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Trabzon is a city with a rich history. Therefore, there are many historical landmarks as well as archeological artifacts found in the area. If you are in the exploration of the history of Turkey, Trabzon is one of the best places you can visit. The most famous and important landmark in Trabzon is the Sumela Monastery. Many of the tourists visit Trabzon essentially for the monastery.
Trabzon has to be one of the most beautiful places in the entire world with its natural beauty. Its rainforests covering the mountains paints a breathtaking picture. Any nature lover would love to visit Trabzon and take a breath of its fresh air. It is a place to discover many hidden beauties of nature or to have secluded vacation away from the chaotic and fast-paced city life.

It is believed that the area where Tranzon is located today was inhabited by the Caucasians and Anatolians first. They were living a tribal life. Hittites are also believed to have lived in the area around the 14th century BCE. Later on, Greeks came to the area and founded the city in 756 BCE. The name of the city that was founded was Trapezous at the time. Being invaded by many other civilizations, the city gained its independence during the Roman Empire period. Since the city was one of the most important ports in the northern Black Sea region, a new port was built during the reign of the Romans. The city was later plundered by the Goths and then the Persians which left the city damaged. The golden days of the city were over even though the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I rebuilt the city. At this point, the city was known as Trebizond. After the Byzantine empire was defeated against the Seljuk Empire, the city was taken over by the Seljuk Turks. Later on, Trebizon Empire was established in the area by Alexios Komnenos. However, Sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror took over the city in 1461. During World War I, Trabzon was attacked by Russia in 1916 and the city was under siege until 1918.

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    Summer is the best time to visit Trabzon as many tourists prefer to do. However, bear in mind that it rains frequently in Trabzon, even during the summer months. It is best to be prepared for every weather condition. The city is most alive during the summer season as well.
    The language spoken in Trabzon is Turkish.
    There is one airport in the city which is the Trabzon International Airport.
    Type C
    The currency used in Trabzon is Turkish Lira or TL.
    The time zone of Trabzon is GMT +03:00
Trabzon is a fun city to travel to at any time of the year. However, winters can be quite harsh in the city even though the temperature is rarely under 7 degrees Celcius. Most of the visitors of Trabzon prefer the summer season yet Trabzon is a city that receives a lot of rainfall all year round. Therefore it might be a good idea to be ready for rainfall even in the summer months. During the summer average temperature is above 20 degrees Celcius. Most of the festivals take place during the summer in Trabzon.
You can travel to Trabzon by flying either from abroad or from a city in Turkey as there is the Trabzon International Airport in Trabzon. You can also get on a bus to reach Trabzon if you are planning to visit the city from another city in Turkey. In any case, whether by bus or by a personal vehicle, if you are planning to travel to Trabzon by road, the best time to easily reach the city is spring and summer but it is also the time when the roads are most crowded. There is no railway station in Trabzon, however, if you are planning to travel by train, you can get off at the Samsun station which is a nearby city and reach Trabzon from there.

You can reach the city center from the airport by getting on a “dolmuş”, a vehicle similar to a minibus, that is passing through the road in front of the airport and going to “meydan” which is the city center. Alternatively, you can get on Havaş buses to reach the center of the city. Other options are renting a car or taking a taxi. If you are planning to call a taxi, make sure to use a mobile app and the taxi is registered to avoid being scammed.

    Tahir Ağa Konağı is located right beside the Black Sea and its rooms have mountain and sea views. Even though the hotel is located close to the sea, it is also situated in a central location. It is close to many of the historical landmarks in the city. The hotel building is an old mansion and the atmosphere of the interior is like an old Turkish mansion as well. It is a small yet luxurious place to stay if you do not like big, corporate hotels.
    Radisson Blu Trabzon is also located in the center of the city. The hotel has 162 rooms in total that have a city view as well as the sea view. Radisson Blu Trabzon has a fitness center, spa, restaurant, bar, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, laundry service and many other facilities that they offer to the guests.
    Cephanelik Boutique hotel is only 1 kilometer away from the city center. The building of the hotel is believed to be a house of aristocracy in the past and built by an empress. Later on, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the building was used as an armory which is what “cephanelik” means in Turkish. Today, the building is 700 years old. All the stone walls of the hotel are the original walls of the building. Since the hotel is a boutique one, facilities and services are limited. Yet, it is a good option if you want to be close to the city center and feel like you are a part of the history of the city itself.

Sumela Monastery is no doubt one of the most famous historical landmarks in Turkey. The monastery is situated on a steep cliff, giving it a much more unique look and a feeling of seclusion. Sumela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox Monastery that was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is believed that the monastery was built by two monks named Sophronios and Barnabas during the reign of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century. It is known that the structure was restored in the 6th century. The monastery that we see today is the one that was renovated in the 13th century. During this time, the monastery was extremely important in the area and it was financed by the empire itself.

After the area was taken over by the Ottomans, the monastery was granted privileges and the rights of the monastery were preserved. In the 18th century, the building was renovated one more time and in the 19th century, additional buildings were built.

The Sumela Monastery has a library, kitchen, chapel, student rooms as well as the main church. Even though some parts of the monastery managed to survive to this day, there are some parts of it that are in ruins.

The walls of the Trabzon Castle are the oldest part of the castle, dating back to the 4th century BCE which corresponds with the Roman Empire era. The castle is said to be built in 2000 BCE. It is also believed that there was a tower, a bath and a palace within this place. There are many places where you can stay around the Trabzon castle if you want to visit the place. The castle is open to visit till 05:00 pm on weekdays and closed on weekends. There is no entrance fee required to visit the Trabzon castle.
If you thought that there was only one Hagia Sophia, you are wrong. Hagia Sophia found in Istanbul is not the only one. There is another structure named Hagia Sophia in Trabzon as well. Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia was, similar to the Istanbul’s, built as a church back in the 13th century CE. After the arrival of the Ottomans, the church was turned into a mosque in 1584. Even though it was used as a hospital during World War I, later on, it was turned into a museum in 1964. There have been attempts to make the structure a mosque again, however, it still remains as a museum today. The building is considered to be one of the most well-preserved Byzantine structures and there are many paintings and mosaics that you can see inside.
The Vazelon Monastery is a Greek Orthodox church that was built in 270 CE. During the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, in 565 CE, the monastery was renovated by the emperor’s order. Even though the structure was restored many times after, it was rebuilt in 1410 CE. On the outside of the walls surrounding the monastery, there are frescos depicting Heaven, Hell and the Apocalypse. For long years, the monastery received a lot of damage, however, it completely collapsed in 1922. Today, the monastery lies in ruins.
The founder of the Republic of Turkey and its first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk visited Trabzon in 1924 and the house he stayed in was bought by the Trabzon Municipality to be given as a gift to Atatürk. He stayed in the house a few times after he was given the gift. After his death, the house was turned into a museum. Inside the museum, his personal belongings and photographs are displayed for the public to see.
Uzungöl is an extremely famous location in Turkey, known for its natural beauty. The place is located between the mountains in a valley and there is a huge lake in the middle. This is the lake that gives the area its name Uzungöl which can literally be translated as “the long lake”. It is believed that the first settlers came to the area in 1586. At first, there were mostly Greeks living in the place however, after 1876, Muslims arrived in the area. It is 99 kilometers away from the central Trabzon. Even though it is such a beautiful place, it should also be reminded that the area is surrounded by forests. There are many different plants and animals found in this place. Some of the animals include grizzly bear, wolf, coyote, fox, wild boar and wildcat. Therefore, it is a good idea to be careful while wandering around.
Peristera Monastery is as famous as the other monasteries located in Trabzon. The monastery is believed to be built towards the end of the 8th century. It is also known to be one of the oldest trade centers. It is not only a place to witness the marks of history but also a place where you can admire the beauty of nature. Around the monastery, there are many hotels for visitors to stay which you can opt for if you want to be away from the city and close to nature.
The structure where the Bedesten Bazaar is located is known to be built in the 11th century. It became a bazaar after the Ottoman Empire took over the city of Trabzon. The structure has 48 rooms that are now used as shops. There are many stores in the bazaar that sell traditional items, handmade products and decorative objects. You can lose yourself around all these items and discover the culture in the area. The Bedesten Bazaar is opened at 10:30 am and closed between 10:00 and 11:00 pm.
Boztepe is a hill that overlooks the entire city of Trabzon which why it is a hotspot for both locals and tourists alike. Boztepe is mostly visited by those who want to watch the sunrise in the early morning. You can also have breakfast in the restaurants on the hill while watching the beautiful sunrise, preferably with a significant other. Alternatively, it is also visited by those who want to watch the sunset, however, during the sunset time, the hill is a lot more crowded compared to the morning.
Gülbahar Hatun Mosque was built by the mother of Sultan Yavuz Selim of the Ottoman Empire in 1514. The mosque is named after her name. The mosque was a part of a much larger complex, however, the only surviving part of the complex today is the mosque itself.
Ortahisar Fatih Mosque was built as a church during the Byzantine Empire era in the 10th century. The church was renovated in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries and there were additions made to the church. In the 13th and 14th centuries, many important rituals were held in this church. After Trbzon was taken over by the Ottoman Empire in 1461, the church was turned into a mosque. It is believed that Sultan Mehmet II prayed his first Friday prayer in this mosque after conquering Trabzon.
Kaçkar Mountains have the highest summit in the Black Sea region with a 3972 meters height. It is a popular spot for mountaineering. The forests covering the mountains are rain forests that receive the most rainfall in Turkey. The area is extremely rich in terms of its flora and animals most of which are wild. If you are into mountaineering or nature photography, it is an area that you definitely need to visit.
    Kuymak or Muhalama is a very famous food that is made in Trabzon. It is mostly eaten during breakfast but essentially it can be eaten at any time of the day. It is specifically made with Trabzon cheese, cornflour, butter and some water. Even though the ingredients are simple, the recipe is a challenging one to be successfully prepared.
    Akçaabat köftesi is a meatball recipe that is special to Trabzon. The meatball recipe is essentially the same. What makes it so special is sparkling water that is added inside along with tallow. These meatballs are not fried or grilled but they are only barbecued.
    This is a fish recipe prepared with anchovy mixed with different vegetables. Vegetables such as eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and onions are mixed together in a pan along with the fish that are covered with cornflour. the mixture is basically fried. even though it is an interesting mixture it tastes amazingly well.
    Anchovy is the fish that is mostly eaten in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Most of the recipes involve fish and specifically anchovy. This recipe is an interesting one because it is basically a stuffing recipe made with fish. The fish is cut in half and a mixture of rice, onions, dill, tomato sauce and some olive oil is put on the fish and it is rolled. The fish that are stuffed now are put in the oven for a while until they are cooked. It is a fun yet a different way of eating fish that you need to try if you visit Trabzon.
    Mısır ekmeği is a type of bread that has no equivalent. Trabzon is specifically famous for its bakeries. Therefore there are many different recipes in the area such as this one. Mısır ekmeği is different from a typical bread in the sense that it has cornflour instead of regular flour in the recipe. The bread has a bright yellowish color and it smells amazing when it's freshly out of the oven. When you see the bread you might mistake it for a cake but let me tell you, it tastes no less delicious than a cake.
    Laz helvası is a traditional recipe that is special to the Black Sea region. In the past, when there was no chocolate during the festivities or “bayrams”, laz helvası was made instead for the kids and the guests to eat. This dessert is prepared with milk and semolina. In the end, it has a pudding-like consistency. Even though the name has “helva” in it, this dessert is different from a typical halvah.
    Karalahana çorbası is basically black cabbage soup. Black Cabbage is also known as kale or savoy cabbage. Kale is a vegetable that is frequently used and produced in the Black Sea region. Therefore there are many recipes involving black cabbage as the main ingredient.
    Hamsili pilav is yet another recipe prepared with anchovy. Rice is made as usual and covered with the fish in a baking pan. It is, later on, cooked in the oven. The look of the food is a fun one and the combination of rice and fish is pretty good too.
    Kaygana is a special recipe made in the Black Sea region of Turkey. It is a kind of food somewhere between an omelet and a pancake. Kaygana is mostly eaten during breakfast.
Trabzon is a beautiful city that can be visited both for its historical value and its natural beauty. If you would like to only visit the most important landmarks and continue with your exploration in different cities in Turkey, 3-4 days may be enough. However, if you want to explore the city in depth, enjoy its natural beauty to its most, then spending a week in Trabzon would be much better. In any case, it is a good idea to decide which places you want to see int he city and plan each day to figure out approximately how many days you would need.
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