Is Trabzon a Turkish City Of Love?

I spent three days in Trabzon and as a solo female traveller, I felt safe. The city was easy to navigate and the locals were very friendly. Mention Trabzon throughout the rest of Turkey, and most people will associate it with its football club, Trabzon Spor. The city has a lot more to offer though, then just being a football hub.

About Trabzon, a city in Turkey

Trabzon city in Turkey

A street in the city centre

Due to it’s location on the old silk road, Trabzon has been influenced by many cultures and religions. If we measure the size of the city on population, it is relatively small. The population count makes it the 30th largest city in Turkey.

The main claim to fame for Trabzon is as the birthplace of the Ottoman ruler, Suleiman the magnificent. This connection ensured that it was an important city during the long reign of the Ottoman rulers. It is also mentioned extensively in the journals of Evliya Çelebi who was a 17th century traveller.

Trabzon is  a coastal city so the cuisine is mainly based on fish dishes. Although it has moved with the times, and in the city square a Burger King restaurant was extremely busy. Eating out is relatively cheap, although alcohol is not widely served and I ended up with a black bag of Efes beer which I then had to drink in my hotel room.

The transport connections with other places in Turkey are good. There are frequent buses from all major cities but I opted for an internal flight from the west coast because the bus journey would have taken 24 hours.

My Impressions of Trabzon

As well as touring the main sites, I opted to spend time down by the sea front because that is where the locals seemed to head. Tea gardens and small restaurants specialising in fish dishes are the main theme. I was surprised by the amount of graffiti that I saw because this is not common in Turkey.

It all seemed to be declarations from the heart though and it made me wonder if Trabzon is a city riding high on the love vibe. It started when I took a walk down the main street and there seemed to be more than your average amount of wedding shops. Then couples started appearing everywhere. They were sitting, walking, talking, laughing and kissing.


I felt like a spare part.

The odd one out.

I was like the person who turned up to the dance without a date.

Trabzon Turkey

I walked further away from the couples and found a solitary place.

Then I started reading the graffiti.

Even wannabe artists with a spray can had not escaped the love bug.

“I love you” in Turkish is “Seni Seviyorum‘ . The words were everywhere, accompanied with the arrow of cupid and love hearts.

Seni Seviyorum

“I love you Sibel”




Vildan and Davut are obviously a couple

Vildan and Davut are obviously a couple


Kubra and Baris

Has Baris got the hots for Kubra?

Love you

Sen = You

Back in my hotel room, I wondered if it was my imagination. I was apart from my husband and missing him. Subconscious thoughts could have been making me focus on other couples, the graffiti and the love bug, more than I normally would.

Then, I opened the window and the first thing I saw confirmed it was not my imagination. Even the local sex shop  was using the L word.

Trabzon love shop

Attractions of Trabzon

Don’t let the graffiti put you off if you plan to visit because there is lots of attractions in Trabzon. The three most popular are…

On the outskirts,  is Sumela monastery which is perched on the edge of a cliff face. Most people visit Trabzon especially to see this attraction. You can read more about that here.

Sumela monastery Trabzon

There is also a Hagia Sophia which is a lot smaller than it’s counterpart in Istanbul but it is still worth a visit. Formally a mosque and church, it is now a museum  but try to avoid the coachloads of people that often turn up because the interior is quite small. Read more.

Hagia Sophia Trabzon

Perched on a hilltop with a view over Trabzon is Ataturk’s house. Ataturk was the founder of the Turkish republic and  was given this house as a thank you. Read more

House of Ataturk in Trabzon

Day trips also run to the nearby natural beauty of Uzungol, although it is a long journey which does not leave you time to explore. If you can, opt to stay overnight instead.


Further Reading about Trabzon, Turkey

An Early Morning Tour of Trabzon – Kate Going Global

Where to Eat Pide in Trabzon – Turkish Muse

Black and White pictures of Trabzon – This site

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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. Chris says

    Haha a sex shop! Somehow I don’t think there is a sex shop in Elazig!
    It sounds lovely, Natalie. Very romantic and I’m a sucker for that. We all need a bit of romance in our lives.

  2. Noor says

    Thank you natalie..i am new to your blog and have to admit that i like the way you write ur articles about turkey..i have been to different cities there like istanbul (4 times), Antalya, Marmaris, and budrom..i loved them all and love the turkish culture as well..i will be visiting other places in the future and your articles are giving me hints where to go..thank u :)

  3. says

    Trabzon is a cool place to spend some days. We just spent there a week to have a break from our fast pace on the trip and had really great time. Seems to be similar to Izmir in some ways!

    • says

      It was nice to visit there although the hotel I stayed in had no alcohol so I had to source via other means! I left a comment on your article about Kalkan Ozlem but I think it must have ended up in the spam bin instead as it did not seem to get published.
      Natalie wrote about..A Panoramic View of Rize from Çaykur Tea Garden

  4. says

    Sure does look like a city of love! Better to see graffiti declaring love than for more negative messages.
    Ali wrote about..My Top Sunset Photos

  5. braveheartts says

    my beatiful city:) i live in trabzon since birth…i am english not good:( but very different from other cities..hope to see you

  6. says

    Maybe the Black Sea location makes it a popular place for a romantic getaway? Hmm! If even the local sex shop is using the ‘L’ word, I think you’re on to a winning theory, Natalie.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom wrote about..Jeju Lava Tubes, Or Sign Karma

  7. says

    I must have been blind not to notice any of this when I visited a month or so ago. But then, I spent more time around Trabzon, in Rize, Sümela and beyond and was dog tired when I returned in the evening just to sleep in my hotel.
    inka wrote about..Air travel nostalgia in Selcuk/Turkey

  8. says

    Your observations of such a small part of local life are great. There’s something about seawalls that inspires the graffiti artist lovers, I remember a lot of tagging like that in Essaouira, Morocco.
    Lauren, Ephemerratic wrote about..The greatest fool in Peru

  9. niyazi says

    Thank you Natalie for that lovely post. I had my best ever vacation in the Kackar Mountains near Trabzon, a must have for nature/tracking lovers. I remembered that vacation while reading your post, it was when my wife was 6 months pregnant and we were were climbing to 3500 meters :)

    About the graffities, it is nice to see “seni seviyorum” thing in a dock wall, but sad to see in a 600 y.o. frescoe right in the middle of the face of virgin marry :( loves..

      • niyazi says

        Those vandal bullies especially target the eyes unfortunatelly, because the eyes gives the real impression of the feeling in a piece of art. I guess those ignorent and untutored poor and silly guys are also afraid of the looks of the statues, frescoes and paintings as well, therefore any unprotected piece of art can be harmed easyly in turkey. this is total ignorance :( fear rises from ignorance, violance rises from fear. I am ashamed.

        • says

          I think most of it happened in the last centuries Niyazi. I like to think that now people are being educated as to the damage they are doing but with some frescoes it is too late to turn back the clock.
          Natalie wrote about..The Telkari Master of Beypazari

  10. golden hills says

    Hagia Sophia in Trabzon is now a mosque again. I was there in April 2015. Mosaics and the floor are covered, you can still get a peak at some, but it is definitely not a museum. That also means be careful NOT to go during prayer times unless you are a Muslim seeking to pray.

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