Trabzon, a gem on the black sea

Sunday July 7 2019


By Nafha Maani Ebrahimi

Currently in the city of Trabzon, by the shores of the Black Sea north east of Turkey. I visit for the first time.

As in most Turkish cities that have become a second home for the Arab tourists of the Gulf region, Trabzon has its full share of this boost of economy, especially during the summer when people escape the sizzling sun of the Arabian desert, seeking refuge in this mountainous region with great views.

Direct flights from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other cities, help scores of visitors to avoid the Istanbul transit time, arriving directly to their destination.

I have travelled to Turkey many times over the last four decades, and though a lot has changed in terms of infrastructure, roads , and generally great advancements, one thing remains the same: difficulty in communication with the locals. It’s seldom to find people who speak English, so seeing signage, instructions and brochures in Arabic is a great help.

However, this comes at a price, because tourists from Arab regions are assumed to be wealthy, and of course have the mighty dollar to spend.
We have not yet toured many places, but while searching , we were advised to avoid concentration areas of tourists because of the same reason, the inflated hotel and car rental rates.

I remember a few years ago we were visiting another city, which was bursting with both foreign and local visitors, we were passing by a lane of restaurants on the beach front, the staff were inviting tourists to enter their restaurants. Looking similar to Turks, we were always thought to be locals, so no one was aggressively inviting us in, and when we sat, we were given a Turkish menu. And one day when we checked, the prices were cheaper for locals.


While a city like Istanbul remains timeless and the favourite destination for many, other cities seem to take turns in attracting tourists from the Gulf region. An example is the cities of Bursa and Bodrum, that have somehow lost their glow to new destinations such as Trabzon.

Trabzon’s most famous land mark is its Hagia Sophia, much smaller than its namesake in Istanbul,
it also used to be a church and a hospital in the 13th century, but was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire.

Every effort was made to hide its church characteristics. It is a beautiful place to visit among many more to discover.