In the heart of Turkey's picturesque tea-growing area, Rize is a modern city centred on an attractive main square. The verdant slopes above town look almost southeast Asian, and are lavishly planted with çay, which is dried, blended and shipped throughout Turkey. Rizeans are equally proud of local-boy-turned-prime-minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who grew up here and now has a university named after him.
The main square, with its inevitable Atatürk monument, beautifully reconstructed PTT and the Şeyh Camii (Sheik Mosque), is 200m inland from the coastal road. Principal thoroughfares Cumhuriyet Caddesi and Atatürk Caddesi run east from the square and parallel with the coast.