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City: Trabzon

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Trabzon is one of the major cities of Turkey and the biggest one in the Eastern Black Sea region. Its population is 757,353 (2012) and has an area of 4,664 km2. Due to rainy climateeven in the summer months, it has lots of green forests and mountains with many rivers and highlands. There are major roads connecting Trabzon to other cities, and a big harbor for international shipping traffic in the Black Sea and an international airport.

History of Trabzon

When the Roman Empire was divided into two at the end of the 4th century, Trabzon remained under the sovereignty of the Eastern Roman Empire which later on was called as Byzantine Empire. When relations and wars between the Byzantines and the Arabs started, the Arabs called the people under the Roman Sovereignty as Rum, and the areas under the Roman sovereignty as Diyar-i Rum or Memleket-ul Rum (land of Rums).

Anatolia, as it was under the Roman sovereignty at that time, was mentioned as Diyar-i Rum. Later, since the Turks also accepted to use the word Rum, the Province of Anatolia was called Eyalet-i Rum, theAnatolia Sultan, Sultan-i Rum, and Mevlana of Anatolia as Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi.

The Byzantines gave special importance to Trabzon from the military point of view. During the reign of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century the city walls were thoroughly repaired and enlarged. A road from Trabzon to Persia was opened. Huts for defense were built at bends and effort was given to establish Christianity so that the tribe Can, the dwellers along the road would be obedient. Aqueducts of Saint Eugenius were built.
In the 8th century the Moslem Arab armies entered Anatolia and came down to Trabzon, invading the area around the citadel. They saw hazel nuts for the first time.

In the 9th century the Moslem Turkish armies started coming to the Trabzon area and outer part of the citadel went under the sovereignty of the Moslem Turks. Inside the citadel there were still the Greek colonists. It is in this period that construction of the Saint Ann Church in the Ayvasil district completed.

In the 10th century Islamism outside the citadel speeded up and the Turks around became Moslems. Two of the four routes of the Seljuk raids which began in the 11th century passed through the Eastern Black Sea region and Trabzon was then the native country Moslem Turks.

Canik was one of the eight provinces of the country conquered by the Moslem Turks in Anatolia and the name Turkey was given for the first time in 1081. Its principal city was Trabzon (the name Canik derived from the word Canika, the place where the Can Tribe lived near Macka area in the south of Trabzon) and moved to the west, and the name Samsun as time passed by derived from it. In the second half of the 11th century there were two Trabzon’s: The outer part of the citadel was under the sovereignty of the Danismeds; The inner part of the citadel was under the sovereignty of the Byzantines.

After the fights over the throne started in Byzantium (Istanbul) in the 12th century, the Commenos family was dethroned, young Alexis Commenos escaped to Georgia. He declared his Kingdom in Georgia in 1204 and came to Trabzon by the help of the Christian Georgians. He took the citadel from the Byzantian governor who was at his side and made Trabzon the capital of his Kingdom; the state of Trabzon emerged. As the King was a Christian Anatolian, the state was also called as the Trabzon Rum State. But the people with the intention to capture Anatolia and the ignorant who were deceived by them used the name, Rum Pontusstate.

In the 13th century when the Trabzon state was founded, the Seljuk Turks besieged Trabzon twice and bound them to tax. The King of Trabzon, Alexis Commenos, fortified the citadel and ditches were dug around it. The outer part of the citadel became a large commercial city and was mentioned as “The pupil of whole Asia”.

The palace of the King and official buildings were placed on the high plains of the inner fortress. The commercial life of the country that extended from Batum to Kerempe including Crimea which was in the hands of the Genoese and the Venetians. On the coast of the city there were castles and warehouses.

In the mid-13th century the Trabzon state, being rather small, began to be surrounded by the Cepnis. The Cepnis under the sovereignty of the Sungurlu tribe, from the Ucok subdivision of the Oguz division, who was the son of Kara Han and the grandchild of Turk Han, settled down on the borders of the Trabzon state. While there were Christian Kings in the inner citadel Islam was spreading quickly in the outer citadel. Ahi Evren Dede, an Islamic missionary, was buried in Boztepe after his death in the 14th century.

Meanwhile Trabzon became the center of Europe-Asia trade. But Moslem pirates, coming particularly from Sinop, were raiding the coasts and plundering the city. The King of Trabzon, Alexis Commenos II (1297-1333) who had the Giresun castle built, had constructed walls against the sea which is supposed to be the Moloz District now.

In the beginning of the 15th century Tamerlane invaded Anatolia and captured Trabzon too. But he did not add it to his Empire, he taxed it under the administration of his son Halil Mirza.

In 1411 the Saint Savas Church built in the Boztepe slope was decorated; according to the people the construction of the bell tower and belfry of the Saint Sophia Church was completed in 1427 and the drawing of the pictures on the arches of the entrance door of the Church was terminated in 1444.

A very bad struggle for the throne had started in Trabzon, it was evident that the last years of the Trabzon State had come. As a matter of fact the ruler of the Ottoman Empire Sultan Murat II had attacked Trabzon in 1442 from the sea and returned home taking slaves and taxes. The ambassador of Trabzon was also among those who congratulated Sultan Mehmet (The Conqueror) when he was enthroned in Edirne in 1451.

During the preparation of the conquest of Istanbul in 1452, first the Bogazkesen Castle (Rumeli Hisari) was built in order to put an end to bonds between Trabzon and Istanbul; And after he conquered Istanbul in 1453, he also bound Trabzon to tax for 2000 duke golden coins. When it was not paid he sent Hizir Bey, the tutor of his son Sehzade Beyazid who was the governor in Amasya, over Trabzon in 1456.

Hizir Bey surrendered Trabzon and established his headquarters in the eastern section (now the Municipal building). But since the King of Trabzon declared that he would pay the tax required, he returned. The tax was sent to Istanbul in 1457 and was accepted only if the amount was increased to 3000 duke golden coins.

The King of Trabzon Commenos IV began to search remedies to be saved from this pressure of the Ottomans and tried to bring together all the governments and nations from Caucasia and the coasts of Euphrates(Firat) River to France and Vatican in opposition to the Ottoman State. At the end, by applying the old tradition, he engaged his beautiful girl to Uzun Hasan Bey, the ruler of Akkoyunlu, provided that he should defend Trabzon against the Ottomans. The last King David Commenos who took his place in 1458, first sent his niece to Uzun Hasan Bey so that she could be his wife and requested not to be taxed. Uzun Hasan Bey in return to Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, asked him not to tax Trabzon, and also that he wanted back the debt that remained from his ancestors. The Conqueror by sending back the envoys told that he would personally come and pay his debt. In 1461, he set off to Trabzon.

Uzun Hasan Bey was afraid and begged pardon by sending his mother Sara Hatun to Ercincan, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror said that he would forgive in case no help was rendered to Trabzon, but continued his voyage to Trabzon taking Sara Hatun with him. The army was divided into two in Bayburt. One part went on taking a separate route under the command of the Grand Vizier Mahmut Pasha. The route which the Conqueror followed was very difficult, particularly while crossing the Bulgar mountain. Sara Hatun wanted to take an advantage of this and tried to persuade the Conqueror to give up the voyage. But he did not take her words into consideration and Trabzon was surrounded from land and sea.

The King of Trabzon David Commenos who learned that the Sultan and the Grand Vizier were coming at the head of the army, forgot about Trabzon which in fact was not of his own. He notified that he would give back the citadel if another suitable piece equal to the income of Trabzon was given. He assigned Amirutzes, his chief private secretary, as a representative and the Conqueror made the Grand Vizier Mahmut Pasha his representative. Amirutzes and Mahmut Pasha were cousins. Therefore discussions of surrender concluded immediately and SultanMehmet the Conqueror entered the citadel of Trabzon on Monday, the 26th of October 1461, he closed the phase of the Trabzon State that lasted 250 years in history. The Commander of the Fleet and the Governor of Gelibolu Kazim Bey took over the administration of the city.

Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror first of all changed the Panaghia Krys Krysokephalos church into a mosque and prayed in it. It was called the Ortahisar Mosque; now it is called Fatih Mosque. Later he turned Saint Eugenes church into a mosque and the first Friday Prayer was performed; it was called the Yenicuma Mosque. Since the community of a church in front of Mumhane became Moslems, this church was also turned into a mosque and was called Karabas Mosque. But it was destroyed in 1788.
Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror gave the jewels left over from the Trabzon State to Uzun Hasan Bey’s mother Sara Hatun and sent her to her son. The son of Commenos, the ex-king of Trabzon, settled in the region named Pera in Istanbul and accepted Islam. The people of Istanbul called that place Beyoglu meaning the place where the son of the Trabzon Bey stayed.
The Christian families were taken out of the castle of Trabzon. The riches were sent to Istanbul. Others were settled in the neighboring called Meydani Sarki (Dogu meydani – Belediye meydani), Arafilboyu and Yenicuma. Suleyman the Magnificent came back to Istanbul, and Trabzon became a “Sancak” (outpost) which was later bounded to the Anatolian state.

In 1489 the son of Sultan Beyazid, Sultan Selim Yavuz, became the governor of Trabzon and came to Trabzon with his mother Gulbahar Hatun (Ayse). He himself gathered the intellectuals in Trabzon for his first born child Suleyman the Magnificent in 1494. Then due to the threat of the Shiis developing in Persia, he had city-walls constructed around Trabzon. But he could not convince the political danger of the Persian ruler who was pretending to be a religious ruler to his father and elder brother, the governor of Amasya. In the end he pressed of Shah Ismail’s forces with his troops formed by the citizens of Trabzon. In 1508 he overcame Shah’s big army corps and drove them out of his borders. He was going to go further but returned on demand of the Sultan.

Yavuz Sultan Selim was acting as a monarch and using the emperors rights. He himself attacked Georgia and owing to his heroic acts and successes he was named “Yavuz” (brave). Meanwhile his son Suleyman(Kanuni) was at the age of 15 and took over the governance of Kefe. Yavuz Sultan Selim went to Kefe by the sea with his army formed by the citizens of Trabzon and attacked Caucasia without permission; and not obeying the orders, he wanted to have a governor’s post in Rumeli in order to be near Istanbul. As he couldn’t get what he wanted, he attacked Edirne via Rumeli and was defeated by his father’s (Sultan Beyazid) army and escaped to Crimea. In 1512 Sehzade Ahmet, during his father’s lifetime, was called to Istanbul to become the ruler. But this time janissaries rebelled and he went back. Upon this, Yavuz Sultan Selim was called and became the ruler. Yavuz was interested in sports and science. During his governance he used the area called “Atapark” as a play ground; he shot arrows and organized competitions of bowshots for young Trabzon citizens.

A beautiful mausoleum was built over his mother Ayse (Gulbahar), the daughter of Dulkavidli ruler Aleaddevler, who died in 1505. Haci Kasim Fountain dating 1409 and Seydi Haci Mehmet fountain dating 1500 on Kavak Meydan street survived from the time of Yavuz Sultan Selim’s governance. Hatuniye Mosque which was built for his mother, was completed in 1514. It is one of the greatest master pieces of the Ottomans in Trabzon.

After Yavuz Sultan Selim left in 1522, Iskender Pasha became the governor of Trabzon. In 1514 Erzincan became a state and Trabzon was bounded to it. Iskender pasha became the governor of Trabzon for four times. During his governance he built Iskender Pasha fountain at Belediye Square in 1519, another fountain at Hoca Halil Mahalle, Asagi Hisar in 1523 and a mosque at Belediye Square and a medrese (which isn’t there anymore) in his name in 1529. Iskender Pasha, died in 1533, was buried within the mosque built by him. His tomb can be seen there.

During Kanuni Sultan Suleyman’s reign (1520-1566) the Anatolian state was divided into two; Rumeli (Thrace) and Anatolia. The capital of the new Anatolian state was Trabzon and the subdivisions called Kemah,Bayburt, Malatya, Kahta, Divrigi and Darende were joined to Trabzon. But in 1534 the administrative system changed again; Erzurum became the capital and Trabzon was joined to Erzurum. In 1514 the city-walls of Trabzon were restored by Sirvanzade Mirza Mehmet Bey.

In the middle of the 16th century it is known that the Islamic religion hasn’t penetrated into some regions of Trabzon. A man named Sheik Osman Efendi from Maras, who came by way of Bayburt, reinforced theIslamic religion. His tomb is in Caykara now.

In 1563 Governor of Trabzon Kasim bey (Kasim Celebi) built Pazarkapi Mosque. In 1564 Batum was captured. In 1566 Suleyman the Magnificent died. It was seen that the suit array which was taken off his back was even from a material woven in Trabzon. Suleyman the Magnificent used to wear clothes from Trabzon linen and also made the royals and janissaries wear it.

In 1578 Erdogdu Bey, governor of Trabzon, changed the small mosque by adding a minaret to it at Tekfur Cayi region. Therefore the mosque and the neighboring were named Erdogdu. In 1582 the Trabzon – Batum state, whose capital was Trabzon, was established; and St. Sophia church was changed into a mosque without laying a hand on any of its frescoes.

In the 17th century the Russian Don Cossacks began to plunder the coasts of Black sea. Omer Pasha, the governor of Trabzon then, organized a fleet of boats named ‘menkisle’ with 5 crew each and stopped these attacks.
Meanwhile riots in Anatolia had begun. One of the notables of Celali and Akkoyunlu Turkmenians, Ali Pasha from Murathan, became the governor of Trabzon. In 1608 while Celalis were being despoiled, Murat Pasha was called to Bayburt and killed there.

In 1732, a famous traveler and writer Katip Celebi (Haci Halife)’s book titled “Cihannuma” was published. There is some information about Trabzon in this book. In 1640 Evliya Celebi came to Trabzon and gave a great deal of information about the city in his book titled “Seyahatname”. He describes the citizens of Trabzon as cleanly dressed, educated people fond of good talkers, fond of reading and writing poems. He divides the people into seven classes as: Notables and Nobles with Sableskin coats, scholars in special array, Merchants wearing Ferace made of broadcloth, Kontos and Dolman, Craftsmen who can mint and can masterly make all kinds of gold and silverware and weapons, Sea conveyors and Merchants with Shalwvar and Dolman made of broadcloth, i.e. the sailors, gardeners and fishermen.

Vizier Arnavut Mehmet Pasha who came to Trabzon as a governor in 1644 was dismissed from his position after a short time and went to Kopru district, the home-town of his wife, and settled there. Therefore he was called Koprulu Mehmet Pasha. He became the first member of Koprulu Family, and the name of Kopru was changed to Vezir Kopru.

In the middle of the 17th century the raids of Kazak pirates to Trabzon shore turned into Russian attacks. That’s why the Trabzon governors were generally in charge of guarding the castles on the border as an additional duty. Trabzon was often left without a governor and was governed by Aghas instead of governors. Public order began to deteriorate and governors became unable to render good service in the city.

During the period of Biyikli Mustafa Pasha, governor of Trabzon in 1727, the conditions improved a little and Zeytinlik medrese which was the third great foundation of education of Trabzon was built. But public order in the city deteriorated again because in 1828 war with Iran broke out and this time the governors, in order to participate in the Iranian war, were handing Trabzon over to their assistants called Mutessellim. By then public order had deteriorated entirely, Laz and Cepni Aghas were attacking each other. In 1741 Omer Pasha established peace again and had the Trabzon and Gorele castles repaired, opened the Harsit road and built a nice palace in Guzelhisar for himself. He was confronted with the wrath of the Sultan and his palace was burned and he was executed.

Hekimoglu Ali Pasha, one of the famous grand Viziers and the governor of Trabzon in 1749, improved the public order by his skillful administration. He repaired the Karabas Mosque. In 1754 he was appointed as theGrand Vizier for the second time and was taken from Trabzon. In 1762 Mustafa Efendi, from Saraczade Family, founded the Saraczade Library. During that time Trabzon was progressing in commerce and hazel-nut was being exported from Trabzon to Russia. But public order was deteriorating terribly. Canikli Haci Ali Pasha who was sent to Trabzon as a governor in 1772 improved the public order, but this time governorship inherited by this family from then on. The candidate governors began struggling for seat. Then Sari Abdullah Pasha, who was brought up as the slave of Canikli Family, was sent to Trabzon as a governor. In 1788 the misleading trends in the administration of Trabzon had become worse. The task of killing Sari Abdullah Pasha was given to Kuguzade Suleyman Pasha, the new governor of Trabzon in 1791. He immediately carried out his duty, trapped and killed him and buried him in the cemetery near the Tavanli Mosque.
At the beginning of the 19th century the Russian attacks to Trabzon shores strengthened. The Russians captured the Azak, Anapa and Fas Castles on the border and in 1810 they landed on the Sargana shores of Akcaabat. Sakaoglu Mahmut Agha, the chief of Akçaabat, taking men along with him, and his wife Uluvve Hatun taking women as followers, opposed the enemy. By the participation of the people who came from the surroundings and the Trabzon governor Carhaci Ali Pasha himself, fierce battles started. They drove the enemy to the sea.

Meanwhile public order was in a disorderly state in Trabzon Region. The Aghas and the notables didn’t take the government into consideration. As Haznedarzade Suleyman Pasha who was appointed to Trabzon as a governor, with a rank of Vizier, to improve the public order, was in a disagreement with Hopali Tuzcuoglu Memis Agha, the chief of Rize. Tuzcuoglu Memis Agha attacked Trabzon with all the notables and Aghas of the region and drove his head officer Cecenzade Hasan Agha out of the city. He dominated the Trabzon Castle and he acted as the head of the state for exactly four months. When the State forces came, he escaped and went to Of. He was captured and decapitated in 1817. But the social tension caused by the Aghas went on.

While Hazinedarzade Osman Pasha, who was sent to Trabzon as a governor in 1827, was taking protective precautions in his region against the Russian attacks, he was also trying to prevent the frequent revolts of the Aghas. In 1834 he completely stopped the revolts and improved the public order. He made the notables of Tuzcuoglu Family migrate to Ruscuk and Varna regions.

As a result of the improving public order, the commercial life and public works became active. Charles Texier who came to Trabzon in 1832, gave many information about Trabzon in his famous book named Asia Minor and mentioned Trabzon as the transit center of the East. As steam ships began their tours on the Black Sea in 1836, the commercial transportation in the Mediterranean directed to the Black Sea. In 1837 the Fatih mosque in Ortahisar was repaired and one of its rooms was constructed as a Sadirvan (fountain for the ablutions before prayers). The Çarsi Mosque was built in 1841. In 1842 the Fetvahane Library was constructed. Abdullah Pasha became the governor in place of his brother Hazinedarzade Osman Pasha who died in 1842, and contributed a lot to the public works of Trabzon.

The Hatuniye and Fatih Libraries were constructed in 1844, Kalcioglu Memis Agha Fountain was built in 1845. In 1848 Ismail Pasha, the Minister of public works, came to Trabzon with a group of specialists to examine the project about Trabzon – Baghdad Road in 1849. The Abdullah Pasha Fountain was put into service. In 1850 the Saraczade, in 1851 the Pazarkapi Medreses were founded, the Imaret Library was widened. Trabzon became the center of an intensive transit transportation in the middle of the 19th century; The trade in Trabzon Harbor started to expand continuously. Trabzon was the center of one of the 39 provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Sebinkarahisar, Samsun, Batum and Maradit were counties under the rule of Trabzon.

There was a regular sea transportation between Trabzon and Istanbul every fifteen days and it was necessary to have a well constructed highway to go to the East. For this reason, Ismail Pasa, Minister of Public works, came to Trabzon in 1850 and the construction of Erzurum – Trabzon highway began.

Primary and secondary Schools teaching with new methods were put into service in 1852. The marsh of Batum was dried, clean water was brought, and the Aziziye Mosque was built in 1862. Trabzon became a civilized and well-constructed city. In 1863 the St. Sophia (Ayasofya) Mosque was restored, the pictures in the mosque were covered with plaster; stairs were built for the bell-tower which was used as a minaret.
The provinces were abolished and the big cities were organized in the second half of the 19th century. Trabzon became a big city too, and also three provinces were added to Trabzon: 1) Central province of Trabzon (Giresun, Bulancak, Tirebolu, Of, Rize). 2) Province of Canik (Samsun, Unye, Bafra). 3) Province of Lazistan (Batum, Arhavi). 4) Province of Gumushane (Torul, Kelkit).

Trabzon was a lively and prosperous city. An American school was put into service in 1865 and an official printing office was established in 1866. Samsun, which was a subdivision of Trabzon, was completely burnt down and rebuilt on a modern new plan designed by the local government in Trabzon. In 1870 a formal newspaper named Trabzon and the first year book of Trabzon were printed.

The sea transportation in Trabzon increased considerably in those days and four ship companies arranged tours to Istanbul once a week. Two foreigners ran a beautiful hotel in the city. The shopping district was very rich and lively, goods from all over the world were sold there. The square called “Gavur Meydani” (The Municipal square) used to be a place where people took walks. This centre reminded people of Champs Elysses in Paris. The Kavak Square was the centre of sports and people on horses used to play jereed (Javelin) there. The population of the city was about forty thousand. There were some beautiful houses in the city and there was a road to the west across the city. While some changes in the administrative body were taking place in 1870, the Sebin Karahisar subdivision was separated from Trabzon and became a separate province, and Giresun became a county of this province. On the other hand in 1872, the towns of Surmene, Vakfikebir, Gorele and Aybasti were joined together as county of Trabzon.

Trabzon was developing day after day. In 1875 a French school was put into service in the city. There appeared a great progress in the commercial life and hazelnuts were exported to Belgium as well. When the Russian – Turkish war started in 1876, Trabzon was used as a supply centre of the army.

In 1883 a Persian school was put into service. Akcaabat which was known for its tobacco, Yomra famous for its fruit and therapeutically waters, Macka as the centre of making quilts, covering copper goods with tin and carving stones, were towns under the rule of central Trabzon. From the big harbor called Vakfikebir, butter, corn and beans were exported. Surmene was a natural harbor and the people living there were mostly fishermen. There lived a lot of scientists and artists in Of. In those days there was a constitutional government ruling the Ottoman Empire. When the first elections took place, Trabzon sent three deputies to the legislature. In accordance with the Ayastefanos agreement, Batum remained under the Russian rule and Rize became the capital of Lazistan in 1877. Mehmet Ziver Efendi, who wrote many poems about the fish (hamsi, like sardines) died in 1880. Leyla Hanim, whose poems were widespread among women, was the wife of Sirri Pasha, the governor of Trabzon then. Hamamizade Ihsan, an inhabitant of Trabzon, who has acquired a very distinctive place in the Turkish literature, was born in 1884.

Meanwhile Trabzon’s nearest county Akcaabat has become a sub-district in 1887. Of, Surmene, Akcaabat, Vakfikebir, Gorele, Tirebolu, Giresun, Ordu, Yomra, Macka, Sarli and Tonya were sub-districts of Trabzon by the end of the 19th century. Trabzon continued to be the starting point of international road to Iran and an important seaport town of Eastern Anatolia. There were eight ship agencies, one of which was local. There were nine consulates in Trabzon. In brief, it was a big and rich city. The Armenians in Trabzon started a riot but it was soon overcome in 1895.
When the Second Constitutional Regime was declared in 1908, seven deputies were elected from Trabzon for the parliament.

In the 1912 elections seven parliamenters were elected again. During that period the administration of the Ottoman State had become weaker because of the struggle of rivalry of political parties. Italians took advantage of this instability and occupied the twelve islands in the Aegean and also landed at Tripoli (Trablusgarb) which was under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan war broke out; the government declared a state of emergency and wanted the aid of all provinces. People of Trabzon and its districts tried very hard to procure money for the government.

The Ottoman Government frequently changed hands and the power of the state weakened because of the struggle and rivalry of political parties. Bekir Sami Bey, who was a governor in Trabzon twice in 1911 and 1912, was also the foreign Minister of the Ankara Government during the years of the Turkish National War of Liberation. The governorship of Suleyman Nazif Bey, who was a famous Turkish poet, didn’t even last a year.

The governorship of Professor Mehmet Ali Avni, who was famous with his scientific and artistic works, lasted shorter than Suleyman Nazif’s. Samih Rifats’s governance lasted only a month. In 1913, as the activities of Armenian Committees and the Second Balkan War started, Cemal Azmi Bey became the governor of Trabzon.

When World War I broke out in 1914, the Istanbul Government couldn’t keep its impartiality and was obliged to enter the war on the side of Germany. Disastrous days for Trabzon began. The city was bombed by 23 Russian warship on 1st November 1914. Bomb-shells followed one another, and a large group of young people from Trabzon died in the battle of Sarikamis in the east of Turkey. As the bombardments were continuing, Russian land troops passed the shore border on 24th February 1916 and occupied Rize and came to the border of Of. The people of Of and its sub-districts joined the 2500 soldiers under the command of Gurcu Avni Pasa, the commander of that region. They stopped the Russian Army on the border of Trabzon, in spite of the good state of the Russian army. But the Russians occupied Of on 5th March 1916 and Trabzon on 18th April 1916 anyway. Trabzon was saved from the enemy invasion on 24th February 1918 and was joined to the Motherland.

Some people say that the name of the city comes from the Greek “Trapezous”; “trapezion” is the table, and the ending “-ous” means the place which possesses/has something (eg. Kerasous; the place that has cherries, todays Giresun). Trapezous indicates the flat hilltop in the old city, which is surrounded by the medieval wall.

Sumela Monastery (Macka)

Situated in a very beautiful and natural setting, Sumela Monastery built in the 14th century is nestled into the side of rocks in a famous valley in Maçka, only 50 kilometers away from Trabzon. The setting is 1200 meters above the sea level.

Two Greek monks, Barnaby and Sophronios started the original building. The 7th century Icon apparently painted by an anonymous Trabizond (Trabzon) artist became the symbol of the monastery.
Some say that the name “Sumela” comes from the Greek word “melas” which means “black” and it refers to the characteristic dark color of this icon. But others say that “Melas is the name of the mountain above the monastery, “sou” in the Pontian Greek dialect means “at the”, so Sumela (Sou + Mela) means “at the Melas (mountain).

The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin and the large monastery complex had 5 floors and a total of 72 rooms. The upper floor was used as a gallery and a lookout post. The whole building was full of frescoes and the wall paintings. The large part of the building was hewn out of the rock. It stands in front of a beautiful valley scenery and sharp rocky mountains behind.

St. Sophia Museum

It was built in covered Greek cross architecture during the reign of King Manuel I Kommenos in 13th century. Muslim Seljuk stone workers also worked for the construction of St. Sophia Church and church continued its service until 1670 after Ottomans invaded the region. It was converted into a mosque in 1670 and served as a storage and hospital during World War I. Later it served as a mosque again. The chapel in the north of the church is older and the bell tower and was built in 1427. St. Sophia Church was converted into a museum in 1964 and is located in 3 kilometers west of the city. It is not to be confused with St. Sophia Museum in Istanbul.
It’s name comes from Greek: Hagia Sophia means Divine Wisdom.

Atatürk Mansion

The mansion, which was built by a rich Greek banker named Konstantinos Kappagianidis, is an example of 19th century European architecture. Atatürk stayed in this house when he visited Trabzon in 1930 and in 1937, was bought by Trabzon municipality in 1964 after he died in 1938 in Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul. The mansion has been exhibited as a museum since 1964. It is 7 kilometers from downtown and is located in Soguksu.

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