Once known as Trebizond, this
historic port city near the eastern
end of Turkey's Black
Sea coast (map) provides interesting
contrasts to the normal Turkish town.
Trabzon (pop. 240,000)
has been around since at least 746
BC, so it has quite a story
to tell, though you must work some to find the clues.
Its old walled quarter contains
numerous Byzantine churches,
though most are not easily accessible. Several kilometers to the west of the center, the well-preserved Hagia
Sophia (Aya Sofya, 1263) stands on a hill overlooking the Black Sea. More...
Trabzon is also a good
base for visiting surrounding
sites such as Sumela
Monastery, the alpine village
and the tea-growing towns such
as Rize to the east. More...
If your time in Turkey is limited, the easiest way to visit Trabzon is by plane, usually via Istanbul. More...
Because transport in Trabzon can be confusing, it's best to stay right in the center near the main square of Atatürk Alanı so you can walk to most sights and take taxis to others. Here are Trabzon's best hotels.
Finding Your Way Around
Trabzon's layout is confusing! Built on a mountainside falling into the sea, it may take its name from the trapeza (table) of land on which part of the ancient city was perched.
The modern city has sprawled far beyond the ancient city walls. Even so, Trabzon's quarter-million inhabitants—and their cars and trucks—pack its narrow, twisting streets often to the point of stasis.
Your main point of orientation is Atatürk Alanı (Atatürk Square), a shady park at the heart of the city, referred to by locals simply as the meydan (plaza).
Trabzon's historic harbor (liman) is downhill to the north of Atatürk Alanı, an easy 10-minute walk.
West of Atatürk Alanı, Uzun Sokak is a major pedestrian shopping street. To its north, Kahramanmaraş Caddesi is filled with shoppers, but also vehicular traffic.
Walk west along either of these streets and in 10 minutes you'll come to the steep valley of the Soğuk Su creek and parts of the old city walls near the Atapark, another shady refuge.
Trabzon's airport (TZK) is 6 km (3.7 miles) southeast of Atatürk Alanı along the Black Sea shore (map).
—by Tom Brosnahan