Trabzon, once the medieval Empire of Trebizond, is the best base for a tour of the eastern Black Sea coast. It is a modern cosmopolitan city, the centre of trade with the ex Soviet states. One of its highlights is the Church of the Divine Wisdom, Aya Sofya, now a museum, which was built between 1238 and 1263. Its walls display brightly coloured frescoes depicting themes from the Bible. Get away from the hustle and bustle with a visit to Atatürk’s villa, set in beautiful gardens above the town.
Probably the major attraction of the region, situated just 46 kms south of Trabzon is the 14th century Sümela Monastery. It perches dramatically on a sheer rock face, 270 metres above a deep gorge. Its walls are painted with brilliant frescoes.
To the south east of Trabzon is the beautiful alpine lake of Uzungöl, ‘Long Lake’, surrounded by lush meadows and stunning mountain scenery, where you can sample the delicious local trout.
Those who want to experience the beautiful nature of this region at its best should head for the Ayder Plateau and the Kaçkar Mountains to the east. The rushing rivers, the Fırtına and the Çoruh are ideal for canoeing and rafting, and the mountains themselves are popular with climbers and trekkers.
Highlights: Rize, Artvin & Environs(Batumi), rafting