Well, I know it may seem a bit premature, but I've decided to start doing some research for our GREAT SUMMER ADVENTURE around Eastern Turkey. I am planning to research different cities and towns, as well as general regions that we might like to visit during our travels, and find out as much information as I can about transportation, accommodation and interesting things to see. So, then we should have a decent idea of where to go and where to skip, etc.
So, a possible start for your journey is the city of Trabzon, on the Black Sea coast.
Well, Trabzon, founded about 756 BC, began its life as an ancient Greek city. Since it was on the route of the Silk Road, it was a place where people of different religions, languages and cultures met and mixed. It was a focal point for trade from Russia, Iran, the Caucasus and India at various times in history. Trabzon was first a Greek city, then part of the Roman Empire, and was the capital of the Empire of Trebizond and eventually became part of the Ottoman Empire. The city still has a small population of Muslim Pontic Greek-speakers. And the Laz people, who also live in neighboring Georgia, are the native people of this region. It sounds like traditional rural life is alive and kicking in the Trabzon region, apart from the rather modern urban center of Trabzon city.
Modern Trabzon's major exports (it is a port city) are its famous anchovies and hazelnuts, as well as tea. Yummy.
Apparently it has warm, humid summers and winters are cool and damp.
There seem to be a number of sites to visit in the city itself, but I think it is more important as a starting point for seeing some amazing places nearby, like the Kackar Mountains, some impressive old monasteries, and that sort of thing.
I really think travelling around Turkey is going to be so interesting. Turkey seems to be made up of a number of different minorities, and there are distinct variations in culture between different regions of the country. And this part of the world has been traversed by so many different peoples over the course of history. Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Persians, Ottomans; those are just the bigger groups, and more recognizable to people like me, I guess. But there's a lot more going on over in that corner of the world and I can't wait to see it for myself! Yeah for travel!
The city walls of Trabzon. Licensed by Creative Commons.
Hagia Sophia, Trabzon. Licensed by Creative Commons.