Black Sea Coast Attractions
Black Sea regionProvinces (from west to east):Kirklareli, Istanbul, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Bolu, Zonguldak, Kastamonu, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, ArtvinTotal length: 2,000km/760miCoastal landscapeBathing beachesThe Turkish Black Sea coast with its rich vegetation will come as a surprise to those who think of Turkey as a hot, dry land.
Ridges of mountains with dense pine forests and gentle river valleys, mi of bathing beaches, busy ports and sleepy fishing villages with their typical wooden houses, plus a mild, wet climate in which hazelnuts, maize, rice and tea flourish, are in sharp contrast to the high plateaux of inland Anatolia.CharacteristicsThese regions along the Turkish Black Sea coasts (Kara Deniz in Turkish) with their wealth of natural beauties are bordered by the Pontic Mountains which at 4,000m/13,000ft dominate the northern Anatolian hinterland. As a result of erosion, however, the coast has fewer bays and inlets than any other part of the Turkish coastline. The climate in the western regions is cooler so that even at the height of summer it never becomes too hot, while the eastern half is very warm and rainy. In Rize, for example, annual precipitation can amount to 2,500mm/100 ins, creating a favorable environment for the area's extensive forests. These northern coastal regions are well worth an extended visit not just for their many bathing resorts, most of them with good sandy beaches, but also for their rich and varied history.Tea plantations and processingIn the Rize region, tea growing has become an important part of the local economy. In 1938 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk decided to make black tea (çay in Turkish) the national drink instead of expensive imported coffee and now Turkish tea consumption is met by the Black Sea growers. Acid soil, plenty of rain, high humidity (78%), warm summers (35°C/95°F) and mild winters (minimum -8°C/18°F) provide the ideal conditions for tea production. Tea is harvested in April and May.Myth and historyThe coastal strip along the Pontos Euxeinos, the "hospitable sea", has featured prominently in Greek mythology, including the legends of Promotheus, the warlike Amazons and the Argonauts who sailed from Kolchis in the "Argo" in search of the Golden Fleece. From the seventh century B.C. onwards, Greek colonies have flourished all along the coast and most were founded by Miletus, including Amisos, Kotyora, Kerasus and Trapezous. In 281 B.C. after the death of Antigonos, Mithradetes V founded the kingdom of Pontos, which reached its zenith under Mithradetes Eupator the Great (120-63 B.C.). After the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204 the Byzantine dynasty of the Comneni ruled the empire of Trebizond (Trapezous) which extended from Thermodon to Phasis. Trapezous then became the leading commercial city of the ancient world. In 1461, however, Sultan Mehmet II conquered these territories and incorporated them into the Ottoman Empire.On May 19th 1919 Kemal Pasa (Atatürk) landed at Samsun - an event of decisive importance in modern Turkish history. It marked the beginning of the campaign to free Turkey from foreign occupation, leading to the abolition of the Sultanate and the establishment of the Turkish Republic.AccessAlthough the western half of the Black Sea coast between the Bulgarian frontier and Ince Burun, the most northerly point in Asia Minor, is not served by a modern highway, a fine coast road runs east from Sinop (in antiquity the most powerful of the Greek Black Sea colonies) right through to the Turkish-Georgian border. It passes through a series of interesting towns including Samsun, the most important port and commercial center on the north coast of Turkey, Trabzon (ancient Trabezous and later Trebizond), the tea-producing town of Rize and administrative center of the mountainous region of Lazistan and the little Turkish port of Hopa just a few miles from the Georgian frontier.A boat service runs from Istanbul to Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun, Giresun and Trabzon. In addition, air services connect Istanbul and Ankara with Samsun and Trabzon.
Western Black Sea Coast, Turkey
Eastern Black Sea Coast
More on PlanetWare