situated on a narrow peninsula at Turkey’s
northernmost point, Sinop is like a Black Sea
island with its good-natured people and streets
where time passes slowly.
Development of the Pontic Greek Dialect
Will Pontic Greek continue to be spoken? Bortone
(2009) believes Pontic Greek spoken in the
Pontos in Asia Minor today will probably
disappear. The challenge is to keep the Pontic
Greek dialect alive. The more recent work of
researchers like Emeritus Professor Peter
Mackridge, Assistant Professor Pietro Bortone,
Dr Theofanis Malkidis, Ömer Asan, Dr Anthi
Revithiadou and Dr Vassilios Spyropoulos have
increased our knowledge of the dialect.
Time For to Discover the Black Sea Highlands
Discover the Black Sea
highlands in September when time is suddenly
rent by a blanket of fog or the cry of a
vulture, and make the acquaintance of nature in
its most beautiful aspect.
Formation of the First Greek Settlements in the
According to Liddell and Scott’s An Intermediate
Greek-English Lexicon, the word Pontos stands
for the sea, especially the open sea. In time,
the word Pontos became associated with the
north-eastern portion of Asia Minor that borders
the Black Sea (see Map 1).1 The Greeks first
called the Black Sea, Aξεινος πóντος
(inhospitable, unfriendly pontos), but later it
was called Εϋξεινος πóντος (hospitable pontos)
when they became aware of its wealth in the
lands around it ...
Crypto-Christians of the Trabzon Region
The crypto-Christians (also called cryphi,
klosti, Stavriotes, Kromledes) were Christian
Greeks who due to the Muslim persecution against
Christians publicly declared themselves Muslims.
However, in secret, they upheld their Greek
language, customs and Christian religious
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Kackars Wonderland in the
lakes on one
National Park ski center travel Turkey *for
you like it, snow in the city wears a person
out. And if it catches the city unawares, it can
mean some pretty tense and annoying days. Dense
snowfall in a virgin, unspoiled natural
environment in contrast, white as far as the eye
can see, is not an ordeal but a pleasure. And
Ilgaz, with its natural beauty and texture, can
afford you that pleasure.
and, as its
Smoky mountains and secluded lakes Borcka
lake secluded amidst pine trees in the foothills
of the mountains... Another of the Black Sea's
hidden treasures confronts me at Borçka. From
there I head first to Macahel on the Georgian
border with its natural beauty and beautiful
people, and then to the endless valleys of
Turkey considered as the gateway between Europe
and Asia is an Eurasian country located on the
Mediterranean stretching across the Anatolian
peninsula in southwest Asia and the Balkan
region of southeastern Europe. It is bordered by
the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea, the Aegean Sea
and Mediterranean Sea. Turkey is a
fascinating country where many important
civilizations have flourished since 9,000 BC.
Turkey was home from the ancient Hittites,
Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines to the
Ottomans which have left behind them superb
architectural, archaeological and historical
heritage. Modern Turkey is a secular and
democratic Moslem country, founded in 1920 by
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and from that time,
Turkey has been suffering big changes and one of
the most notable is its rapidly economic
development. Despite of its traditional and
Islam roots, Turkey is decidedly western
oriented country and today is considered as a
candidate to be part of the European Union,
which will permit to the country grow up more.
Istanbul Travel guide
Istanbul is often described as
"the crossroads of Europe and
TURKEY TRAVEL TIPS:
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From Karalahana Travel Forum
Autumn in the south Rize
province on the eastern Black Sea
Macahel Artvin: TURKEY'S
NEXTDOOR NEIGHBOR GEORGIA
A Laz tradition: Hawking in
Turkey’s East Black Sea region
Black Sea Cuisine, Pontos
culinary and recipes
Pontic Mountains of Turkey:
The Kaçkars travel tips and photos
Borçka – Şavşat, Macahel on
the Georgian border
Highlands of Black Sea
The Eastern Black Sea
mountains travel tips and photos
Gümüşhane travel tips,
Arygryopolis travel photos
Turkey's Black Sea Coast
travel, Pontos travel tips, photos and info
All about Pontic-Anatolian
Trabzon travel tips, travel
guide and Trabzon travel photos
BLACK SEA: TOUR GUIDE AND TRAVEL
From the European border with
Bulgaria to the Georgian border, dense pine forests cover the mountaintops while
lush vegetation and bountiful crops grow on the lower elevations and valleys.
Along the coastline, mile after mile of beautiful uncrowded beaches offer sun,
swimming and relaxation. In the springtime, delicate wild-flower blossoms carpet
the rolling meadows of the eastern hills. The wooden houses in fishing villages
and mountain hamlets alike preserve indigenous and traditional architectural
styles. The humid climate and fertile soil encourage cultivation of a variety of
crops including tea, tobacco,
corn and hazelnuts. The magic of such a diverse
landscape proves irresistible to any friend of nature, whether hiker, mountain
climber or canoe enthusiast whether you go in by mountain bike or by jeep
safari, Archeological excavations from the early Neolithic Age settlements at Ikiztepe in Samsun Province have uncovered evidence of the region's earliest
inhabitants between 7000 - 5000 BC. The Hittites, Miletians,
according to Homer, the Amazons all colonized parts of the coast. Alexander the
Great in his world conquest also brought the region under his sovereignty.
Eventually, it was incorporated into the Roman and then the Byzantine Empire.
The 15th century saw the greater part of the area come under the Ottoman rule of
Sultan Mehmet II.
The Black Sea is easily accessible to tourists and provides a wide range of
hotels and restaurants at a variety of prices.
THE WESTERN BLACK SEA COAST
The Yildiz (Istranca) Mountains bisect the province of Kirklareli. Lush
mountainous landscape dotted with quaint houses transport you to an idyllic and
tranquil reverie. In the city of Kirklareli the oldest mosque is the Hizirbey
Mosque, built in 1383. The mosque complex includes a bazaar. Nearby stands a
hamam (bath) also built under the patronage of Hizir Bey. The 14th-century
Kirklar Memorial with its impressive 18 columns stands on Kirklar Hill honoring
the site where 40 soldiers lost their lives when the Ottomans conquered this
area under the command of Murat I. The Archeology Museum exhibits finds from
The Sokollu Mosque in Luleburgaz, on the
Edirne-Istanbul road, is an exquisite
work of the famous architect Sinan that dates from 1570. The neighboring town of
Babaeski also boasts a Sinan building in the Cedid Ali Pasa Mosque.
Vize (Byzia), an important Byzantine center, houses the Kucuk Ayasofya church
and a castle, both dating from the Byzan tine period.
If you are travelling north to Bulgaria, linger for a few hours in the peaceful
and town of Derekoy, the last stop before the border.
Kirklareli's Black Sea Coast is another place to enjoy beaches and good seafood
restaurants. Igneada, 98 km east of Kirklareli, lies sandwiched between sandy
shores and the Yildiz Mountains. Kiyikoy (Midye) is another resort town with
good accommodation and picturesque dwellings from the Middle Ages. The town and
its walls date from the Byzantine period. The best site to visit in Midye is the
historic St. Nicholas Rock Monastery. Also on the European Black Sea coast, only
35 km from Istanbul, are the sandy beaches, and hotels, motels and camping
facilities of Kilyos.
Across the Bosphorus, 71 km from Istanbul on the Asian shore, Sile's long sandy
beaches, overlooked by the remains of a Genoese Castle, attract many visitors.
The excellent restaurants and night life make it a popular weekend retreat for
Istanbul residents. Cotton blouses and shirts (Sile Bezi) are sewn and
Originally founded by a Polish prince as a home for Polish exiles, Polonezkoy
(25 km from Istanbul) has been transformed into a relaxing resort with guest
houses and restaurants serving a delicious selection of fresh local produce.
Inland from the coast, the rolling hills and peaceful woods make an excellent
area for horseback riding. Agva (50 km east of Sile), on the banks of a river as
well as on the shores of the Black Sea, is surrounded by lovely scenery, ideal
for a camping holiday. Kerpe, Kefken and Karasu are three quaint fishing
villages east of Agva. Delightful restaurants and limpid water draw a constant
stream of visitors.
Inland, between Ankara and Istanbul, is Bolu (262 km from Istanbul and 192 km
from Ankara), an important provincial center with an impressive 14th-century Ulu
Mosque and modem thermal facilities close at hand. The Bolu Archeology and
Ethnography Museum has artifacts from the Hittite, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and
Ottoman periods. Southwest of Bolu is the popular and relaxing Lake Abant
resort, set in lovely alpine surroundings at an altitude of 1,500 m. Istanbul
residents often escape to the lake for a weekend of fresh air and exercise.
Houses carved out of rock may be seen in the Solaklar, Muslar, and Alpagut
villages of Seben County 52 km south of Bolu.
Kartalkaya, one of Turkey's major ski resorts, is in the Koroglu Mountains. In
the summer you can stop for a picnic at Golcuk Lake. The breathtakingly
beautiful Yedi Goller (Seven Lakes) National Park lies north of Bolu. Nearby,
the town of Mengen has a reputation for its good cooks and holds the annual
Chefs' Festival in August, featuring traditional Turkish specialities.
The sites around Konuralp (45 km west of Bolu, 5 km north of Duzce), the ancient
Prusa ad Hypium, continue to yield artifacts from both the Roman and Byzantine
periods, which are on display in the local museum. Among the ruins, the Roman
theater is not to be missed. The Samandere waterfall is in Duzce County's
Kaynasli Samandere village 25 km south of the D 100 highway. Lake Efteni, 14 km
southwest of Duzce housing many species of birds in a pristine setting is a
wonderful, relaxing spot for bird watchers.
The Byzantine Asar Castle is located 50 km east of Bolu near Orencik in Gerede
County. Plateaus at an elevation above 1000 m are favorite spots for locals and
tourists to relax, away from the heat of summer. Some of the best in Bolu
province are Aladag, Kizik, and At.
Back on the coast, the lovely beach and comfortable guest houses and hotels at
Akcakoca ensure that it remains a popular holiday resort. Twenty-seven km east
of Akcakoca, you can explore the remains of a Genoese castle now set amid
Alapli is an ideal place for water sports, especially sailing and surfing. Long
sandy beaches stretch east and west on both sides of the town.
Eregli, whose ancient name was Herakleia Pontika, stands on a hill adjacent to a
Byzantine castle. In the spring the aroma of strawberries, some of the sweetest
grown in Turkey, fills the air, making a visit a mouthwatering experience.
Eregli derives its name from the mythological demi-god, Hercules, who, in the
11th century caught the three-headed dog, Cerberus, guardian of the gates of
hell. According to Xenophon, Cerberus resided in the cave Cehennemagzi (Entrance
to Hell), outside of Eregli near Kavakderesi. Eregli was Turkey's first
important mining town.
Zonguldak, called Sandra or Sandraka in ancient times, is a major center of coal
production and an important Black Sea port. The ancient history of this region
including Paflagonia and Bithynia was influenced by the cultures of the
Hittites, Phrygians, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, and Byzantines.
Later the various Turkish cultures left their influence on the area. The scenic
road on the east side of town leads to the areas of Kopuz and Uzunkum, where tea
gardens and restaurants beckon tourists to spend a leisurely afternoon.
Plateaus, the highest of which is Bacakli at 1,637 m, offer many opportunities
to enjoy nature along hiking trails. Zonguldak also contains interesting caves
including Kizilelma, Sofular, and Cokgol. Mineral dyes have been used since
ancient times to dye cloth, thread, and even furnitureConnoisseurs of fine
hand-crafted wood, travel to Devrek, a pretty town 50 km southeast of Zonguldak,
to purchase its renowned wooden canes which have been made there for a 100
Karabuk, situated 10 km northeast of Safranbolu is the most important industrial
center in Turkey, known for its iron and steel industry. Not far from Karabuk
lies the charming park of Camlik, the perfect place for rest and relaxation. The
entire area is laced with pine forests and there is a lovely tea garden and
restaurant in a nice place to enjoy nature. Parachuting may be done from the
Also inland and further to the east is charming Safranbolu. Step back in time in
the lovely "old world" style of the town to see some of the most beautiful
traditional homes, unique in Turkey for their outstanding design and
construction. The most interesting of these include Kaymakamlar House, Aygiroglu
House, and Asmazlar Havuzlu Konak which has been restored and is now a hotel
operated by the Turkish Touring Automobile Club. The Mektepciler House is also
noteworthy as is the Haci Memisler House. Pasa House is also restored and has
been converted into a lovely cafe and inn. The castle on the hill offers a vista
of the town. Be sure to see the Cinci Inn and Hamam (17th-century Turkish bath),
the Izzet Mehmet Pasa Mosque and Library (18th-century), and the Koprulu Mosque
which also dates from the 17th century. Also worth seeing are the Dagdelen
Mosque (18th-century) and Kacak Lutfiye Mosque (I 9th-century). UNESCO has named
Safranbolu as an international cultural area and one of the world's heritage
Safranbolu originally takes its name from the saffron fields that dotted the
area in the 19th century. Today, saffron fields abound around village of
Davutobasi, 20 km away, where a thriving saffron business continues. Before
leaving, be sure not to miss the Arasta (Old Bazaar) where you can watch
craftsmen at work and bargain with them for their goods.
"Lokum" (Turkish Delight) is also a special treat, unique among lokum
connoisseurs and a must to sample.
About 36 km south of Karabuk is Eskipazar, where the old Omer Beyler mansion is
located. It is now restored and famous for its ornately decorated ceilings.
Eskipazar also contains ruins from the Miletian colonists who founded Kotyara in
Bartin, called Parthenios in ancient times, is a pretty city of timbered houses
80 km east of Zonguldak that holds a strawberry festival every year in the
spring. Homer records that warriors from Bartin helped
Troy in the Trojan war.
The remains of a five m wide Roman road dating back to the reign of the Emperor
Claudius can still be seen. A boat trip on the Bartin River makes for a
delightful excursion. Nearby, Inkum has been developed into a holiday village
with a sandy beach, restaurant and guest houses.
Amasra (17 km from Bartin), one of the most beautiful towns on the Black Sea
coast, was called Sesamos in ancient times, when it was founded by the Miletians
in the sixth century B.C. It stands on a peninsula made by two inlets. The
eastern side enjoys a reputation for good swimming. On a rocky promontory rise
the ramparts of a Byzantine citadel, inside of which is an old church, now the
Fatih Mosque. The necropolis dates from the Roman period. Remnants from Amasra's
entire history are displayed in the Archeology Museum. You can purchase a lovely
hand carved wooden souvenir on Cekiciler street. Continuing eastward along the
coast, you arrive at Cakraz (15 km east of Amasra) a typical fishing village
with excellent beaches, inviting accommodations and fine restaurants. The
winding road between Cakraz and Inebolu has steep mountainsides and offers a
spectacular panoramic view
Beyond Cakraz and 44 km east of Amasra is Kurucasile, a town known for its
fishing boat manufacturing. Cide, 28 km farther, has good hotels and a pleasant
beach providing comfort and relaxation. Gideros Bay will make you think a dream
has come true.
Inebolu (100 km east of Cide) is a typical Black Sea town set in lush greenery
displaying many fine examples of traditional Turkish architecture. East of
Inebolu is Abana, another good holiday center.
Situated inland amid beautiful forests, the provincial center of Kastamonu (90
km south of Inebolu) also boasts several important monuments: the 12th-century
Byzantine castle built by the Comnenes, the 13th-century Atabey Mosque and the
l4th-century Ibni Neccar Mosque. The Archeology and Ethnography Museum displays
artifacts found in the region, and the Liva Pasa Mansion Museum also has local
ethnographical artifacts. Near the town is Evkaya, a rock tomb dating from the
6th century B.C. In the village of Kasaba, the l4th- century Mahmut Bey Mosque
retains some of the finest wood carvings found anywhere in Turkey. About 41 km
west of Kastamonu and 9 km west of Daday, Comlekciler village has traditional
timber houses and farms offering country horseback riding tours.
Then, 63 km south of Kastamonu is Ilgaz National Park, a delightful protected
area in the Ilgaz Mountains with a ski center and good accommodations. East of
the park by the Devrez and Kizilirmak Rivers, is Tosya where extensive rice
fields cover the landscape.
Ilgarini Cave, in the region of Pinarbasi (northwest of Kastamonu), is one of
the largest caves in Turkey. It is a wonderful place for trekking and
exploration off the beaten path.
THE EASTERN BLACK SEA COAST
Sinop (192 km northeast of Kastamonu) is one of the most beautiful natural
harbors of the Black Sea, where the first evidence of civilization dates from
4500 B.C. It was founded as a major colony in the seventh century B.C. by
Miletian colonists and was the birthplace of the third century B.C. philosopher,
Diogenes the Cynic. The town's citadel and the foundations of a temple dedicated
to the god Serapis, who was supposedly born in Sinop, date from that period.
Serapis was worshipped in the Roman world as far away as Egypt. After the
Miletians, subsequent rulers included the Phrygians, Persians, Romans,
Byzantines, Seljuks, and beginning in 146, the Ottomans. The Archeology Museum's
collection includes several beautiful golden icons, and the 18th-century Aslan
Torunlar Mansion Museum displays ethnographical artifacts. Other important
monuments include the 13th-century Alaeddin Mosque and the Alaiye Medrese.
Excellent seafood restaurants along the charming fishermen's wharf serve tasty
meals, while brightly colored boats bobbing in the water complete the
picturesque panorama. Sinop is also known for its traditional nautical wooden
carvings. Seaside hotels and STET villages provide accommodations in all price
ranges. Some 35 km to the southwest, high in the mountains, lie the yaylas
(mountain plateaus) of Guzfindik and Bozarmut. At an elevation of 1,350 m, these
green pastures with their summer inhabitants offer a glimpse into a traditional
way of life.
Gerze is situated on a peninsula 40 km east along the coast and is surrounded by
parks and beaches. After Akkum beach you can see Turkey's only fjord, the
Hamsaros. Farther along the coastal road, 44 km east of Gerze, you arrive at
Yakakent, a fishing village with clean, sandy beaches. Camgolu, a large forest
which slopes to the sea, has camping sites, guest facilities and restaurants.
Turning inland, the road takes you to Bafra (30 km east of Yakakent) a town
famous for its tobacco, caviar and thermal springs. Its 13th-century hamam and
15th- century mosque-medrese complex are sights worth seeing. Ikiztepe, 7 km
northeast of Bafra is an archeological site including over 600 graves from the
early Bronze Age (2300-2100 B.C.) that uncovers much of Black Sea regional
history. The site shows evidence of continual habitation from around 4000 B.C.
until the time of the Hittites in 1700 B.C. The artifacts, including jewelry,
which is especially impressive, can be seen in the Samsun museum. The Kizilirmak
River delta area has also been inhabited since ancient times. The Paflagonia
graves date from 700 B.C. And the castle is pessed at 1000 B.C. The Bafra
Kizilirmak Delta Marsh provides refuge to over 300 species if birds with a total
of 100,000 birds wintering there.
Samsun (418 km northeast of Ankara and 168 km southeast of Sinop) is a modern
industrial city that has served as a major port for centuries. Products from all
over the region are exported from this city, which annually hosts the Samsun
Trade and Industrial Fair. Samsun found itself at the center of the Turkish War
of Independence on May 19, 1919, when Ataturk landed here to organize the
defense of Anatolia. The Ataturk Museum houses many objects and documents
relating to the war. An equestrian statue honoring the founder of the republic
stands in a prominent place in the city park. The 14th-century Pazar Mosque and
the 19th-century Buyuk Mosque reflect two different Turkish architectural styles
and are interesting to compare.
The Archeology Museum not only displays the finds from Ikiztepe but also
artifacts from Dandartepe and Amisos, as Samsun was known in ancient times.
Amisos, excavated in 1955, contained a treasury that was found in a square grave
with five rooms carved out of conglomerate rock. Three contained skeletons; two
were empty. Pottery, glass, metal, and marble artifacts were dated in the 4th
century B.C. The golden jewelry was dated at 100 B.C. Other sites which have
been excavated include Akalan, Tekkekoy, and Kaledorugu. About 69 other sites
Carsamba is the location of the beautiful wooden Gokceli Mosque, built in 1176
without using any metal nails.
Terme is ancient Themiskyna, founded in 1200 B.C. by Amazon warrior women. It
has lovely beaches and lakes.
The charming little port of Unye (93 km east of Samsun) is one of the nicest
holiday towns on the eastern Black Sea and justly boasts of its excellent
beaches and camping facilities. Do not miss the extraordinary 18th-century town
hall. Within easy reach of Unye is the beautiful Camlik Beach.
After Fatsa (22 km east of Unye), another resort town on the road to Ordu, the
ruins of the Byzantine Jason Church, now a museum, stand on the Camburnu
promontory. Legend has it that the Argonauts landed here during their quest for
the Golden Fleece. Seafood restaurants; serving the finest tea found in the
region dot the 50 km of scenic road to Ordu. Sea snails, a regional speciality,
are particularly delicious at Yalikoy.
Returning from the Babylonian campaign, the survivors of "Xenophon's Ten
Thousand" left Anatolia from Ordu in their retreat to the west. Evidence of
habitation in Ordu dates to as early as 3000 B.C. Today, Ordu is a beautiful
port situated at the foot of a forested hill. In the Pasaoglu Konak (mansion),
now the Ethnographical Museum, see how a rich and influential 19th-century
family lived. Hazelnut production centers around Ordu and every September the
town hosts the Golden Hazelnut Festival. Be sure to sample the delicious
chocolate nut candy. An 18th-century church two km from town and the pretty
beach of Guzelyali are worth visiting. The yayla (plateau) of Cambasi offering
beautiful moun tain views lies 58 km further south, at an altitude of 1,250 m.
The plateau of Keyfalan, at 2,000 m, is another popular summer destination for
The ruins of the Giresun Fortress offer a wonderful panorama of Giresun, 52 km
east of Ordu. The fortress is located on the peninsula which divides the city in
two. It is claimed that there is a cave under the castle facing the sea which
was used as a church and shelter for as many as 1500 people. It was from
Giresun, ancient Cerasos, that the Roman general Lucullus exported the first
cherry trees to Europe. An 18th-century church (now a museum) makes a short
visit worthwhile. Giresun Island, the only inhabitable island in the eastern
Black Sea, is said to have once belonged to the Amazons. A ruined temple
supports this theory. Other historical remains include two large wine barrels,
castle walls, and a watchtower. The island was called Aretia, Aretias, or Areos.
To get off the beaten track, take an excursion to the high mountain plateaus of
Bektas or Kumbet. It is possible to enjoy walking, hiking, or bicycling in clean
mountain air amidst lush green surroundings.
Between Giresun and Trabzon are the quaint coastal towns of Kesap, Tirebolu,
Gorele, Vakfikebir and Akcaabat squeezed between wooded, mountains and the Black
Sea waters. Stop at Gorele for delicious, submarine-shaped meat and cheese pide,
at Vakfikebir for the best butter, and at Akcaabat to sample the best kofte
Trabzon, a provincial capital 346 km east of Samsun, has a long history. The
earliest evidence of civilization date to 7000 B.C. In 1200 B.C., warriors from
Trabzon reportedly participated in the Trojan war. The area has been ruled by
Assyrians, Miletians, Persians, Romans, Goths, Comnenes, and Ottomans. The
Miletian colonists came in the 7th century B.C., and Alexander the Great in 334
B.C. The Romans engaged in an extensive building program from 110 to 118 A.D.
The Goths conquered the area in 258. The jewel of Trabzon's monuments is the
restored 13th- century Byzantine church, used for centuries as a mosque and now
as the Ayasofya Museum. Splendid frescoes, some of the finest examples of
Byzantine painting, cover all the interior church walls. It was built between
1250 and 1260 during the time of Manuel 1, one of the Comnene kings in Trabzon.
Several other churches were converted to mosques, two becoming the Fatih Mosque
and the Yeni Cuma Mosque. The Ottoman Gulbahar Hatun Mosque, a typical
provincial style building, is set in a lovely tea garden. Wooden houses
characterize the old quarter nestled in the ancient fortifications, which still
retain the spirit of a medieval town. The house in which Ataturk stayed has been
made into a museum.
On the hills above Trabzon, Boztepe Park offers a beautiful view of the city and
coastline. On the western slopes of Boztepe Hill stands the Irene Tower, built
by Empress Irene of Trabzon in 1340. Just east of the city, the village of
Surmene has an impressive 19th-century mansion known as the Kastel. Near Trabzon,
south of Akcaabat, the lovely highland meadows of Karadag, Hidirnebi and
Erikbeli are ideal for hiking and picnics. Nearby, the Zahardag resort has been
opened. The road inland from Trabzon winds through spectacular mountain
landscape before reaching the Zigana Tunnel, the longest in Turkey. Nearby
Hamsikoy is a charming mountain village, that has gained a national reputation
for its excellent cuisine (including an excellent rice pudding), and is also
convenient to the Zigana Ski Center. The beautiful meadows and highland plateaus
of Gurgenagac Yaylasi, Kirazli Yaylasi and Solma Yaylasi are ideal sites for
outdoor activities. The traditional Kadirga Festival celebrates the annual
summer migration to the high mountain pastures.
Altindere National Park in Macka County provides a magnificent setting for the
Sumela (Virgin Mary) Monastery, perched high on a cliff face 270 m
above a deep gorge.
Surrounded by the ruins of the monks' quarters, is a church covered inside and
out with brilliant frescoes. Southeast of Trabzon is Lake Uzungol, a lovely
alpine lake surrounded by mountains and meadows, excellent for camping, hiking
and fishing. The restaurants here also make it the best place for eating river
trout. Gumushane (88 km east of Trabzon), on the ancient trade route between
Trabzon and Iran was once of considerable importance. Many elegant buildings
still remain. Set amid fruit groves and wild roses, the town is a natural
stopping point between Trabzon and Erzurum. Take the opportunity to try the
local rosehip, syrup and marmalade.
Bayburt (77 km from Gumushane), is situated on both banks of the Coruh River and
lies on what was once known as the Silk Road. Marco Polo and the inveterate
Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi both passed through this city. The remains of a
Byzantine castle, as well as major mosques, Turkish baths and fascinating carved
tombstones are among the significant attractionss. The castle survived many
civilizations. It was controlled at various times by Romans, Byzantines, and
Arabs before being captured by the Turks. Bayburt Castle, one of the most well
preserved in Anatolia, is a particularly beautiful examples of Seljuk
architecture. Two other important monuments in Bayburt are Ulu Mosque
(18th-century) and the Clock Tower in the city center which dates from the
republican period. Also worth seeing are the twin mausoleums of Sehit Osman and
his sister, which are situated on the hillsides at the southern entrance to the
city. Osman Park on the Coruh River has wonderful scenery and is a lovely place
Rize (75 km east of Trabzon) is built on a mountain slope covered with tea
bushes that look like puffy green pillows. Be sure to see this typical Black Sea
city's 16th-century Islam Pasa Mosque and the remains of a Genoese castle. From
Ziraat Park you can take in a splendid panorama of the whole area. A lightweight
summer cloth of good quality and printed with colorful patterns comes from the
Rize area. During the Summer Tea Festival you can purchase the best blend of
Black Sea tea. Mehmet Mataraci Mansion is now an Ataturk Museum that displays
his personal belongings as well as ethnographical artifacts from the region.
Turning inland after Ardesen off the road going east from Rize, you come to the
beautiful little town of Camlihemsin straddling a rushing stream. Nearby is the
Firtina Vadisi (Valley of Storms) ideal for canoeing, and the beautiful Zil
Castle (Kale-i Zir), and an old stone bridge. After walking around
rolling meadows, you can relax in one of the many hot springs. For those who
like mountain climbing, this is the best starting point for scaling the Kackar
Mountains. This emerald range is one of the best and the most challenging for
climbers in Turkey.
The whole of the Kackar Range constitutes the beautiful Kackar Daglari National
Park. In the mountains south of Rize, Anzer village offers the world- famous and
nutritious Anzer honey and is a nice area for hiking and for its botany.
Ikizdere Canyon, between Anzer and Ikizdere Plateaus, is a great spot for hang-
gliding. At the same time you get a bird's- eye view of the area. Near Rize, the
towns of Cayeli, Pazar, Ardesen, Of and Findikli all enjoy a subtropical
climate, lush green settings and boast traditional chalets. The Camburnu coast
is covered with golden pine trees where many species of migrating birds stop,
and it is a lovely area for resting and picture taking.
Hopa, an attractive town at the foot of a forested mountain, is the last port
before the Turkish-Georgian border. The international boundary actually divides
the village of Sarp. The wonderful alpine lake of Karagol, with various pine
trees, as well as other flora and fauna is 27 km northeast of the town of Borcka
on the way to Artvin. The road to Artvin traverses the Cankurtaran mountain
pass, where verdant the landscape changes to barren rocks. Hatilla Valley
National Park, about 25 km in length, is 10 km from Artvin, between the
confluence of the Coruh River and the Hatiila stream in the east, and Mt.
Nathali (2,923 m) in the west. Canyons with sheer cliffs and vertical drops are
a hallmark of the park. Both Mediterranean and Black Sea flora flourish together
in the park along with bears, deer, wolves, foxes and eagles. Special houses on
top of wooden stilts are home to the park bees who produce the famous regional
A winding drive midway up a mountainside takes you to Artvin, the capital of the
province. At the foot of the escarpment, a ruined 16th-century castle crowns a
rocky outcrop. Artvin is a charming city with beautiful old Turkish houses,
typical of the region. The area's mild climate makes summer visits delightfully
refreshing and every June, crowds of tourists, as well as brightly-clad locals,
throng to the Kafkasor festival, where the spectacle of fighting bulls
highlights the celebration. The adventurous might like to attempt white water
rafting on the wild Coruh River.During the Middle Ages, the Artvin area came
under Georgian sovereignty, which makes it conducive for touring remains of the
Georgian past. Its wonderfully scenic roads lead to the ruined churches and
settlements that stand as a legacy of this period. The best-preserved of these
are at Barhal and Ishan, in the majestic Kackar Mountains. Barhal also offers
some of the best country horseback riding. Several other churches in Bagbasi and
Camliyamac are just off the road to Erzurum, passing by the Tortum Waterfalls
and the pristine Tortum Lake. Other Georgian churches and settlements near
Yusufeli are Dortkilise, Koprugoren, and Tekkale. Yusufeli itself boasts
wonderful possibilities for nature lovers and hiking at 4000 m. East of Artvin
is the former Georgian capital Ardanuc, with its famous castle, which overlooks
the longest canyon in the region.
Savsat is 55 km east of Artvin. It is an alpine village surrounded by meadows of
wild flowers and butterflies, rushing streams and quaint chalets. The local
women's organization has established a training center for weaving in an attempt
to keep the indigenous carpet and kilim traditions alive. Karagol-Sahara
National Park, 17 km from Savsat on the way to Ardahan, has one of the most
beautiful Karagol alpine lakes as well as the widely- known Sahara Plateau. The
lake is 45 km northeast of Savsat via Velikoy Village, another typical authentic
village. The area around the lake is covered with a variety of pine trees and
also has picnic facilities. Wildlife, including bears, is plentiful. The Sahara
plateau itself is also covered with beautiful mineral and fresh springs. On the
plateau is Kocabey Kislagi Village where you can see traditional wooden houses
occupied by friendly residents. Another important plateau and popular summer
residence in the region is Bilbilan, whose people are also exceptionally
welcoming and helpful. Generally, in all the national parks you can see
wonderful examples of birds and butterflies
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