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We have just arrived back in Australia from a three week tour of Turkey and one of our first happy tasks is to write a recommendation for Mr Mevlut Uysal of Pomegranate Tour. Our tour was superbly organised, nothing went wrong and everything that was supposed to happen did as planned. As we progress...
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Rize is the capital city of the Turkish province with the same name in the eastern part of the Black Sea Region of Turkey, on the Black Sea coast.
The first written mention of Rize is made by Arrianus in a work named Periplo (Ship's Voyage). Dated at 131-132 B.C., the work records how its author, the governor of Cappadocia, made an inspection tour of the Eastern Black Sea territories that were part of his jurisdiction, first visiting the Roman Empire's Eastern Anatolian frontier garrisons before pushing on to the Black Sea coast in the Trabzon (Trebizond) region.
Life in Rize today
The city of Rize itself is a quiet country town on the coast, on a narrow strip of flat land between the mountains and the sea. Today the area is wealthier although there is a marked difference between the lifestyle of the people in the relatively wealthy city of Rize and those in the remote villages where wooden houses perch on the steep mountainside with the rain beating down. The province is known in Turkey for the production of Rize Tea Rize, 1910's, Ottoman era postcard
The city is built around a small bay on the Black Sea coast, on a narrow strip of flat land between the sea and the mountains behind. The coastal strip is being expanded with landfill and the city is growing up the steep hillsides away from the coast. Rize enjoys a mild, extremely wet climate, vulnerable to storms coming off the Black Sea and therefore the surrounding countryside is rich with vegetation and is attracting more and more visitors every year.
Rize is a center for processing and shipping the tea grown in the surrounding area. Tea was introduced in the region in the 1940s and 1950s, changing the region's destiny, which was desperately poor until then. The city has a tea research institute founded in 1958 and tea gardens are the main sight in the town's panoramic view. Tea and kiwifruit plants are even planted in gardens around the town. The secondary activity is fishing.
The nearest airport is in Trabzon.
Rize is a quiet town, a typical Turkish provincial capital with little in the way of night life or entertainment. However the border with Georgia has been open since the early 90's, the Black Sea coast road has been widened and Rize is now wealthier than in previous decades; there are more cars in the streets, higher buildings on the sea front, and some places for young people to go are opening up now. The visitors to the surrounding countryside also contribute to the economy of the town.
Places of interest
Pokut plateau, clouds above the mountains of Rize.
Rize is a province of great natural beauty, sites of particular interest include:
Ayder- A yayla (high meadow) area with hot springs, hotels and restaurants, and from here you can climb up to higher and more remote meadows and villages.
Çamlık- riverside area of forest park
Fırtına Vadisi- the valley is now a protected site of natural beauty
Ovit- mountain pass on the Erzurum road in Ikizdere, 2640 m, forest and mountain viewpoint
The village and waterfall of Palovit, high in the mountains.
Avup Dağı, the mountain between Rize and ÇamlıhemÅŸin, between Fırtına Deresı and Ortaköy Deresi. There are four Byzantine castles perched high on rocks on the mountainside including;
Kale-i Balâ and Zilkale
Other buildings of note include:
The watch tower, Kız Kalesi on the sea front in Pazar.
Traditional cuisine in the city quite rich and the anchovy forms the basic for many of the dishes peculiar to the region. Soups, salads, pilafs and even desserts are made of anchovy. Some of the local dishes are hamsi buÄŸulama (boiled anchovy), hamsi stew, and kamsi köfte (anchovy meatballs). Lahana çorbası (cabbage soup), muhlama (made of cheese, cornmeal and butter) and pides (pita bread topped with various fillings) are also other local delicacies)
Folk dances and traditional costumes
Folk dancers perform horon energetically when it is acoompanied by kemenche. However this folk dance can also be accompanied by tulum or kaval. Folk dancers wear traditional costumes while performing horon. Men wear shirt, vest, jacket, zipka (pants made of wool and gathered at knees) and black boots. On their jackets are silver embroideries, amulets hemayils with religion expressions put inside these small silver containers to br protected against evil's eye. On the other hand, women dancers wear colorful dresses and traditional hand painted head scarves including various motifs.
Rize offers a rich variety of traditional handicrafts and handmade souvenirs to visitors. Some of them. Copper works, wicker baskets, churn socks, shoulder bag, spoon made of boxwood
How to go to Rize or Black sea ?
You may reach Rize by bus from Ankara or Istanbul or by Air.