If you want to visit one of the oldest trading ports on the Black Sea, you will need to head to Trabzon. Trabzon traded up and down the Black Sea because of its proximity to the cities of Gümüshane, Bayburt, and Rize. This is a region that is as mixed in history as it is in cultures, and the city is a precious example of the blending of people from different areas and cultures.
Sumela-Monastery Trabzon -Turkey
The Sumela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox Monastery that was built on top of Mela Mountain. This monastery s also part of the Altindere National Park, so a visit here will be a peaceful escape from the city and into the beauty of nature. Sumela was dedicated to the Virgin Mary when it was founded back in 836 AD by Theodosius I. It has been repaired and renovated seven times since it was built through the main features of it have primarily remained the same. If you visit, you will find the Rock Church, the chapels, kitchen, and student’s rooms little change from their monastic days.
The Trabzon Museum is known as the Kostaki Mansion and was once one of the grand establishments of the city. Today it houses archeological discoveries and ethnographic exhibits that highlight the region’s unique past. Before World War I the building was also used as a Turkish headquarters it has also been used by a wealthy Greek banker for his place of work until he went bankrupt (Kostak Teophylaktos). The main features of the building are the museum that houses items from around the world and the ground floor rooms which are dedicated to the history of the building.
The Forum Trabzon
The Forum Trabzon is part of the older section of the city that has been converted into high-level shops for the sale of goods and foods. It is more pricy to visit, but it is worth the visit to see the lovely buildings that have been repurposed into elegant boutiques. The food is worth the visit, plus the people are very kind though few speak any language other than Turkish. Where the forum is located is also considered one of the most beautiful sections of the city as it is tucked into the Degermendere Valley.
St. Anne’s Church
St. Anne’s Church was built around the 6th or 7th centuries and has been restored during three different reigns, those of Basil I, Leo VI and Alexander. The last restoration was during the 9thCentury so unfortunately for tourists, you are no longer allowed to enter as it has become too deuterated to allow admittance. You can gaze at this amazing structure and see what it once was. The building was built using examples of the Byzantine architectural structures. The interior was once richly decorated with frescoes though they are fading even more quickly now as they are not being preserved.
The Castle of Trabzon
This Byzantine Era castle was built during the 1st Century AD and was built in three parts. These three parts are the Lowe Level (Osage Hisar), the Middle Level (OrtaHisar), and the Upper Level (Tukar Hisar). While the structure is slowly crumbling from time, most of the fortress’s walls are still standing as they have done since it was built. Uniquely, three are Christian remains buried on the grounds from the 20th Century. This is one of the oldest buildings in the city and well worth the visit.
The Gulbahar Hatun Tomb and Mosque
Gulbahar Hatun was the wife of Bayezid II and mother to Sultan Selim I. Her tomb and the mosque attached to it is a peaceful place. It was decorated exquisitely when she passed to honor the emperor. The designs found throughout the tomb mirror those found on Islamic Prayer Mats. Today it is still used as a mosque, and the local children attend the school’s religious classes and learn their prayers and heritage. The tomb of Gulbahar is richly decorated to emphases Gulbahar Hatun’s status in the city.
Meydan Hamami In Trabzon
Meydan Hamami is a spa and wellness center located in Trabzon. It has a full sauna and bathing facility that is clean and well decorated. This is a more modern establishment, but you can still enjoy the pleasures of a Turkish bathhouse here that are well known in the area. The staff is very professional, and the masseurs know their work and can relieve you of the stresses and pain that have built up over time. If you don’t want a massage, you can always sink into a nice relaxing bath and soak your cares away.
The Kaymakli Monastery was built in the 15th Century. Though it is in ruins, you can still see where the main body of the church was and where the bell tower and chapel stood. The entire ruin is on top of a hill overlooking the city. The original church once had three naves and pentagonal-shaped apses. It was once a religious building dedicated to the Armenian community in the 7th Century AD. The building, at some point, burned down, which ended the monastery forever.
Akcakale Castle In Trabzon
Akcakale Castle was built during the 13th Century as a Byzantine structure. It is built on the Akcakale peninsula that is still known for its tribal communities and their unique dance forms. The building is in ruins though if you visit you can even see what remains of the broken bell tower or slightly half of it. Today, the region is known for its delicious meatballs and small eateries so if you want to visit the castle do so when you are hungry to get the most out of the cuisine of the area and the castle itself.
Bedesten Of Trabzon
If you want to visit a traditional Bazaar, then you should go to Bedesten. Bedesten is where the Persian culture has set up shop to sell its goods. You will find that Bedesten is an old market that is selling items from the Parsi community as well as the Ottomans. You will find many examples of traditional jewelry, carpets, clothes, and vases. While the place is a simple shopping community, it is hardly so simple. It has the ambiance of a small center though it has so much packed into it.