Trabzon is hub of the Eastern Black Sea Region, with a long history, rich culture and great natural beauty. While Trabzon bears the marks of past civilisations, its earliest history remains mysterious.


Archaeological excavations have revealed traces of human habitation during the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages. In light of these finds, we can say that the earliest known settlement was a trading colony of Miletus that came into existence around 670 BC. The name of the city is first mentioned as “Trapezus” in the book of Xenophon entitled Anabasis.

An important Silk Road connection between Europe and Asia, Trabzon has hosted many civilisations throughout its history. The Cimmerians, Medes, Persians and Macedonians were among the earlier rulers of the port city. After the death of Macedonian King Alexander the Great, Mithridates I Ctistes, a descendant of the Persian nobility, founded the Kingdom of Pontus, in 312 BC. The city was portof the Eastern Empire after the split of Rome, controlled by the Byzantine Empire and later the Komnenos Dynasty. The Komneoi began to rule Trabzon at the dawn of the 13th century, and lasted more than 250 years until 1461, when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, the Conqueror, conquered the city.

Trabzon has been an inspiration for world-renowned travellers such as Xenophon, Evliya Çelebi, Fallmerayer and Frunze, who visited the city and immortalized it in travel books and manuscripts. Today, the city is also an important centre of commerce and culture, replete with its museums, monasteries, mosques, tombs, caravanserais, bathhouses, covered bazaar, city walls and magnificent examples of civic architecture, markets, a fantastic landscape, and mystical nature.


The people of Trabzon preserve the traditional handcrafts, such as stone-carving and wood-carving, weaving, jewellery making, the art of the coppersmith, knife making, and quilting.


    The Museum of Trabzon is one of the rare examples of Europen architecture in Turkey. It was built in 1917 as the mansion house of Alexi Kostaki. The building was used as the Vocational Lycee for Maidens between 1937 and 1987. The Ministry of Culture began renovation work in 1988, and the building reopened as the Museum of Trabzon on the 22nd of April 2001.


    The architectural style and decorations of the Museum of Trabzon are in the Baroque Rococo style, a departure from the traditional arts of the Ottoman Empire that had prevailed through the 19th century.

    A fascinating gallery of archaeological artefacts is in the basement, while a ground floor gallery introduces the history of the Mansion House. The first floor houses the gallery of ethnographical artefacts, and the mezzanine floor is used for the administrative offices.


    Ayasofya Museum is one of the most prominent Byzantine era structures in the region. The building is thought to date to the reign of Komnenoi Emperor Manuel I, between 1238 and 1263. It was renovated in 1864 under the auspcies of Riza Effendi of Bursa. Restoration between 1985 and 1962 leads to the building`s opening as a public museum in 1964.


    The Museum of Atatürk, in Soğuksu Village, was built at the end of the 19th century as the summer retreat of the Banker Konstantinos Kapagiannidis. Atatürk stayed here during his first visit to Trabzon in 1924, and on subsequent visits. He wrote part of his last will and testament here, and after his death the building was converted into a museum exhibiting several personal items and photographs.


    The fortress extends from the shore to the hills above the city, and it is the best-preserved structure of its type in the region. Its origins o  back to the 4th century AD. The defensive walls are divided into sections known as the Upper Fortifications, Citadel, Middle Fortifications and Lower Fortifications.


    To the east of the city, it was built by the Genoese on a hill with commanding views of the port. At present only the ruins of storerooms and the church remain.


    Located 18km west of Trabzon, the fortress is believed to have been built in the 13th century. It was repaired during the Ottoman Era, and extended to be used as a military base.


    Ottoman Sultan Selim I, the Grim, commissioned this mosque in 1514 to commemorate his mother Gülbahar Hatun. The mosque, near Zağnos Bridge, to the west of Ortahisar, was originally part of a religious complex- comprising public kitchens, a madrasah, bathhouse, and a school for young children. Only the tomb and mosque have survived to the present day. However, in 1899 the Gülbahar Hatun Primary School was built on the site of the old school.


    İskender Pasha, the Governor of Trabzon, commissioned this mosque in 1529. The mosque, in Taksim Square, was built on a square floor plan.


    This church was built between 1869 and 1874 on the imperial edict of Sultan Abdülmecit to serve Christian visitors and expatriate communities. It is still functioning and its sumptuous decorations and the splendid depicitions of St.Andrea, St.Petro and St.Eugene on the north and west walls are foci of interest.


    St. John Church, built at the beginning of 13th century, is located in Hızırbey Neighbourhood. It was substantially repaired in mid-19th century and again at the end of 20th century. At present it serves the public as a multipurpose hall.


    This Greek Orthodox Church and Monastery Complex, Panagia Soumela or Theotokos Soumela, was built 1,200metres above the sea level, on Mount Mela, on the western banks of the Panagia Stream. Today the monastery is in Altındere Village, Maçka County of Trabzon Province.

    The drive to the monastery from Trabzon city centre takes about 46 minutes. It is a steep climb.

    The monastery was first established in the 4th century AD. It was repaired and extended during the Komnenos Dynasty. The complex assumed its present-day form during the reign of Emperor Alexios III.

    The main unit of the monastery is the rock church. Its exterior walls are decorated with frescoes depicting biblical scenes from the lives of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. This is the most visited religious site in Trabzon.


    Built between the year 1868 and 1872. The Turkish flag, raised at the Governor`s Office, marked the arrival of


    İskender Pasha, the Governor of Trabzon during 1531-1533, commissioned this inn. The building has been repaired and altered several times. The walls are built of dressed stone blocks, while the portico arches and vault dome are made of bricks. During the repairs undertaken in 1980, the original tile roof was replaced with a concrete mosaic.


    The Covered Bazaar, the oldest commercial building in the city, is situated in the centre of Trabzon market. It is thought that the Genoese built the structure, which was substantially repaired during the Ottoman Era. With its single dome, the structure is unique among the Covered Bazaars of Turkey. At present it is used as storage for firewood.



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