Trabzon isn’t one of my favorite Turkish cities, but it serves as a good sightseeing base in the region. Although few western tourists go in that direction, Middle East people are a frequent sight. It also enjoyed great financial success during the 1990’s as a central hub of the travel suitcase trade.
Socialism had gone down in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Travel restrictions have been lifted, allowing Russians and other Eastern European citizens to fly to Turkey daily to sell cheaper products back home. According to reports, it produced a whopping USD 10 billion a year.
Lots of Turkish travel agencies are offering 4-day tours these days. My initial intention was to go alone, but I also decided to go to the Kackar mountain range further east and inland. Going solo turned out to be costly so I signed up for a seven-day tour of the city.
Making it was a good move, because I was saving a lot of money. My local guide had also lived his entire city life, so I tapped on a lot of cultural and historical information that wasn’t on the internet.
Q&A about the Trabzon Travel Guide
Where is Trabzon?
Trabzon is on Turkey ‘s northeast coastline, close to the border with Georgia. It is close to the city of Rize which is the country’s tea producing capital. The local population, including the urban areas, is around 770,000. Some Trabzon folks describe themselves as Laz, a prominent ethnic group in this area. Its strategic location on the Black Sea coast has made it a famous trading port throughout history , particularly along the old Silk Road.
What’s Famous For Trabzon?
Trabzon is also called the city of sultans because it was the birthplace of Suleiman the Magnificent, the famous Ottoman sultan. His football team is commonly known within Turkey, but because of its hazelnuts it also has a claim to fame. The conditions of climate and soil ensure high quality, so every year; Turks export thousands of tons around the world.
Near to the coast, of course, Trabzon has a vibrant fishing industry, and this shines through to regional dishes, many of which include hamsi (anchovies). One cultural aspect I love about Trabzon is the Horon dance. While special to the area of the Black Sea and not just Trabzon, it is a wonderful show of quick and agile uniformed dancing.
What’s Like the Weather?
Trabzon has a warm, subtropical climate completely different from the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal winter and summer climates. I visited in June and although the daytime temperatures were pleasantly warm, at night I was extremely cold, particularly when I was traveling further inland. Summer summer temperatures range from 20 to 25 centigrade, while snow sometimes falls in winter.
How does one get there?
The easiest and fastest way to get to the airport. Trabzon airport’s runway is next to the sea, and I remember distinctly as we landed, thinking we were making a sea landing. Other than that, its domestic terminal is busier than its international, and a connecting flight from Istanbul is catched by many foreign nationalities.
It’s only a 15-minute drive from the airport to the city for airport transfers so I grabbed a taxi. Although a bus transfer service is run by Havas and the timetable is here. Otherwise, there are many buses running to Trabzon from the countrywide bus network system, but from places like Istanbul it is always a 13-hour overnight journey.
Where to go for Shopping?
Trabzon is Turkey’s 30th biggest city, so of course shops sell anything and everything. The most famous shopping mall is however the Trabzon Forum. Thousands of big name shops open their doors every day with a cinema as well as a children’s entertainment centre.
Land and Real Estate
In Trabzon real estate has been gaining momentum with international property buyers and investors over the last two years. These are mostly newly built apartments which attract low priced stakeholders. Yomra is one of the most popular neighborhoods on the outskirts of downtown. This area is primarily mid-range land with convenient access to the town centre.
Places to visit in middle of Trabzon
Set aside one day to visit Trabzon city centre ‘s attractions. With its charming cafes and photo opportunities, I truly enjoyed my time strolling along the seaside. My guide even took me to the Hagia Sophia of Trabzon in the 13th century.
I was incredibly fascinated by interior frescoes and antique architecture much smaller than the house with the same name in Istanbul. During the same year I visited the museum, there was an proposal to turn it into a mosque. It was accepted but a legal action kicked in and for now, the status of the museum remains as it is.
Ataturk Pavilion, an significant three-storey, 19th mansion and a common place for locals to have wedding photographs taken, holds personal items legacy from its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to the Turkish republic. Trabzon ‘s third most prominent landmark is the Gulbahar mosque and grave from the 16th century. Trabzon still has an ancient fort, though little remains today.
From Trabzon straight to Uzungol
Most travel guide books on Trabzon recommend a trip to Uzungol, a beautiful large lake surrounded by thick, dense forests. It is situated 100 kilometers from Trabzon and a 90 minute drive away. Many Trabzon tour agencies sell day trips there but instead I stayed overnight in one of the traditional wooden hotels built by Uzungol ‘s hand. This gave us more time to explore, particularly the Demirkapi plateau, further inland.
Day Trip: Sumela Monastery in Macka County
Without a doubt one of the places that must be seen when the Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery in Trabzon is the 4th century. Perched on the side of a cliff in the Macka district, it is only a short drive from downtown Trabzon. The walk up was incredibly tiring but worth seeing the church’s frescos, the beautiful view and the simple rooms monks used.
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