From Constanta, Romania, we set sail across almost the full width of the Black Sea to the port of Trabzon in northern-eastern Turkey. The city was the site of one of the key battles between the Ottoman and Russian armies during the Caucasus Campaign of World War 1, which resulted in the capture of Trabzon by the Russians in April 1916. The Russians caused a massive destruction in Trabzon, banning muslim mosques and forcing Turks to leave the city. The Russian army ultimately retreated from the city and eastern Turkey with the Russian Revolution of 1917. Trabzon was also a major extermination centre during the Armenian genocide. In 1920 Trabzon again became a part of Turkey which started a mass exodus of Greeks from Trabzon and the area moving to the new Greek state.
Trabzon is famous throughout Turkey for its anchovies and major imports which include hazelnuts and tea. On arrival we walked up the Uzun Sikak, one of the busiest pedestrian shopping streets in Trabzon. The narrow cobblestone streets were shoulder to shoulder with people. People were very
friendly and especially the men gathered in parks and on benches to talk and have a smoke. A statue in the square portrays Attaturk, the father of modern day Turkey. He is well respected among Turks and his name appears everywhere.
A taxi ride saved us a long walk uphill to the Aya Sophia Mosque. This seems to be a familiar name among mosques as there is also a major landmark in Istanbul which is now a museum. On the hill there are ruins of buildings, perhaps destroyed during two world wars but also a great view of the city and the harbour.