Originally founded by a
Polish prince as a
home for Polish exiles,
Polonezkoy (25 km from Istanbul) has been transformed into a
relaxing resort with guest houses and restaurants serving a
delicious selection of fresh local produce. Inland from the coast,
the rolling hills and peaceful woods make an excellent area for
Lake Abant, Bolu
(50 km east of Sile), on the banks of a river as well as on the
shores of the Black Sea, is surrounded by lovely scenery, ideal for
a camping holiday. Kerpe, Kefken and Karasu are
three quaint fishing villages east of Agva. Delightful restaurants
and limpid water draw a constant stream of visitors.
between Ankara and Istanbul, is Bolu (262 km from Istanbul
and 192 km from Ankara), an important provincial center with an
impressive 14th-century Ulu Mosque and modem thermal facilities
close at hand. The Bolu Archeology and Ethnography Museum has
artifacts from the Hittite, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman
periods. Southwest of Bolu is the popular and relaxing Lake Abant
resort, set in lovely alpine surroundings at an altitude of
1,500 m. Istanbul residents often escape to the lake for a weekend
of fresh air and exercise. Houses carved out of rock may be seen in
the Solaklar, Muslar, and Alpagut villages of Seben County 52 km
south of Bolu.
Yedigoller National Park
Kartalkaya, one of Turkey's major ski resorts, is in the
Koroglu Mountains. In the summer you can stop for a picnic at
Golcuk Lake. The breathtakingly beautiful Yedi Goller (Seven
Lakes) National Park lies north of Bolu. Nearby, the town of
Mengen has a reputation for its good cooks and holds the annual
Chefs' Festival in August, featuring traditional Turkish
sites around Konuralp (45 km west of Bolu, 5 km north of
Duzce), the ancient Prusa ad Hypium, continue to yield
artifacts from both the Roman and Byzantine periods, which are on
display in the local museum. Among the ruins, the Roman theater is
not to be missed. The Samandere waterfall is in Duzce County's
Kaynasli Samandere village 25 km south of the D 100 highway. Lake
Efteni, 14 km southwest of Duzce housing many species of birds in a
pristine setting is a wonderful, relaxing spot for bird watchers.
Byzantine Asar Castle is located 50 km east of Bolu near Orencik in
Gerede County. Plateaus at an elevation above 1000 m are favorite
spots for locals and tourists to relax, away from the heat of
summer. Some of the best in Bolu province are Aladag, Kizik, and At.
the coast, the lovely beach and comfortable guest houses and hotels
at Akcakoca ensure that it remains a popular holiday resort.
Twenty-seven km east of Akcakoca, you can explore the remains
of a Genoese castle now set amid hazelnut groves.
Alapli is an ideal place for water sports,
especially sailing and surfing. Long sandy beaches stretch east and
west on both sides of the town.
Eregli, whose ancient name was Herakleia Pontika, stands
on a hill adjacent to a Byzantine castle. In the spring the aroma of
strawberries, some of the sweetest grown in Turkey, fills the air,
making a visit a mouthwatering experience. Eregli derives its name
from the mythological demi-god, Hercules, who, in the 11th century
caught the three-headed dog, Cerberus, guardian of the gates of
hell. According to Xenophon, Cerberus resided in the cave
Cehennemagzi (Entrance to Hell), outside of Eregli near
Kavakderesi. Eregli was Turkey's first important mining town.
Zonguldak, called Sandra or Sandraka in ancient times, is a
major center of coal production and an important Black Sea port. The
ancient history of this region including Paflagonia and Bithynia was
influenced by the cultures of the Hittites, Phrygians, Assyrians,
Persians, Macedonians, Romans, and Byzantines. Later the various
Turkish cultures left their influence on the area. The scenic road
on the east side of town leads to the areas of Kopuz and Uzunkum,
where tea gardens and restaurants beckon tourists to spend a
leisurely afternoon. Plateaus, the highest of which is Bacakli at
1,637 m, offer many opportunities to enjoy nature along hiking
trails. Zonguldak also contains interesting caves including
Kizilelma, Sofular, and Cokgol. Mineral dyes have been used since
ancient times to dye cloth, thread, and even furniture.
Saddle Construction, Safranbolu, Karabuk
of fine hand-crafted wood, travel to Devrek, a pretty town 50 km
southeast of Zonguldak, to purchase its renowned wooden canes which have
been made there for a 100 years.
situated 10 km northeast of Safranbolu is the most important
industrial center in Turkey, known for its iron and steel industry. Not
far from Karabuk lies the charming park of Camlik, the perfect
place for rest and relaxation. The entire area is laced with pine
forests and there is a lovely tea garden and restaurant in a nice place
to enjoy nature. Parachuting may be done from the Sorgun cliff.
and further to the east is charming Safranbolu. Step back in time
in the lovely "old world" style of the town to see some of the most
beautiful traditional homes, unique in Turkey for their outstanding
design and construction. The most interesting of these include
Kaymakamlar House, Aygiroglu House, and Asmazlar Havuzlu Konak which has
been restored and is now a hotel operated by the Turkish Touring
Automobile Club. The Mektepciler House is also noteworthy as is the Haci
Memisler House. Pasa House is also restored and has been converted into
a lovely cafe and inn. The castle on the hill offers a vista of the
town. Be sure to see the Cinci Inn and Hamam (17th-century Turkish
bath), the Izzet Mehmet Pasa Mosque and Library (18th-century), and the
Koprulu Mosque which also dates from the 17th century. Also worth seeing
are the Dagdelen Mosque (18th-century) and Kacak Lutfiye Mosque (I
9th-century). UNESCO has named Safranbolu as an international cultural
area and one of the world's heritage sites.
originally takes its name from the saffron fields that dotted the area
in the 19th century. Today, saffron fields abound around village of
Davutobasi, 20 km away, where a thriving saffron business continues.
Before leaving, be sure not to miss the Arasta (Old Bazaar) where
you can watch craftsmen at work and bargain with them for their goods.
(Turkish Delight) is also a special treat, unique among lokum
connoisseurs and a must to sample.
Ilgarini Cave, Kastamonu
About 36 km south of
Karabuk is Eskipazar, where the old Omer Beyler mansion is
located. It is now restored and famous for its ornately decorated
ceilings. Eskipazar also contains ruins from the Miletian colonists who
founded Kotyara in 800 B.C.
called Parthenios in ancient times, is a pretty city of timbered
houses 80 km east of Zonguldak that holds a strawberry festival every
year in the spring. Homer records that warriors from Bartin helped Troy
in the Trojan war. The remains of a five m wide Roman road dating back
to the reign of the Emperor Claudius can still be seen. A boat trip on
the Bartin River makes for a delightful excursion. Nearby, Inkum has
been developed into a holiday village with a sandy beach, restaurant and
(17 km from Bartin), one of the most beautiful towns on the Black
Sea coast, was called Sesamos in ancient times, when it was founded by
the Miletians in the sixth century B.C. It stands on a peninsula made by
two inlets. The eastern side enjoys a reputation for good swimming. On a
rocky promontory rise the ramparts of a Byzantine citadel, inside of
which is an old church, now the Fatih Mosque. The necropolis dates from
the Roman period. Remnants from Amasra's entire history are displayed in
the Archeology Museum. You can purchase a lovely hand carved wooden
souvenir on Cekiciler street. Continuing eastward along the coast, you
arrive at Cakraz (15 km east of Amasra) a typical fishing village
with excellent beaches, inviting accommodations and fine restaurants.
The winding road between Cakraz and Inebolu has steep mountainsides and
offers a spectacular panoramic view.
Mahmutbey Mosque, Kastamonu
Cakraz and 44 km east of Amasra is Kurucasile, a town known for
its fishing boat manufacturing. Cide, 28 km farther, has good
hotels and a pleasant beach providing comfort and relaxation. Gideros
Bay will make you think a dream has come true.
(100 km east of Cide) is a typical Black Sea town set in lush
greenery displaying many fine examples of traditional Turkish
architecture. East of Inebolu is Abana, another good holiday center.
inland amid beautiful forests, the provincial center of Kastamonu
(90 km south of Inebolu) also boasts several important monuments: the
12th-century Byzantine castle built by the Comnenes, the 13th-century
Atabey Mosque and the l4th-century Ibni Neccar Mosque. The Archeology
and Ethnography Museum displays artifacts found in the region, and the
Liva Pasa Mansion Museum also has local ethnographical artifacts. Near
the town is Evkaya, a rock tomb dating from the 6th century B.C.
In the village of Kasaba, the l4th- century Mahmut Bey Mosque
retains some of the finest wood carvings found anywhere in Turkey. About
41 km west of Kastamonu and 9 km west of Daday, Comlekciler
village has traditional timber houses and farms offering country
horseback riding tours.
Then, 63 km
south of Kastamonu is Ilgaz National Park, a delightful protected
area in the Ilgaz Mountains with a ski center and good accommodations.
East of the park by the Devrez and Kizilirmak Rivers, is Tosya
where extensive rice fields cover the landscape.
Cave, in the region of Pinarbasi (northwest of Kastamonu), is
one of the largest caves in Turkey. It is a wonderful place for trekking
and exploration off the beaten path.
Fishing Boats, Sinop
EASTERN BLACK SEA COAST
Sinop (192 km
northeast of Kastamonu) is one of the most beautiful natural harbors of
the Black Sea, where the first evidence of civilization dates from 4500
B.C. It was founded as a major colony in the seventh century B.C. by
Miletian colonists and was the birthplace of the third century B.C.
philosopher, Diogenes the Cynic. The town's citadel and the foundations
of a temple dedicated to the god Serapis, who was supposedly born in
Sinop, date from that period. Serapis was worshipped in the Roman world
as far away as Egypt. After the Miletians, subsequent rulers included
the Phrygians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and beginning in
146, the Ottomans. The Archeology Museum's collection includes several
beautiful golden icons, and the 18th-century Aslan Torunlar Mansion
Museum displays ethnographical artifacts. Other important monuments
include the 13th-century Alaeddin Mosque and the Alaiye Medrese.
Excellent seafood restaurants along the charming fishermen's wharf serve
tasty meals, while brightly colored boats bobbing in the water complete
the picturesque panorama. Sinop is also known for its traditional
nautical wooden carvings. Seaside hotels and STET villages provide
accommodations in all price ranges. Some 35 km to the southwest, high in
the mountains, lie the yaylas (mountain plateaus) of Guzfindik and
Bozarmut. At an elevation of 1,350 m, these green pastures with
their summer inhabitants offer a glimpse into a traditional way of life.
is situated on a peninsula 40 km east along the coast and is
surrounded by parks and beaches. After Akkum beach you can see Turkey's
only fjord, the Hamsaros. Farther along the coastal road, 44 km east of
Gerze, you arrive at Yakakent, a fishing village with clean,
sandy beaches. Camgolu, a large forest which slopes to the sea,
has camping sites, guest facilities and restaurants.
Turning inland, the road
takes you to Bafra (30 km east of Yakakent) a town famous for its
tobacco, caviar and thermal springs. Its 13th-century hamam and 15th-
century mosque-medrese complex are sights worth seeing. Ikiztepe, 7 km
northeast of Bafra is an archeological site including over 600
graves from the early Bronze Age (2300-2100 B.C.) that uncovers much of
Black Sea regional history. The site shows evidence of continual
habitation from around 4000 B.C. until the time of the Hittites in 1700
B.C. The artifacts, including jewelry, which is especially impressive,
can be seen in the Samsun museum. The Kizilirmak River delta area has
also been inhabited since ancient times. The Paflagonia graves date from
700 B.C. And the castle is pessed at 1000 B.C. The Bafra Kizilirmak
Delta Marsh provides refuge to over 300 species if birds with a total of
100,000 birds wintering there.
Sinop Archeology Museum
(418 km northeast of Ankara and 168 km southeast of Sinop) is a
modern industrial city that has served as a major port for centuries.
Products from all over the region are exported from this city, which
annually hosts the Samsun Trade and Industrial Fair. Samsun found itself
at the center of the Turkish War of Independence on May 19, 1919, when
Ataturk landed here to organize the defense of Anatolia. The Ataturk
Museum houses many objects and documents relating to the war. An
equestrian statue honoring the founder of the republic stands in a
prominent place in the city park. The 14th-century Pazar Mosque and the
19th-century Buyuk Mosque reflect two different Turkish architectural
styles and are interesting to compare.
Archeology Museum not only displays the finds from Ikiztepe but
also artifacts from Dandartepe and Amisos, as Samsun was known in
ancient times. Amisos, excavated in 1955, contained a treasury that was
found in a square grave with five rooms carved out of conglomerate rock.
Three contained skeletons; two were empty. Pottery, glass, metal, and
marble artifacts were dated in the 4th century B.C. The golden jewelry
was dated at 100 B.C. Other sites which have been excavated include
Akalan, Tekkekoy, and Kaledorugu. About 69 other sites remain
is the location of the beautiful wooden Gokceli Mosque, built in
1176 without using any metal nails.
is ancient Themiskyna, founded in 1200 B.C. by Amazon warrior women.
It has lovely beaches and lakes.
charming little port of Unye (93 km east of Samsun) is one of the nicest
holiday towns on the eastern Black Sea and justly boasts of its
excellent beaches and camping facilities. Do not miss the extraordinary
18th-century town hall. Within easy reach of Unye is the beautiful
Samsun Cakraz Plateau, Giresun
After Fatsa (22 km
east of Unye), another resort town on the road to Ordu, the ruins of the
Byzantine Jason Church, now a museum, stand on the Camburnu
promontory. Legend has it that the Argonauts landed here during their
quest for the Golden Fleece. Seafood restaurants; serving the finest tea
found in the region dot the 50 km of scenic road to Ordu. Sea snails, a
regional speciality, are particularly delicious at Yalikoy.
Returning from the
Babylonian campaign, the survivors of "Xenophon's Ten Thousand" left
Anatolia from Ordu in their retreat to the west. Evidence of
habitation in Ordu dates to as early as 3000 B.C. Today, Ordu
is a beautiful port situated at the foot of a forested hill. In the
Pasaoglu Konak (mansion), now the Ethnographical Museum, see how a
rich and influential 19th-century family lived. Hazelnut production
centers around Ordu and every September the town hosts the Golden
Hazelnut Festival. Be sure to sample the delicious chocolate nut
candy. An 18th-century church two km from town and the pretty beach
of Guzelyali are worth visiting. The yayla (plateau) of
Cambasi offering beautiful moun tain views lies 58 km further
south, at an altitude of 1,250 m. The plateau of Keyfalan, at
2,000 m, is another popular summer destination for local residents.
ruins of the Giresun Fortress offer a wonderful panorama of
Giresun, 52 km east of Ordu. The fortress is located on the
peninsula which divides the city in two. It is claimed that there is
a cave under the castle facing the sea which was used as a church
and shelter for as many as 1500 people. It was from Giresun, ancient
Cerasos, that the Roman general Lucullus exported the first
cherry trees to Europe. An 18th-century church (now a museum) makes
a short visit worthwhile. Giresun Island, the only
inhabitable island in the eastern Black Sea, is said to have once
belonged to the Amazons. A ruined temple supports this theory. Other
historical remains include two large wine barrels, castle walls, and
a watchtower. The island was called Aretia, Aretias, or Areos. To
get off the beaten track, take an excursion to the high mountain
plateaus of Bektas or Kumbet. It is possible to enjoy
walking, hiking, or bicycling in clean mountain air amidst lush
Headdress Akcaabat, Trabzon
Between Giresun and Trabzon
are the quaint coastal towns of Kesap, Tirebolu, Gorele, Vakfikebir
and Akcaabat squeezed between wooded, mountains and the Black Sea
waters. Stop at Gorele for delicious, submarine-shaped meat and cheese
pide, at Vakfikebir for the best butter, and at Akcaabat to sample the
best kofte (meat rolls).
a provincial capital 346 km east of Samsun, has a long history. The
earliest evidence of civilization date to 7000 B.C. In 1200 B.C.,
warriors from Trabzon reportedly participated in the Trojan war. The
area has been ruled by Assyrians, Miletians, Persians, Romans, Goths,
Comnenes, and Ottomans. The Miletian colonists came in the 7th
century B.C., and Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. The Romans
engaged in an extensive building program from 110 to 118 A.D.
The Goths conquered the area in 258. The jewel of Trabzon's monuments is
the restored 13th- century Byzantine church, used for centuries as a
mosque and now as the Ayasofya Museum. Splendid frescoes, some of the
finest examples of Byzantine painting, cover all the interior church
walls. It was built between 1250 and 1260 during the time of Manuel 1,
one of the Comnene kings in Trabzon. Several other churches were
converted to mosques, two becoming the Fatih Mosque and the Yeni Cuma
Mosque. The Ottoman Gulbahar Hatun Mosque, a typical provincial style
building, is set in a lovely tea garden. Wooden houses characterize the
old quarter nestled in the ancient fortifications, which still retain
the spirit of a medieval town. The house in which Ataturk stayed has
been made into a museum.
Trabzon Karaca Cave, Gumushane
hills above Trabzon, Boztepe Park offers a beautiful view of the
city and coastline. On the western slopes of Boztepe Hill stands the
Irene Tower, built by Empress Irene of Trabzon in 1340. Just east of the
city, the village of Surmene has an impressive 19th-century
mansion known as the Kastel. Near Trabzon, south of Akcaabat, the lovely
highland meadows of Karadag, Hidirnebi and Erikbeli are
ideal for hiking and picnics. Nearby, the Zahardag resort has been
opened. The road inland from Trabzon winds through spectacular mountain
landscape before reaching the Zigana Tunnel, the longest in
Turkey. Nearby Hamsikoy is a charming mountain village, that has
gained a national reputation for its excellent cuisine (including an
excellent rice pudding), and is also convenient to the Zigana Ski
Center. The beautiful meadows and highland plateaus of Gurgenagac
Yaylasi, Kirazli Yaylasi and Solma Yaylasi are ideal sites
for outdoor activities. The traditional Kadirga Festival celebrates the
annual summer migration to the high mountain pastures.
Altindere National Park in Macka County provides a magnificent
setting for the 14th- century Sumela (Virgin Mary) Monastery,
perched high on a cliff face 270 m above a deep gorge.
Surrounded by the ruins of
the monks' quarters, is a church covered inside and out with brilliant
frescoes. Southeast of Trabzon is Lake Uzungol, a lovely alpine
lake surrounded by mountains and meadows, excellent for camping, hiking
and fishing. The restaurants here also make it the best place for eating
river trout. Gumushane (88 km east of Trabzon), on the ancient
trade route between Trabzon and Iran was once of considerable
importance. Many elegant buildings still remain. Set amid fruit groves
and wild roses, the town is a natural stopping point between Trabzon and
Erzurum. Take the opportunity to try the local rosehip, syrup and
Lesser Ayasofya Museum, Trabzon
(77 km from Gumushane), is situated on both banks of the Coruh River
and lies on what was once known as the Silk Road. Marco Polo and the
inveterate Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi both passed through this city.
The remains of a Byzantine castle, as well as major mosques, Turkish
baths and fascinating carved tombstones are among the significant
attractionss. The castle survived many civilizations. It was controlled
at various times by Romans, Byzantines, and Arabs before being captured
by the Turks. Bayburt Castle, one of the most well preserved in
Anatolia, is a particularly beautiful examples of Seljuk architecture.
Two other important monuments in Bayburt are Ulu Mosque (18th-century)
and the Clock Tower in the city center which dates from the republican
period. Also worth seeing are the twin mausoleums of Sehit Osman and his
sister, which are situated on the hillsides at the southern entrance to
the city. Osman Park on the Coruh River has wonderful scenery and is a
lovely place to relax.
Rize (75 km east of
Trabzon) is built on a mountain slope covered with tea bushes that look
like puffy green pillows. Be sure to see this typical Black Sea city's
16th-century Islam Pasa Mosque and the remains of a Genoese castle. From
Ziraat Park you can take in a splendid panorama of the whole area. A
lightweight summer cloth of good quality and printed with colorful
patterns comes from the Rize area. During the Summer Tea Festival you
can purchase the best blend of Black Sea tea. Mehmet Mataraci Mansion is
now an Ataturk Museum that displays his personal belongings as well as
ethnographical artifacts from the region.
Rize Hiking in the Kackar Mountains, Rize
inland after Ardesen off the road going east from Rize, you come
to the beautiful little town of Camlihemsin straddling a rushing
stream. Nearby is the Firtina Vadisi (Valley of Storms) ideal for
canoeing, and the beautiful Zil Castle (Kale-i Zir), and an old
stone bridge. After walking around Ayder's rolling meadows, you
can relax in one of the many hot springs. For those who like mountain
climbing, this is the best starting point for scaling the Kackar
Mountains. This emerald range is one of the best and the most
challenging for climbers in Turkey.
of the Kackar Range constitutes the beautiful Kackar Daglari National
Park. In the mountains south of Rize, Anzer village offers the
world- famous and nutritious Anzer honey and is a nice area for
hiking and for its botany. Ikizdere Canyon, between Anzer and
Ikizdere Plateaus, is a great spot for hang- gliding. At the same
time you get a bird's- eye view of the area. Near Rize, the towns of
Cayeli, Pazar, Ardesen, Of and Findikli all enjoy a
subtropical climate, lush green settings and boast traditional chalets.
The Camburnu coast is covered with golden pine trees where many
species of migrating birds stop, and it is a lovely area for resting and
Harvesting Tea in Rize
an attractive town at the foot of a
forested mountain, is the last
port before the Turkish-Georgian border. The international boundary
actually divides the village of Sarp. The wonderful alpine lake
of Karagol, with various pine trees, as well as other flora and
fauna is 27 km northeast of the town of Borcka on the way to Artvin. The
road to Artvin traverses the Cankurtaran mountain pass, where
verdant the landscape changes to barren rocks. Hatilla Valley
National Park, about 25 km in length, is 10 km from Artvin,
between the confluence of the Coruh River and the Hatiila stream
in the east, and Mt. Nathali (2,923 m) in the west.
Canyons with sheer cliffs and vertical drops are a hallmark of the park.
Both Mediterranean and Black Sea flora flourish together in the park
along with bears, deer, wolves, foxes and eagles. Special houses on top
of wooden stilts are home to the park bees who produce the famous
Elevit - Rize and Kackar
A winding drive midway up a
mountainside takes you to Artvin, the capital of the province. At
the foot of the escarpment, a ruined 16th-century castle crowns a
rocky outcrop. Artvin is a charming city with beautiful old Turkish
houses, typical of the region. The area's mild climate makes summer
visits delightfully refreshing and every June, crowds of tourists, as
well as brightly-clad locals, throng to the Kafkasor festival,
where the spectacle of fighting bulls highlights the celebration. The
adventurous might like to attempt white water rafting on the wild
Ishan Church, Yusufeli,
Artvin Savsat, Artvin
Middle Ages, the Artvin area came under Georgian sovereignty, which
makes it conducive for touring remains of the Georgian past. Its
wonderfully scenic roads lead to the ruined churches and settlements
that stand as a legacy of this period. The best-preserved of these are
at Barhal and Ishan, in the majestic Kackar Mountains.
Barhal also offers some of the best country horseback riding. Several
other churches in Bagbasi and Camliyamac are just
off the road to Erzurum, passing by the Tortum Waterfalls and the
pristine Tortum Lake. Other Georgian churches and settlements
near Yusufeli are Dortkilise, Koprugoren, and Tekkale. Yusufeli
itself boasts wonderful possibilities for nature lovers and hiking at
4000 m. East of Artvin is the former Georgian capital Ardanuc,
with its famous castle, which overlooks the longest canyon in the
is 55 km east of Artvin. It is an alpine village surrounded by
meadows of wild flowers and butterflies, rushing streams and quaint
chalets. The local women's organization has established a training
center for weaving in an attempt to keep the indigenous carpet
and kilim traditions alive. Karagol-Sahara National Park, 17 km
from Savsat on the way to Ardahan, has one of the most beautiful Karagol
alpine lakes as well as the widely- known Sahara Plateau. The
lake is 45 km northeast of Savsat via Velikoy Village, another
typical authentic village. The area around the lake is covered with a
variety of pine trees and also has picnic facilities. Wildlife,
including bears, is plentiful. The Sahara plateau itself is also covered
with beautiful mineral and fresh springs. On the plateau is Kocabey
Kislagi Village where you can see traditional wooden houses occupied
by friendly residents. Another important plateau and popular summer
residence in the region is Bilbilan, whose people are also exceptionally
welcoming and helpful. Generally, in all the national parks you can see
wonderful examples of birds and butterflies.
Karagol National Park, Artvin
Rafting on the Coruh River,