Living Pontic Greeks And Roots 5 Day Tour
This ancient part of Turkey welcomes you to explore the history of the region that dates back to the ancient Greek period. Originally called ‘Trebizond’ by the Greek colonists that came from other regions and founded the city, however, it has seen many different cultures come and go. Today two culture live side by side, the main people are the Turkish who are descendants of the Ottomans who made this region their home. The other people are the Pontics, these are a smaller population of traditional Greek people whose heritage has survived.
Welcome to Trabzon! Your tour will begin from pick up at Trabzon airport. Today you will begin your time exploring this beautiful and fascinating region in Trabzon city.
Your day will be filled visiting different highlights from different cultures and histories dating back from the Ancient Greeks to Ottomans and other key points between. This region of Turkish is famous not only ancient icons but more recent Turkish links as well. You will visit the creator of the modern Turkey holiday destination, Ataturk Pavilion which was preserved to celebrate his accomplishments and the way of life during this period. During the Ottoman period, the churches of other religions were converted to mosques and new ones were built to allow the population to pray with extra space as the city grew. During your time here you will visit the Mother of Yavuz Sultan Mosque, Iskender Pasa Mosque, and Fatih Mosque. Some of the original places of worship survived conversion with new cultures one of these was the Kaymakli monastery. Now standing in ruins it was once an Armenian national church, gaining its name after serving a meal for an Ottoman Sultan that consisted of only dairy products.
Ayasofya is the sister building to the one in Istanbul, once a church it was converted into a mosque when the city was conquered by Ottomans as was the tradition at the time. While it was a mosque it is now one of the cities museums that actively show the history of Trabzon along with Trabzon City Museum. Some of the history that was made here affected the whole of the Ottoman Empire and was known worldwide, you will visit the birthplace of the Empires most famous sultan. Sultan Suleyman was known as the lawgiver in Islamic countries for creating laws that balance life and religion, in the western world his successes earned him the name Suleyman the Magnificent.
In Trabzon some of the historic places are still in use today, one of these is the local clothing and historic woman bazaar. Here you can see family still selling handmade items as they would have done in the past, however, in the past, it would have been for women only to allow them to buy new clothing without needing to hide. The Zagnos Pasa bridge is a historic monument which was commission by the son-in-law of the Sultan Mehmet, today it is still maintained with modern materials but keep the original style of the bridge for prosperity.
Stay Overnight in Trabzon.
Today you will be adventuring in the remains of monasteries, you will also get a chance to visit a unique living ancient Greek village.
In the Trabzon region, you will notice mountains everywhere, some towering high above and some part of a chain connecting to others in the distance. As you travel you will cross through this regions however one of the most interesting is the Zigana Pass, located in the Pontic mountains. The mountains here are named after a group of Greeks that are descendants from the original colonists. While here you will visit Gumushane Suleymaniye Mahallesi, a native Pontic Village. The Pontic People are a Traditionally Greek culture that lives in Turkey, they have maintained their own culture which includes a variation of Greek with some of the ancient influences left. They also still play instruments that came from their past giving their weddings and celebrations a different style to their Turkish neighbours. Although the numbers that once lived here have reduced since the population exchange many of the children or families of the peoples who lived here still come here to visit and learn about their history from those who decided to stay. While in the area you will visit ‘Torul Cam Teras’ and ‘Sutlacin memleketi Hamsikoy’ where you will visit one of the local houses and be treated to local traditional food.
Another of the beautiful monasteries you will visit is Imera Monastery, located in the Pontic village is over 650 years old and has survived the different cultures to come and go thanks to it being safeguarded for its architectural technique.
You will stay overnight in Trabzon.
Today you will be heading outside of Trabzon to visit some amazing historical icons and see some beautiful places in an area called Uzungol of Ayder.
Visiting the Santa Ruins, once part of the Pontic villages they region has been left following population exchange and the closure of the mine in the region. The ruins were left to protect their history with a mining town growing separate, the people who live here now specialise in agriculture with families of those mining stayed with their people and moved to other places to continue their work in mining. The villages that make the greater town can be seen from high in the hills with some of the sitting with their own spectacular views on the slopes.
The Uzungol region is famous across Turkey for its magnificent tea, while here you will be taken to the vast fields where you can see the process that makes Turkish cay so popular. You will visit the cay (or tea) gardens and then make your way into the factory. Handcrafted goods is a speciality of the region, this includes metalwork. Blades of all types are used by those who live and work in the mountains, from blades to cut tea leaves or crops to needing knives for meat. In the region, one of the popular places to come is the Surmen Knife shop, where blades of different types and ways of making them can be seen.
During your time in the Uzungol region of Ayder, you will visit the beautiful flat lands named after Sultan Murat. Here the eyes a blessed with kilometres of landscape broken only by the occasional buildings and small groves of trees.
Overnight in Ayder, enjoy another city nighttime atmosphere in Northen Turkey.
Today you will enjoy another day exploring the beauty and history of this varied land.
Rize Castle is a medieval castle in the city of Rize. While in partial ruin the castle has survived enough to show the history and offer its grandTL. Built during the Byzantine Era, commonly thought to have been commissioned by Emperor Justinian I. The castle itself is split between two parts with a citadel included, parts of the walls were restored to allow visitors to view them as the once stood. Located southwest of the city it overlooks the city which would have made it a perfect place for the warning as well as defence due to its overhanging supporting towers, however, they have no uniformed shapes with some round, some being round, square or even rectangular. The region of Turkey is popular with speciality items, Rize has its own places to visit. While here you will take some time to visit the historic Rize woven cloth workshop, where different items are woven out of locally sourced material.
Time for fun comes today, where you will be able to enjoy ziplining in this mountainous region. Enjoy time gliding across Rivers where you get to see the world as only seen from bridges. Firtina Deresi is a valley system with fast flowing waters and beautiful scenery that is made better by taking a zip line across the river.
Where natural mountains are found often open flatlands and plateaus can be found. You will head to a quiet region known as Turkey’s smallest county near Ayder, with spectacular views and unforgettable flatlands that seem to be from a story.
Overnight in Ayder
Today you will explore further into the northern part of Turkey, visiting small villages and taking in views you will never forget.
Senyuvam Village is a traditional Turkish village with wonderful architecture with minimal human control over nature around. One of the bridges to enter the town is unique in its structure but is still regularly used, with a high arch allowing for access from the considerably higher side to the houses on the lower.
Here in this natural landscape an ancient castle can be found, hidden in the mountains you make your way up a road that leads to Zilkale, or Bell Castle in English. This amazing historic build is iconic to the region and consisted of a full defensive layout. Thought to have been built around 14th-15th century it had 3 sets of walls; outer walls, inner walls and the inner castle. Within the walls, it is thought to have had a garrison and a chapel along with the rooms within the castle. Along with the castles build the height it is built at offers amazing panoramic views all around, also giving an idea of how hard enemies would have had to work to take the castle.
You will visit a breathtaking natural destination of the region’s largest waterfall is known as ‘Palovit Selalesi’. A walkway allows you to make your way to this waterfall that is tucked into the forest, the water flows from between the trees as if it flows straight from the wood.
Your tour will come to an end with drop off at Trabzon airport. If you have further queries about travel in Turkey please do not hesitate to contact us.
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STANDARD: Standard style accommodation in Turkey is your where
you will find basic style guesthouses and/or hostels that have a variety of
private rooms and some dorm rooms. The rooms will be clean but basic with no
extras found within. Most standard style accommodation options would be 1-2
Type of accommodations at this range: Guesthouse, Boutique guesthouse, Hostels, 1* and 2* Hotels.
TOP END: Top End style accommodation in Turkey is where you will find 3-5 star equivalent. Here you will get a mix of larger style hotel rooms to smaller boutique places that will have clean, comfortable rooms with a little extra.
Type of accommodations at this range: Boutique Hotels, 3*, 4* and 5* Hotels.
PREMIUM: Premium Luxury accommodation in Turkey is your 5 star and similar hotels. This can include your large chain hotels and you will also find a variety of smaller locally run Luxury Boutique places that are full of charm and worth the extra dollar.
Type of accommodations at this range: Premium Boutique +4* and +5* Hotels.