Once home to an independent empire, Trabzon has always benefited from its strategic location on
the Black Sea Coast, protected by a formidable wall of mountains. The city was founded by wanderers
from Miletus in the 8th century BC, but when the Fourth Crusade reached and sacked Constantinople
in 1204 AD, the noble family was driven out, and the Comneni’s established their empire here, calling
it Trebizond. This empire survived and prospered from trade with such varied partners as the Selcuks,
Mongols, the Genoese, and Persians until it was replaced in 1461 with the Ottomans, who by then had
conquered large parts of Anatolia.
As the largest port on Eastern Turkey’s Black Sea Coast, Trabzon today serves an interesting role as
go-between for the countries of the Ex-Soviet Union, and for Russia itself. Goods being imported to and
exported from Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Azerbaijan usually make their way through Trabzon at some
point, and it is the also the exit point for the Blue Stream, the world’s deepest underwater oil pipeline.
This modern town of over 200,000 is thoroughly commercial, crowded and intercultural. Trabzon is a
fascinating blend of cultures and lifestyles, and has featured in the stories of such renowned travellers
as Marco Polo and Rose Macaulay, so you’re guaranteed to be in good company.