Trabzon is a city in northeast Turkey on the Black Sea Coast. It is situated 177 km from Ordu and 80 km from Rize. The border crossing at Sarp in Georgia is just 189 km away. Known in history as Trebizond, the city is also the capital of Trabzon province.
Trabzon is famous for its hamsi, a fried anchovy, which is a very popular seafood dish in Turkey. What better excuse then for heading to one of the numerous seafood restaurants. As with other locations nearby the local agriculture is particularly strong in hazelnut and tea production. Tourism has started to play a bigger part in the economy and the city is very popular with tourists from the Middle East. There is also a healthy investment by Arabs buying real estate and any visitor to Trabzon will notice that most of the signs around the city centre are in Turkish and Arabic.
The Black Sea coast has not traditionally attracted sun seeking tourists. The weather is often rainy and cloudy and the beaches, whilst nice enough, are not the best places to swim since the water is much colder than in the main tourist destinations in the south of Turkey. Tourist tend to come to the Black Sea coast for something different. The beautiful surrounding countryside with its forest vegetation and alpine hills and mountains makes for some absolutely stunning scenery.
There has been a settlement at Trabzon since the 9th century BC but things really got going after the Romans left. Under the Byzantine Greek Empire of Trebizond during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, the city prospered. The Hagia Sophia of Trabzon which is now the Saint Sophia Museum was built in the 13th century. It is much smaller than the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul but well worth a visit. Trabzon Castle dates back to the Byzantine era and the castle walls can be seen as you tour around the city.
There are several old mosques in the city. Many of these were churches that have been converted to mosques. The long sea front promenade and beach are is rocky with no sand. There is much to see in Trabzon. Visit the city museum and see how life would have been during Ottoman Times. Head on up to Boztepe Hillside and admire the panoramic city views whilst you drink tea and take in the scenery. Cross over the bridge at Zagnos Park and head for the district of Ortahisar with its old Ottoman style houses. You should also visit the Atatürk Pavilion high on the hill in the Soguksu area. This is a popular destination for local tourists and visitors who want to find out more about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and why this region is so important in the fight for independence.
The one place that you should definitely see is the Sumela Monastery. It is 45 km away by car and you can reach it in about an hour. We have a separate video on this. If you do not have your own transport you can take a bus or hire a car for the day.
Trabzon has some great restaurants and bars. There are plenty of hotels and lots of opportunities for shopping. There is a vibrant night life scene and some live music venues. There is even an English Pub at the Zorlu Grand Hotel. The nightlife is concentrated around the city centre.