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The Eastern Black Sea & Eastern Turkey

In a valley of bright and wild green, a towering monastery hangs on the side of a mountain.  On top a mountain plateau are groups of wooden summer houses, a colorful group of village women dance to the call of a bagpipe, or gayda.  The deep blue green waves wash slowly onto white-stoned empty beach.  And there is much more: Isolated villages on the shores of a mountain lake, beautiful frescoes in old abandoned Greek churches, the most visible buildings of Trabzon are its mosques, minarets, and history-filled cobblestone streets.  These are only a few examples of what can be found and experienced in Turkey's Black Sea region, a territory full of lush green rain forests, snow-topped mountains, and almost a thousand miles of rough coastline.

With Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts crowded with tourists and the popular eastern region specializing in package tours, the Black Sea may be the last and best surprise this fascinating country has to provide.

This doesn't mean that the entire coastline is still one big secret. Though the famous Sumela monastery near Maçka and the Aya Sofya museum in Trabzon may often be overcrowded many secrets remain in the villages.  The best secrets are still hidden among the many country roads and valleys with their fast-moving mountain streams and small villages.  It is here that old ruins of the Pontic Greeks and splendid hospitality of the mountain people surprise the visitor, and since so few know or go to these places this makes the Black sea region truly different from the rest of Turkey.

Either near the coast or up in the mountains or plateaus, called yaylas, it would be impossible to see all of this regions interests.  But that's where THALASSA TOURS comes in to help you.  We can provide the way for you to see these sights.  For those interested in ancient art there are wonderful Byzantine frescoes: Aya Sofya's Christ the Pantocrater looking down from the dome, or a furious devil hidden behind a bunch of grass in the former Kaymaklı Monastery.  For the mountain climber, there is the elusive peak of Kaçkar, rising to 3971 meters.  The hiking lover will find a huge number of routes through endless mountains meadows and forests of evergreen trees, çam ağacı, in Çamlihemşin and  Uzungöl.  Those who love to fish will want to look for trout in the crystal streams of Barhal or for grey mullet in the empty areas of the of the Çarşamba wetlands.   For those with a passion for exploring forests there are the lost and forgotten medieval Georgian churches of Artvin, or the cave monastery of the Virgin Mary standing in perfect quiet outside Şebinkarahisar.

It is also a land of opposites.  The overflowing green of the tea fields on the coast and forests is the exact opposite of the earthy brown colors  of the Anatolian plateau beyond the Pontic moountains.  A traditional woman of Trabzon, her face surrounded by the red, black, and bright yellow of her  scarf, eşarp, works on the same type of land as the unscarved Laz women who instead wear straw hats in their tea fields near Hopa.  The bagpipe ( gayda )- playing Hemşin people, and mountain people are nearly opposite the conservative Greek-speaking imams of Çaykara and Of. 

All that is read here is only a piece of the wonders of the Black Sea region.  Much more remains to be discovered by the curious traveler.  Unlike many parts of Turkey today this not well-known land is a traveler's paradise!

THALASSA TOURS is a company that can take you to any of the places which you request to see in your stay in the Black Sea Region.  Even homestays have been arranged by us.  Living with a Turkish family is the perfect way to get deeper into the culture in a way in which you would normally not be able.   

Come try us and see wh at the Black Sea has to offer!



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