The Ottoman Stone Bridges of Firtina River

posted in: Black Sea Region 11

In the Rize province of Turkey, sits the Firtina valley. The whole landscape is filled with greenery and when compared to city life like Istanbul or beach resorts of the Aegean; it is easy to image the region as existing in a different country. Hotels in the area are traditional Black sea and locals still adhere to rural life and customs.

Firtina river Camlihemsin

The focal point of the region is the river that runs through it. Formed by a number of streams that run down the Kackar Mountains, it stretches for 57 kilometres; and the fast flowing water has made it ideal for sports such as white water rafting, and canoeing, but I wasn’t there for that.

I was more interested in seeking out the stone bridges. Boring you might say, but these are not just any normal stone bridges!

What is so special about the bridges?

Ottoman stone bridge in the Firtina valley

Roughly 20 stone bridges sit over various points of the river and they all date from the Ottoman period, with a few that were built pre 18th century. Local stone masons who built them, were experts at their job because the preservation is remarkable.

Firtina River

They were typically built with high arches because the Firtina River did and still does overflows but when I spotted one, I could only stand in awe at what man had achieved when everything was done by hand with no machinery. Remember, this is a fast flowing river!

Taskemer Köprü in Çamlihemsin

Taskemer bridge Firtina Vadesi

Despite my enthusiasm, while I was walking along Taskemer Bridge, I could not help but feel this would be the day it collapsed! As much as I believed in the perfect workmanship of the Ottoman era, the age factor of the bridge kept popping up in my mind.

The walk over the arch was strenuous on the muscles at the top of my legs and standing in the middle of the bridge, overlooking the fast flowing river, I confirmed that if the bridge did indeed collapse, that would be lights out for me!

I walked on the bridge, but I ran off it instead!

If you visit the Firtina Valley area, be sure to keep an eye out for the Ottoman stone bridges!

Ottoman bridge over firtina valley



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Hi. I'm Natalie, a freelance travel blogger and writer specializing in the country of Turkey. I love hot summer days, historical sites and coffee.

11 Responses

  1. Mandy

    Very interesting read. I loved the Rize area of Turkey and wish I’d known about this area.

  2. Never heard of it Cheryl but if it looks like this place, it must be beautiful

  3. Gorgeous! I’d love to visit there … reminds me of Stari Most in Mostar.

  4. Nat

    Suppose that is the cost of having them restored Pat. Better than them disappearing altogether!

  5. Nat

    The bridges are so simple yet deserve a lot of admiration

  6. Alan

    . . as you know, not long back from this river and hunting your ‘Blue slugs’ – these graceful bridges were a delight for each of us too. Your photos are great!

  7. Most of the bridges have now been ‘restored” so they will certainly live on although perhaps not in quite such a picturesque state. I loved them too but preferred them when they blended into the landscape more.

  8. Amazing considering they were made with no machines!

  9. They are remarkable but can’t help but wonder how much longer they will last!

  10. Those bridges are amazing!! Would be fun to see in person.

  11. I love old bridges, these are remarkable specimens.