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City in northeastern Turkey with 210,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate), situated a wide bay of the Black Sea, backed by the Pontic Mountains. Trabzon lies on small tableland between two deep ravines. It is the capital of the Trabzon Province with 980,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate).
With its modernized port, Trabzon is today a shipping centre exporting foodstuffs, livestock and tobacco. The region around Trabzon produces tobacco, citrus fruit, corn, potatoes and hazelnuts. There is also some exploitation of copper, lead and iron.
Trabzon is connected by road to Georgia (the country) 300 km east, Sivas 400 km southwest and Samsun 450 km west. The airport connects Trabzon to Ankara and Istanbul, and there are boat connections to Georgia.
Trabzon has a wide selection of landmarks from its complex history. The city walls from Byzantine times dominates the centre of the city, with the Ortahisar mosque lying in its centre. The walls culminates in the upper citadel, with the palace of the Grand Comneni (the rulers of the Trebizond Empire). Of the palace little today stands.
Among the many Byzantine churches the best preserved and most remarkable is the church Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia), restored between 1957 and 63.
Of Ottoman monuments, the mosque and mausoleum of Gülbahar Hatun is the finest. Gülbahar was the wife of sultan Bayezid 1 and mother of Selim 1, but born as a princess into the Christian Comnenius dynasty.
South of Trabzon lies Boztepe, an area which has been of great regional importance to religions for millennia. During the Christian period, several imposing monasteries were built. All are now abandoned, but the most famous one, at Sumela, is open for tourism.
Approx. 796 BCE: Founded by colonists from Sinop and Miletus.
4th century: Becomes part of the Pontic kingdom.
1st century CE: Becomes a Roman colony, known as Trapezus, entering a prosperous time.
257: Trapezus is sacked by Goths. It continues to be settled, but as a relatively unimportant sea port.
6th century: Due to its strategic importance close to Armenia, it is rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor.
9th century: Trapezus becomes the capital of Chaldia.
1204: Following the sack of Constantinople by Christian Crusaders, the Byzantine prince Alexius Comnenus forms the Trebizond Empire, with Trebizond (as it is known by now) as the capital. Trebizond became a wealthy city both because of its own products, like silver and black wine, but also from its transit trade to western Iran.
Middle 13th century: Mongol invasion into the Middle East forces the Silk Route to go through Trebizond.
1341: A civil war is fought between the local elite, Genoese and Venetian traders and troops from Constantinople, resulting in great destruction for the city and its institutions.
1461: The Trebizond Empire is conquered by Ottoman troops, and it is annexed into the Ottoman Empire. It is renamed Trabzon. The annexation leads only to smaller degree of decline for the city's economy, as it keeps its regional importance under the new lords.
Around 1900: With the construction of the railway between Ankara and Erzurum, Trabzon loses much of its control over trade between western Iran and the Middle East and Europe.
1916: Is occupied by Russian troops.
1918: With the end of World War 1, Trabzon comes back under Turkish control.
1963: The Black Sea Technical University opens.