The city of Rize on the north east Black Sea coast is just 66 km from Trabzon and the border post at Sarp in Georgia is just 110 km away. The Province of Rize is one of the smallest provinces in Turkey. Rize in Greek is Laz. This term is used to describe the ethnic Laz people in this region whose numbers and language is dwindling.
Rize is a place where time has stood still. The dense forest and spectacular Kaçkar Mountains scenery, with its waterfalls, rivers, deep canyons and valleys, along with the clean alpine air, make Rize the ideal place to relax for a few days. This is a quiet and peaceful town. There are no busy night clubs or loud music entertainment venues here.
Surrounded by wooded hills and tea plantations the city is centred around a bay. With the Pontic Mountains behind it and the clean waters of the Black Sea ahead, this region is attracting an ever increasing number of tourists each year.
Rize is famous in Turkey because of its tea. Everything about Rize is about tea. At the Ziraat Botanical Tea Garden just outside the city you can sample the best tea that Rize has to offer. The well tended gardens and panoramic views of the city of Rize make this the perfect place to take a break. Tea from this region is regarded as the finest in Turkey. Prior to 1930 there was no tea here. Zihni Derin, an agricultural engineer realised the potential of the area for growing tea and a whole new industry was born. In 1947 the state owned tea brand Çaykur was created and today it still produces 60% of all Turkish tea.
In addition to tea, the farmers in Rize are also growing Kiwi Fruit. Tourism now plays a more prominent role in the local economy. The excellent main highway and route to Georgia have helped boost tourism and the new Rize-Artvin airport which was opened in July 2022 can only increase tourist numbers to this region.
Whilst in Rize be sure to visit the castle which is situated on a hill with panoramic views of the city below. The castle area dates back from the 13th century and the citadel was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century.
During the month of June Rize hosts the International Tea Festival which is popular with local and foreign tourists. Tea is an obvious purchase for those interested in shopping. Feretiko, the name of a traditional weaving from the Rize region is very much kept alive today. Dating back to its origins in the 15th century this handicraft is much sought after. The Rize cloth is woven from hemp yarn and used in underwear production. Lightweight summer clothes under the brand “Rize Bezi” ( Feretiko ) are also well known.
There are plenty of things to see and do in and around Rize. Click on the Black Sea tab in the right hand side menu to see what esle is available in the Black Sea region around Rize. Trabzon, Uzungöl, Unye and Zil Castle are highly recommended as is the Sümela Monastery.
Whilst in Rize we stayed at the Kafdagi Konak Hotel, just outside of the city and up in the hills among the tea plantations.