Eastern KaradenizTurkish: Doğu Karadeniz), home to a local culture as rich as its biodiversity. Forming the easternmost third of the Turkish Black Sea coast, the region may feel remote, but is in fact efficiently accessible.
Aydervillage up in the lush Kaçkar Mountains/Pontic Alps
Giresuncity with a well-preserved citadel, an old town, and a lively nightlife; starting point for trips to the only Turkish island in the Black Sea
Rizecentre of the country's tea-growing region. Not a real tourist attraction, but a good base for exploring the northeast.
Tonyatown up in the mountains known for its dairy products and the "wild west" reputation
Torula hill town inland near to Zigana Pass
Trabzonbiggest city and hub of the region
Eastern Karadeniz is the part of the region which Turks mostly think of when they hear Karadeniz, i.e. Black Sea. It includes the Artvin, Giresun, Gümüşhane, Rize, and Trabzon provinces.
PeopleAlthough all locals are colloquially, incorrectly, and somewhat derogatorily called "Laz" collectively by the Turks from elsewhere, Eastern Karadeniz, though overwhelmingly ethnically Turkish, has indeed a rich blend of ethnic make-up despite its relatively small size, like a microcosm of much larger multi-national former Ottoman Empire. In addition to the majority Turks, a number of towns east, west, and south of Trabzon are inhabited by Muslim Turks with a Pontic Greek background, though calling them "Greeks" outright may offend some of them (Muslim Greeks use the terms Rum or Romioi, meaning "Roman" or "Byzantine", to indicate their identity. Recent research has shown they are, however, very proud of their language and are happy to use it to converse with (Greek) tourists. Pontic Greek speakers live mostly in the districts of Çaykara, Sürmene, Tonya and İkizdere. The Hemşin people, Muslimized brethren of Armenia, are present in the region, too, living in inland valleys south of Rize (however, at present most of the Hemshin people in Rize do not speak Armenian and do not regard themselves as Armenians). Around Hopa there is also a community of Hemşin who do speak Armenian and who, in recent times, have started teaching the Armenian alphabet to their children. Then there are the actual Laz people, distant cousins of Georgians, living in coastal towns east of Rize up to the Georgian border. A number of inland villages in the east corner of the region, just south of Turkish-Georgian border (mainly in Macahel valley) are inhabited by Muslim Georgians, who chose to stay within borders of predominantly-Muslim Turkey rather than then-Soviet Georgia in a referandum in early 1920s. Most ethnic Turks in the central and eastern Karadeniz region belong to the Çepni boyu (clan), which is a distinct group from Anatolian Turks. The Çepni initially had their own states, which they established in the western Karadeniz region in former Pontic Greek cities after the battle of Manzikert, but eventually became part of the Ottoman Empire. Çepni culture thus has more influences by Pontic Greek, Caucasian and Persian culture, somewhat like that of the Azeri Turks.
- Trabzon is the site of the most important regional airport with numerous daily domestic connections, although few flights are available from airports other than those of Istanbul and Ankara. Or-gi, built on an artificial island roughly mid-way between Ordu and Giresun (and bearing the name of those two cities) is another regional airport. Batumi Airport in neighbouring Georgia is also listed by Turkish Airlines as a domestic destination for the towns on the Turkish side of the border—travellers ticketed for the Turkish border towns are then taken by a bus across the border back into Turkey, without going through the customs and passport control.
- Trabzon, and Rize to a lesser degree, are served by frequent buses from rest of the country, especially big cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, as well as from Batumi. However, as the region lies at the far northeastern corner of the country, distances are huge and bus ride from, for example, Istanbul can easily take a full day and night.
- There are also some ferries from the Russian Black Sea Coast to Trabzon.
The highway D010, which was recently upgraded to motorway standards, closely follows the coastline—sometimes too closely that it replaces the coastline as the motorway was built at cost of almost all of region's beaches, and forms the main backbone of transportation in the region from one end to another.
Kuştul Monasteryaddress: Trabzon Province
Kaymaklı Monasteryaddress: Hizmet Cd., Trabzon suburb?
Vazelon Monasteryaddress: Maçka district, Trabzon ProvinceFounded in 270 AD. Now, ruined and abandoned
Kızlar Monasteryaddress: Desen Sokak and Mht. Coşkun Karaağaçlı Cd. corner, Boztepe Mh., TrabzonFounded in 1360's. There is a rock church
Pontic Mountainsaddress: Trabzon ProvinceMany trekking, hiking, possibility. Zil Castle, Palovit Waterfall
address: Trabzon Province— stunning monastery hanging on a cliff in the lush Altındere Valley, this ancient Orthodox monastery is well worth a trip to the region only by itself
Zilkaleaddress: Zilkale Village Way (Zilkale Köyü Yolu)— a beautiful ruined Byzantine-era castle, lost in the dense woods of a mountain valley.
Trekking in Kaçkar Mountains National Parkbetween the hamlets and summer meadows (yayla) of the misty and lush Kaçkar Mountains is a popular activity.
Caucasian Bullfighting Festival AreaThe traditional bullfighting festival is known as Kafkasör and takes place on the third week of June every year.
Unlike the rest of the country, the main grain of local cuisine is corn, as wheat cannot stand to grow in the damp climate and rugged territory of the region. Corn flour is cooked into great breads, and muhlama, another local taste which basically consists of corn flour, butter, cheese, and salt.
- Central Karadeniz to west is the extension of the Black Sea coast, yet with fewer mountains and more plains.
- Eastern Anatolia to the south, just over the Pontic Mountains, is high territory with cold weather—even in summer—and is almost a world apart from the coast.
- Travellers heading further east enters Georgia's Black Sea coast via Sarpi border gate.