An inspiration for world-renowned travellers like Xenophon, and Evliya Çelebi who immortalized Trabzon in his travel book.

Trabzon, whose history stretches back into very early times, is a hub of cultural and natural riches in the eastern Black Sea Region. Located on the historic Silk Road, the city has been a melting-pot of religions, languages and cultures for centuries. It played an important role in history due to its harbour and vital position on the legendary Silk Road. Such was its fame that Marco Polo visited the city in the 14th century. Trabzon has also been an inspiration for such other world-renowned travellers as Xenophon, Evliya Çelebi, Fallmerayer and Frunze, who visited the city and immortalized it in travel books and manuscripts.

Trabzon is a hub of cultural and natural riches in the eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey.

Today, the city continues to be an important centre of commerce and culture, replete with museums, monasteries, mosques, tombs, caravanserais, bath-houses, a covered bazaar, city walls, and magnificent examples of civic architecture, markets and a fantastic landscape.

The restored 13th-century Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia, now the Ayasofya Mosque, is the jewel of Trabzon’s Christian monuments. Another gem is the Sumela Monastery overlooking the valley of Altındere, 54km or so south of Trabzon. It is located in Altındere National Park, set amidst the rich flora and fascinating geomorphologic formations of the Altındere Valley. The monastery is perched on the face of a cliff 270m above a deep gorge and it seems from the valley floor to be floating between earth and sky. Surrounded by the ruins of the monks’ dwellings, the monastery’s main chapel is covered with brilliant frescoes both on the inside and outside. It is an exceptional site not only for the singularity of its construction but also for its magnificence. As to the construction of the Sumela Monastery, the legend says one day the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a vision to two Athenian monks and asked them to build a monastery in an isolated valley.

Trabzon / Uzungöl – Photo: Servet Uygun

To the far east of the Sumela Monastery, the Çamburnu Coast, where migrating birds rest amidst the golden pine trees, is a lovely area for those who would like to have a short break for photographing the wavy sea.

One of the symbols of Trabzon is the Uzungöl Nature Park located 95km from the city. The park has a rich flora and stunning wildlife, and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. There are accommodation facilities, picnic areas and trekking routes for visitors.

Besides natural wonders, Trabzon dazzles the visitors also with a cuisine of considerable charm that offers in the city restaurants many local dishes of great flavour found nowhere else in the world.

LONG AND GREEN LAKE IN THE BLACK SEA’S ALPES

 

HISTORY

There are very few structures in the area that could be called historical remains. The history of Uzungol is tied in with that of Trabzon’s. Trabzon’s ancient name was “Trapezos. This means “table”. The old city had been built on a narrow hill that stretched down to the sea in the shape of a table.


Trabzon was built during 800 B.C. as a colony of Sinop. Later, from 1204 to 1461 it enjoyed a wealthy period as the capital city of the Ethnic Greek Pontus state. Trabzon was a metropolis until Yavuz Sultan Selim became governor of Trabzon around the beginning of the 16th century, and was occupied by Russia for about 2 years during WWI. During the latter period battles were fought with the Russians and local Ethnic Greek brigands in Uzungol and Haldizen. The graves of the Turkish martyrs are still in the Haldizen valley.The 1625 hectares of the park was designated as a Nature Park in 1989 because of the rich plant life, wildlife and sightseeing potential. The Nature Park is 99 kilometers to Trabzon and 19 kilometers to Caykara County. The lake was formed when a landslide dammed the Haldizen Stream, flooding the valley. 

The settlement area formed around is called “Uzungol”, meaning “Long Island”. Uzungol is also the name of the village on the lake’s coast.  

It is at a height of 1090 meters from sea level. However water plane of the lake differs according to seasonal water flow, in general, its length is 1000 m, its width is 500 m, its depth is almost 15m. Trout fish can be found in the lake.

The dominant tree species is Eastern spruce, and there are also badger, bearded, alder, hornbeam, hazelnut, oak, mountain elm, and silver birch trees. Species of animals include mountain goat, roe deer, bear, wolf, wild boar, marten, badger, lynx, jackal, fox, rabbit, squirrel, wild ducks, birds of prey, trout and various kinds of reptiles.

The most important river in the area is the Demirkapi, and the Uzungol Lake was formed as a result of the rocks closing the mouth of the river. 10 km south of the lake is the Norizca mountain, with an altitude of 300m. The best time to visit the park is between April and October.

Almost ten smaller lakes on the higher sides of the mountains around provide alternative activities for visitors. There are accommodation facilities, picnic areas, and trekking routes in the park. Also, pedalos are available for hire. In addition to the trekking, bird watching and botanical tours of the highest lake of Haldizen Valley and Trabzon, there are also opportunities to arrange spring tours that can be visited by the villages with wooden village villas of the traditional Black Sea architecture besides the natural beauty such as SekersuDemirkapiYaylaonu, and the nearby ponds or the hills between the higher mountains. 

 

THINGS TO DO IN UZUNGOL

  • Mountaineering and Trekking Routes

• Caykara Uzungol Location – Karastel Plateau – Sekersu Plateau

  • Paragliding

The province has several locations suitable for paragliding:

  • Uzungol – Karastel Hill 
  • Uzungol – Karacimah Hill (Yente) – Cayiroba

  • Jeep – Safari Routes

  • Trabzon –Macka – Sumela Monastery – Camibogazi –Taskopru – Yagmurdere – Pazarcik Tourism Centre – Soganli Pass- Uzungol – Anzer – Coruh Valley
  • Trabzon –Arakli – Dagbasi – Aydintepe – Underground City – Demirkapi Lakes – Uzungol – Caykara – Of – Trabzon 

  • Camping and Caravanning

There are camping and caravanning facilities in most of the high pastures.

  •  Uzungol Inan Kardesler Camp Site – Golbasi Uzungol
  •  Uzungol Kofuoglu Facilities

 

  • Helicopter Tour

An activity that has attracted much attention recently has been presented to the visitors of Uzungol. This activity is a unique opportunity for those who want to watch a birds-eye view. Yes, Uzungol helicopter tour is a popular activity model.

  • Nature Photography

Another thing you can do during your trip to Uzungol is nature photography if you are curious. As you can do individually, you can also take part in safari-style photography.

  • Shopping

When you visit this natural wonder holiday resort, you can buy souvenirs, especially traditional wears, loincloths, wooden spoons, rag dolls, bags, and hats as a memory of Uzungol.

  • Uzungol Festivals

Festivals are held every year in summer, since 2003. Uzungol Festival lasts for 3 days. There are concerts, folklore, and acrobatic performances at this festival.

 

PLACES TO SEE NEAR UZUNGOL

 

  • Sekersu Plateau

Sekersu Plateau is one of the most beautiful places in Trabzon. Formerly named as Sakarsuthe plateau is adjacent to Karacam and Yaylaonuo villages. You can go to the plateau, which is closed to settlement due to the climatic conditions in winter, in summer.,

  • Haldizen Plateau 

Haldizen Plateau is also known as Demirkapi Plateau and it is one of the most dynamic places of the Black Sea. Haldizen plateau can be easily reached from Uzungol. The plateau is 16 kilometers from the village of Serah in Uzungol

Haldizen Plateau surrounded by white high peaks, meadows and dense forest. It consists of three neighborhoods with centenary wooden houses adorned with scented mountain flowers.

  • Garester Plateau

Garester Plateau, one of the beautiful highlands of Uzungol, is also worth seeing. It is located in the south of Uzungol and when you go up to the plateau, you can’t get enough of watching the amazing view of Uzungol.

 

  • Serah Village

Especially the old wooden houses, which were built in the local style of Serahvillage in the region, are in complete harmony with nature’s beauty. 

The village has its name due to the fact that its houses are in complete harmony with the environment and complete the natural beauty of the surroundings. You will have the opportunity to see and enjoy the experience with the local people while at the Trabzon to Uzungol tour. Once we will be done with visiting and seeing all these places, you will have a chance to stroll at your ease and leisure and enjoy having refreshments in the Turkish village. 

  • Uzungol Mosque

The moment you see the minarets, it means “Welcome to Uzungol”One of the symbols of UzungolUzungol Mosque can be seen from 600 meters away with its minarets. The mosque was built in 2002. Especially professional photographers love to take photos of the mosque. The silhouette of the mosque that hits the lake is like a photo that will not be erased from your memories.

LOCAL FLAVORS OF UZUNGOL

Restaurants in the Black Sea region of Uzungol are waiting for you. You can start your day with an organic breakfast here, where you can have a busy schedule. ​

The flavor, which is served as a mixture of the type of cheese called cornmeal and minci, is roasted in the real butter produced in the plateaus and is transformed into delicious food that you can eat your fingers. Definitely the flavor you’ll want to see on your breakfast menu, as it’s organic, served as a hot menu for breakfast.

In Uzungol, which is one of the most delicious places for fish lovers, it is possible to taste many local delicacies such as cabbage wrap, cabbage soup, and anchovy bread.

IN WINTER

In winter, the region is visited by people who want to stay alone in Uzungol with its magnificent view. And also, it is targeted that the tourism season will be expanded in Trabzon with Uzungol Winter Tourism Center project. 

  • Expected Investments For Winter Tourism

Uzungol has a characteristic of the center of attraction in tourism and gets huge demand in the tourism season. With this project, infrastructure for winter tourism will be developed. There is no legal barrier for the investment of the project, the master plan and feasibility is ready. 

 

  •  Sarikaya Plateau, five-star hotel with 3.500 person capacity and 10 royal villas. 
  •  Garester Plateau, five-star hotel with 3.000 person capacity and 20 royal villas. 
  •  31 ski-tracks with 32 km length conforming to international competition standards. 
  •  Cable car system with 5.000 people/hour and 15 stations 30 km length.
  •  5.000 estimated employment.
  •  Free fun zone and winter-themed recreation area.
  •  Winter sports equipment renting centers.
  •  Mountain restaurant with 250 people capacity.
  •  Viewing platform made with glass and cafe.
  •  Ski training center.
  •  Heli-ski arena.

HEALTH

Make sure you bring warm winter clothes and anoraks when visiting the Black Sea. Also, bring any medication which you take regularly with you.
The most common problem encountered on Black Sea mountain tours is “mountain sickness”, as it is commonly called. When very high altitudes (2000 – 3000 meters) are climbed quickly, this sickness may occur with symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and insomnia. If you start having these kinds of symptoms, the best thing to do is stop the climb and go back. People suffering from high blood pressure and heart diseases should abstain from such trips.

FAMILY TRAVEL TIPS

The facilities in Uzungol have not really been planned with children in mind, so do not expect too much from the area. If you do want to bring your children with you, then you must ensure you have all their needs brought with you. It would also be unsuitable for children to accompany adults on the walks to the plateaus. The walks are usually very long and arduous. If you wish to come with your kids and enjoy a nice holiday in the arms of Mother Nature, then be prepared to stay mostly in Uzungol. You will need to make the best of the facilities and the area.

It is the traditional houses of Safranbolu that have earned the city a world-wide reputation and inscribed it on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, with many trailing back to 18-19th century, however, the fact that the locals manage to keep the traditional lifestyle alive takes the visitors on a journey back in time. As you walk along Safranbolu’s streets sheltering over 2000 traditional Turkish-Ottoman houses, you will grasp the opportunity of exploring the elegancy of Ottoman housing architecture and of becoming familiar with the traditional lifestyle of its hospitable locals.

The Select Samples of The Ottoman Civilian Architecture: “Safranbolu Houses”

Safranbolu, managing to preserve its complete old settlement texture, is home to historical houses grouped in two main areas: The first is the “Bazaar” section that’s mostly used during winter and previously known as the “City”, while the second one is previously known as “Vineyards” and was mostly used during summer time. The locals spent the winter months in the “City”, and they moved to their summerhouses in the “Vineyards” upon the arrival of warmer summer days, however, life in marketplace, the centre of production and trade, used to be lively and hectic through the year.

With thier unique architecture and locations, the houses of Safranbolu give the guests insight into the former Turkish lifestyle. Safranbolu houses were mostly built by the side of the valley for two reasons: the first is to avert the occupation of fertile agricultural lands and the second is associated with the good grace and decency of neighbour relations among the Turkish people. Because the houses were constructed on the slopes, they do not hinder one another’s view and exposure to sunlight. The upper stories supported by buttresses project over the cobbled pavements which were made as inclined to resist flood waters and to minimize humid effect.

Safranbolu adores those who set eyes on its beautiful houses that defy time with their sound stance and reflect an architecture of superior taste in company with fine wooden decoration. Some houses, designed as museums, have an eye-catching wooden artwork on ceilings and some possess an indoor pool to cool the air and to avoid fire.

The Lands Where World’s Most Expensive Spices Grow

The name of the town derives from “saffron”, and Safranbolu is where the best quality saffron in the world is produced. The cultivation and care of saffron is very demanding, however, it is worth the effort since it is capable of coloring a fluid one hundred thousand times as heavy as the saffron itself with yellow. Being used in pharmaceutical, food and cosmetics industries, it carries the title of being the most expensive spice in the world.

Safranbolu’s Famous Turkish Delight: A Matchless Flavour

Safranbolu has made a name for itself with its perfectly-flavoured Turkish delight (lokum), a dessert regarded to be a leading flavour in the Turkish cuisine culture. The reason is, Safranbolu’s lokum is lighter and the mineral-rich natural water sprung from Safranbolu is used in the making of this dessert; which means, you must taste and buy lokum as a gift during your visit to Safranbolu.

How to Go?

Safranbolu is well accessible by road from İstanbul and Ankara. There are regular coach departures to Safranbolu from both cities. Safranbolu is roughly 5 hours’ drive from İstanbul while it is 2,5 hours from Ankara.

Located within the boundaries of Boğazkale District, southwest of ÇorumHattusas had served as the capital of the Hittite Empire for 450 years, between 1650-1200 BC, extending over a 180-hectare rough and rocky terrain. During the Hittite Empire, this magnificent city used to be surrounded by 6 kilometers long city walls with high towers at certain intervals. The monumental gateways through these walls made entries and exits possible at old times. Such gates as Aslanlı Kapı (which has lion statues on it- so to say, the Lion’s Gate), the Sphinx Gate and the Royal Gate are decorated with reliefs indicating a high talent and taste of delicate stonemasonry. At the farthest southern point of the city, the walls passes over a piled earth level considered to be the city’s crown. Just beneath the Sphinx Gate standing at the central point here, a potern tunnel of 71 meters was formed. The restoration works carried out there up to now with an original system has transformed the ancient capital city, which still stands up against the pressure of time, into an open air museum.

Nation of One Thousand Gods

The Hittite Empire ruled across a wide geography, dominating lots of people of different origins. With this attempt seen as a political preference, the gods of different communities were brought together under an official pantheon. In so doing, different communities under the dominance of Hittites were made to live together under a central power. Together with their unique cultural elements, the Indo-European Hittites had adopted many other cultural details of various cultures they met and found acceptable to their own while defining themselves as the Nation of One Thousand Gods. Hattusas was not only the administrative capital but also the religious centre of the whole Empire. As one of the leading 31 temples of Hittites, the Great Temple (Büyük Mabet) was the place wherein they worshipped two gods they considered as the most powerful- Storm God of Hatti and the Sun Goddess of the Arinna City. As the most impressive centre of divinity, Yazılıkaya Open Air Shrine was especially used for the new year celebrations during spring months. The leading gods and goddesses inscribed, in series, onto rocks best reflect the religious diversity of the Hittites. Since the lands of Anatolia being the passageways between the East and the West were under the control of Hittites, the mythological stories created by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia were first carried to Hittities from Hurrians. And then, Hittites took them further and transported them to the Ancient Greek Civilization.

Hattuşaş on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Hattusas was inscribed to the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1986. Some of the reasons why Hatussas was added to the World Heritage List of UNESCO are as follows:

  1. Hattusas represents a matchless artistic success with its ruins as well as with the Lion’s Gate, the Royal Gate and Yazılıkaya Open Air Shrine,
  2. Hattusas established a strong dominance over Anatolian and Northern Syrian civilizations in the first and second millennia BC,
  3. As a political and religious capital, it displayed a comprehensive appearance with palaces, temples, trade centres and such,
  4. Hattusas was the sole witness of the collapse of the Hittite Civilization and last but not least, this ancient capital has perfectly preserved some groups of structural and architectural artworks such as King’s Palace, temples and some other building foundations.

Furthermore, the cuneiform tablet archives of Hattusas that symbolize the oldest recorded Indo-European language became involved in UNESCO’s Memory of World Register in 2001. And so, Hattusas still enjoys the privilege to be the first, and for now, the last asset placed in both cruical lists of UNESCO.

How to Go?

Hattusas is situated in Boğazkale District of Çorum Province. It is located 87 kilometer to the southwest of Çorum. It is 220 km from Ankara and 215 km from Ankara Esenboğa Airport whereas the distance from Merzifon Airport is 150 km.