The Main Square of Trabzon
Any exploration of Trabzon is likely to begin and end at Belediye Meydanı
("Municipal Square"). This is where the pulse of the city beats and where almost
all hotels and eateries are located. There is a lively park and tea garden
bedecked with colorful umbrellas, rococo lampposts and other paraphernalia of
municipal kitsch: it is the place to have a first sample of the city's populace.
There are the clusters of women identifiable by their costumes: the bright red
keşans and peştemals from the countryside of Trabzon; orange-and¬indigo skirts
of Rize; black silk "chadors" of Torul and Gümüşhane, brown coveralls from
Bayburt; the grey scarves of "born again" Muslim teenagers. One sees far more
women here than in most provincial towns in Turkey. Then there are the men: a
profusion of bearded men with surprisingly bright faces, chuckling at the sins
of this world; grizzly villagers on market visit, looking suspicious and
profound; harried bureaucrats catching up on gossip at lunchbreak; provincial
dandies ogling tourist girls, white shoes glimmering and cigarettes dangling
from the lips.
This is the center of city's communications: buses and dolmus (shared taxis)
leave toward all destinations from here. The Information Bureau tries to cope
with a bevy of confused tourists: at the row of public phones (the only in
Trabzon), one can overhear declarations of secret amours mix with harsh
negotiations on hazelnut credit.
At night, the melancholy of "arabesk" music from the nightclubs fill the air.
The bank manager who cashed your travelers' checks during the day can be seen
leaving the beer hall with unsteady gait. At the restaurant next door, the
policeman whom you had asked for directions greets you with a slap on the back
and insists that you join his friends to knock back that bottle of "lion's
milk". Each restaurant has its own regional jealousies, if not regional
specialties: The Karadeniz is run by folks from the Maçka district, and by your
third visit you will have acquired a substantial list of pals to visit in the
Maçka highlands. Güven Pastanesi, across from the quaint Erzurum Hotel off the
northeast end of the Square, is the place to go for a hearty breakfast and (Çamlıhemsin
connections. Ebullient Gündüz Akay, the boss, whips up the best pastry in town
and is related to everyone in Hemşin.
The Main Square
A Long Walk
Lady of the Mountains
The Way to