Hi! Today I invite you to take a short walk through the city of Trabzon, located in the northeastern part of Turkey. I would probably never have ended up here even in passing, but the decision to make this trip was influenced by chance. One day on one of the social networks, I saw photos of an unusual building located right on a sheer cliff; as it turned out, this was the complex of the Sumela Monastery. The construction seemed so amazing to me that I decided to fly here for a day to see this fascinating architectural monument with my own eyes.
I divided the story of the trip into three parts. This material will be dedicated to the walk around the city of Trabzon, and in the next two articles, I will tell you about the monastery complex itself.
How I got to Trabzon from Istanbul
From Istanbul to Trabzon, you can take a direct flight, but I chose a more interesting option and decided to stop by the capital of Turkey, Ankara, on the way. I traveled from Istanbul to Ankara on a high-speed train, and the travel time was 3 hours and 32 minutes. In April 2023, the ticket cost 248 lira, and you can buy it in advance in the E-bilet app.
On the same evening, I flew from Ankara to Trabzon, and the flight lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes. The list of all expenses for this trip can be found at the end of the next article.
In small non-touristic cities in Turkey, such as Trabzon, it is often possible to find inexpensive rooms in good chain hotels.
Trabzon is believed to have been founded in the 8th century BCE. The major port city was an important settlement both in Roman and Byzantine times. Since 1461, Trabzon was part of the Ottoman Empire.
In 2014, the population of Trabzon was 240 thousand people, and after the huge and densely populated Istanbul, the city seems quite small. Despite being located on the coast of the Black Sea, there are not many foreign tourists here, and the locals are not used to visitors.
As I mentioned earlier, the main goal of my journey was the mountain monastery, but before and after the trip to it, I had the opportunity to stroll around Trabzon. In the central part of the city, as is often the case, there is a square with numerous shops, cafes, restaurants, and tourist agencies. In the center of this well-kept square stands a monument to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
By the way, regarding dining, I was here during Ramadan when many locals abstain from food during the day. If in touristy Istanbul even at this time some cafes and restaurants are crowded with tourists, here establishments stand empty. On the one hand, it's convenient as you can avoid the crowd inside. On the other hand, a solo traveler deciding to have a snack here during this time might feel like a rare guest.
Apart from the Sumela Monastery complex, which is located far from the city center, there are not many landmarks in Trabzon. For example, the list of interesting places on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey includes two more objects: the Church of St. Anne and the Trabzon Museum. On online maps, I found another historical monument, Trabzon Castle.
As an aviation enthusiast, an interesting place in Trabzon for me was the city airport. By the way, this was the first airport I walked to from the city center. The runway is located right on the seashore, and anyone interested can observe the takeoff and landing of aircraft.
I hope you found it interesting to see photos of the small but cozy Trabzon. My next article will be dedicated to the trip to the monastery complex, which is located 45 kilometers from the city center.
Have a nice trip!