Black Sea Region
The region’s main industry is farming which is aided by the high rainfall it receives and in summer the sides of the roads are lined with hazelnuts drying out in the sun. The coastal road stretches from the east of Istanbul all the way to the borders of Georgia and the culture, cuisine and even the dialect are completely different to the rest of the country.
Cities in the Black Sea region are Amasya , Artvin , Bolu , Duzce , Giresun , Gumushane , Kastamonu , Ordu , Rize , Samsun , Sinop , Tokat , Trabzon , Zonguldak , Bartin and Karabuk .
On the far western coastal side is Akcakoca with its endless hazelnut groves, and inland to the east is Safranbolu that has many old Ottoman houses, and also Devek which is famous for its intricately carved walking sticks.
Further along the coast are Inkum, Amasra and Cakraz, then comes Sinop where there has been a port for over a 1,000 years and still remains one of the largest in the Black Sea. Sinop takes its name from the Amazon Queen Sinope and local folklore tells that the female warriors lived in the area that has since become an important industrial and commercial centre. East of Samsum are the popular tourist resorts of Unye and Fatsa which have beautiful natural landscapes and offer visitors beaches, hotels, campsites and restaurants. The charming city of Ordu has hazelnut orchards stretching for miles in every direction and is located 46km east of Giresun , and has a castle located on the edge of a steep rocky slope that crowns the city and overlooks the beach. This was where Roman General Lucullus first tasted cherries and liked them so much that he introduced them into Europe.
Another important commercial port in the region is Trabzon as it connects with other Black Sea countries. Trabzon Castle was built on an area shaped like a table and its architecture includes styles of Byzantine, Commagene and Ottoman. Trabzon’s most important building is the Ayasofya or Hagia Sophia Museum that has an interior of frescoes and an exterior full of reliefs. From Boztepe Park and the Ataturk Museum visitors are given spectacular views of the city.
The Sumela Monastery is in the Altindere National Park near Macka and is perched high up on the cliffs that overlook the Altindere Valley. The monastery was established in the 14th century by Alexius III and inside there is a church, library, various other rooms and a sacred spring. The Rize area has the most rainfall in the country which gives it the most wonderful and varied shades of green and is the centre of Turkey’s tea production with tea plantations sitting up high on terraces. The last port of Turkey before you reach the border with Georgia and on the south of Artvin , is Hopa , which was established on the terraced hills that overlook the Coruh River that is famous for rafting, and in the province here you can see old Georgian houses and churches.
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