Black & White Photos of Trabzon, Turkey

posted in: Black Sea Region 30

In the eastern Black sea region of Turkey, the city of Trabzon stands on the coastline. It is proud of its heritage and historical importance  as a major trading port on the old silk road.

The region also captured the attention of many famous travel writers through history including Marco Polo and Evliya Celebi. They were not the only ones who were in awe of Trabzon because  in 1461, the Ottoman ruler Fatih Sultan Mehmet stormed in and conquered the region for himself.

My stay in the city lasted three days. During this time, I explored the sites to see, did a lot of people watching and also listened as the “Days of the Russians” era was proudly explained to me.

At the turn of the last century, a war between the Ottoman empire and Russians resulted in the capture of the city. They had a short period of rule before the Russian revolution in 1917 forced them to withdraw.

However it was until the end of the century that the city was to see the golden days. Russia had relaxed the border crossing rules and Russians flocked into Turkey and particularly Trabzon to buy cheap goods and take them back over the border to sell. They were buying in bulk and people could not keep up with the demand for simple things like chocolate.

The locals called it “suitcase tourism”  and enjoyed the wealth that came with it, until the Russian government realised what was happening and tightened regulations.

These days it is hard to spot any Russians. Most foreigners I saw were Islamic tourists and the women covered themselves from head to toe in black. Maybe this explained why I could not find anywhere in the city centre that served beer and I had also unknowingly booked myself into a no-alcohol hotel.

Photos of Trabzon in Northeast Turkey

The City Centre

There is certainly no shortage of photo opportunities in the city centre which is easy to navigate. For the first time, I did not get lost and was very confident at getting around.

I remember sitting on a park bench admiring Trabzon for the lack of hassle from vendors or street sellers. Right at that moment, four young lads launched into a sales patter about why I should pay one lira to weigh myself on their scales.  I laughed and moved on.

Trabzon city in Turkey
A street in the city centre
Evil eye
Evil eye hanging from a hotel balcony
Restaurant in Trabzon
Local restaurant sign
Statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

The Coastline

Trabzon  airport is directly on the coastal line.  I had caught an internal flight from the west coast and as the plane began its descent,  I seriously wondered if we were going to land in the sea.

Apart from that slight paranoia trip, I enjoyed spending time on the coastline. It is where all the locals hang out in tea gardens and it is also a great place to people watch. The local fishermen spend lazy days sitting there and the restaurants are a favourite for anyone that wants to eat fish.

Fisherman of Trabzon
A local fisherman
Balloons on the coastline
These balloons were target practise for youngsters
Boat in Trabzon
An empty boat floating
Fishermen in trabzon
Harbour at Trabzon
Harbour at Trabzon
Young boy of Trabzon
Young Boy
Trabzon Photo
One of the coastal restaurants
Trabzon harbour
Boats docked in
Photo of Trabzon Turkey
Tea garden

Things to do in Trabzon

One of the main reasons to stay in Trabzon is to visit Sumela Monastery which is in the neighbouring town of Macka. The monastery was built into the side of a cliff face and it is quite unbelievable that it has not all come tumbling down.

Photo of Trabzon
Sumela Monastery
Sumela Monastery from the inside
Sumela Monastery from the inside

Don’t forget to visit the House of Ataturk which stands on a hill overlooking the city

House of Ataturk
The House of Ataturk

Also on the agenda should be the Hagia Sophia Museum and clock tower

Clock tower of aya sofya in Trabzon
The clock tower of Aya Sofya

Throughout Trabzon, there are many travel agents selling day time trips to Uzungol. It is a mistake to visit the lake just for the day as it is a long drive and there is also so much of this beautiful area to explore. Instead pack your bags and stay in a traditional Uzungol hotel for the night.


Readers Question : Which photo is your favourite?

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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.

30 Responses

  1. Nat

    It is not the best season to go but still doable – just wrap up warm!

  2. zof

    Hi Natalie. I love the photos. I’m thinking of visiting Trabzon in late November this year. Do you think is a good season to go? Will the weather let me go and see Uzungol? I’d be happy to hear your opinion.

  3. Nat

    Hi Piken, I stopped in Trabzon city centre for the hotel. Can not remember the name but it was central. Re Mardin, I would visit either May to June or October to November. At other times, it will be too hot or cold. It is safe to go alone but make sure you book a hotel in the old city and not the new.

  4. Piken

    Hi Natalie. I stumbled into your blog and what a treasure. Your photos are beautiful and the information that you gave really inspired me to travel more outside Istanbul.

    I have booked a trip to Trabzon just to visit the Sumela Monastery end of April and is now planning on where to stay. Do you have recommendations? Also, I was considering Mardin – when is the best time to visit and is it safe to go alone?

  5. Great photos. I love some of the effects. Fav would have to be “Sumela Monastery”.

  6. I noticed that as well tim. Plane tickets seemed to be expensive from the other airports. Very strange!

  7. Tim Brush

    We enjoyed our time in the Trabzon area a couple years ago–visited most of the places you mentioned, which were great–we would not have spent any time there except that plane tickets were much cheaper from Trabzon than from Erzurum or Kars, but we are glad it worked out that way.

  8. Thanks turtle. Trabzon is a great place for anyone interested in photography, amateur or professional

  9. Turtle

    Absolutely stunning photos! I love the detail in the reflections. So beautiful!!

  10. Definitely visit it Ayse. You won’t regret it!

  11. I just wanted to tell you that these photos are spectacular, whatever edits youve done to them have worked really well.. I really want to visit this region of turkey as i have spent my summers and living time in turkey in Bodrum, Istanbul and the capital. I will definitely be checking it out… beer or no beer!

  12. It is an amazing part of Turkey Ali and sad that it is neglected by mainstream tourism.

  13. Ali

    Sometimes black and white makes photos just that much more amazing. These are really great Natalie! Looks like such a nice part of Turkey to explore!

  14. That is one of my favourites as well Jennifer. Thanks for reading. Happy new year to you

  15. Definitely put Trabzon on your list Deb – You won’t regret it

  16. Great photos! My favorite is the empty boat floating.

  17. Deb

    Beautiful black and white shots. I’ve seen photos of that Monastery before but didn’t know where it was from. Now I do and totally want to go there in the future. Definitely adding Trabzon to the list of must sees in Turkey.

  18. Well then you have to come back!

  19. Uzungol is one of my favourite as well Jan

  20. You keep reminding me about all the places we didn’t get to visit!

  21. I like the Uzungol photo best!

  22. Thanks Cheryl, I have a fascination with black and white photos and they seem to end up everywhere!

  23. You too NT – Hope 2013 is a good one for you

  24. Definitely go as soon as you can Ellen – it is a great place

  25. You too Sharyn, thanks for being a reader throughout 2012

  26. Cheryl

    Wow, pretty photos. Love the black and white perspective!

  27. Black-and-white HDR: 1st time I see it. Gorgeous shots 🙂

    Happy 2013, by the way!

    – Maria Alexandra

  28. Ellen

    Wow, Uzongol looks absolutely stunning! And that Sumela Monestary is amazing. So much to see there. I really must go as soon as the weather warms up.

    My favorite of these photos: Ataturk House. What a magical shot!

  29. sharyn minehan

    and a very happy New Year to you and your

  30. sharyn minehan

    love the photos Nat..