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Introducing Trabzon

The Black Sea's busiest port, Trabzon mixes cosmopolitan buzz with a somewhat louche, seaside-town feel. Not the Black Sea coast's largest city but certainly its most sophisticated, Trabzon is too caught up in its own whirl of activity to worry about what's happening in far-off İstanbul or Ankara.

Contrasting with the gracious, medieval church (now mosque) of Aya Sofya, and the one-time Byzantine monastery at nearby Sumela, the modern world shines through on Atatürk Alanı, Trabzon's busy main square in the eastern section of the city centre. Indeed, the exotic city Rose Macaulay described in The Towers of Trebizond (1956) is very much a distant memory now.

East of Atatürk Alanı (also known as Meydan Parkı) and down a steep hill is the port. There are cafes and restaurants around Atatürk Alanı and west along Uzun Sokak and Kahramanmaraş Caddesi. West of the centre, past the bazaar, is Ortahisar, a picturesque old neighbourhood straddling a ravine.