Discovering the Black Sea coast
If you’re interested in something less than baking in the hot sun on one of Turkey’s southern beaches, then try discovering the under discovered Black Sea coast
Turkey’s Black Sea coast is opening up more and more to tourists as the government has invested money in expanding and improving the coast highway and there is now a new airport at Samsun that can handle large Boeing and Airbus planes.
The Black Sea
The coast, some 700 miles long, extends from mountains and valleys in the east to sections that resemble the Mediterranean shoreline. The Black Sea looks endless, as if it were an ocean, and certainly is cool enough to be one if you choose to dip your toes in it, but during the spring and summer you’ll find people swimming at one of the numerous beaches. One can drive or take a bus along practically the entire length of the coast.
Originally this was an area cut off by mountains from Anatolia’s central plateau and settled by Greek traders. Some will remember the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece and his flight by boat along this coast.
Among the most important cities was Trabzon, and the Romans took it over as part of their effort to extend their control over Anatolia. Later the Byzantine Greeks took control, and after Constantinople fell to crusaders who thought that plundering the wealth of the Byzantines was more advantageous and less trouble than reconquering the Holy Land, a descendent of the Byzantine Emperor fled east and founded his own little “empire,” probably best described as a principality. This lasted for about 200 years until Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul and decided to put an end to it. Why it is important to relate the history of the area? It is because there are old fortresses, ancient churches, ancient churches changed into mosques and the fascinating Sumela Monastery at Trabzon, challenging to those with the courage to go up a steep, narrow path to see this treasure. It is now being restored.
Old Greek houses
Samsun is a smallish town, mostly built on a flat area but with steep inclines leading upwards into the hills. You’ll find old Greek houses, villas actually, with beautiful flowers and fruit trees. Its main claim to fame in Turkey is that it is from here that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk launched his counter offense against the Greeks, who had invaded Turkey through the Aegean coast following the end of World War I.
Turkey’s Black Sea coast
The Black Sea coastal area, depending on where you are, produces tea, hazelnuts, tobacco and maize. Today in the east as you go past Ordu, arrive at Rize with its terrace after terrace planted with tea shrubs. The mountainous part affords terrific scenic views of the sea and intensely green foliage. You are nearly at the end of Turkey’s Black Sea coast.
So if you’re interested in something less than baking in the hot sun on one of Turkey’s southern beaches, then try discovering the under discovered Black Sea coast.