dere – stream Dogan – hawk Düiz – flat, plain
G ö k – sky, blue
Göl – lake
Gün – sun, day
Kale – fort
Kara – black, dark Meşe – oak
Orta – middle
Ova – plain Pinar – fountain Su – water, stream
Taş – stone, rock
Tepe – hill Yesil – green Yol – road


 The currency used in Turkey is called ” Lira”.  Travelers to Turkey are recommended to check the exchange rates daily when they wish to buy the Turkish currency.


Limits: There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that may be brought into Turkey, but not more than $ 5,000 worth of Turkish currency may be brought into or taken out of the country.
Exchange slips: The exchange slips for the conversion of foreign currency into Turkish lira should be kept, since you may be required to show these when reconverting your Turkish lira back into foreign currency, and when taking souvenirs out of the country (to prove that they have been purchased with legally exchanged foreign currency).

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