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Trabzon, formerly known as Trebizond or Τραπεζούντα (Trapezounda) (Greek) , is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey. It is the capital of Trabzon Province. It lies astride the road from Istanbul to Iraq and was an important meeting point for international trade. It formed the basis for several empires over its history, including one of the same name. The 2000 national census estimated that the population of the city was 214,949.



Originally founded as Trapezus by traders from Miletus (traditionally in 756 BC), the city was one of a number (about ten) of Milesian emporia, or trading colonies along the shores of the Black Sea. Others include Sinope, Abydos and Cyzicus (in the Dardanelles). Like most Greek colonies, the city was a small enclave of Greek life, and not an empire unto its own, in the later European sense of the word. When Xenophon and the "ten thousand" Greek mercenaries fighting their way out of Persia, reached Trapezus, it was the first Greek city they had reached (Xenophon, Anabasis, 5.5.10).

The city was added to the kingdom of Pontus by Mithridates VI Eupator and it became home port for the Pontic fleet.

When the kingdom was annexed to the Roman province of Galatia in 64-65 CE, the fleet simply passed to new commanders, becoming the Classis Pontica. Trapezus gained importance under Roman rule in the 1st century AD because from its roadstead a road over the Zigana Pass led to the Armenian frontier or the upper Euphrates valley. New roads were constructed from Persia and Mesopotamia under the rule of Vespasian, and Hadrian commissioned improvements to give the city a more structured harbor. A mithraeum now serves as a crypt for the church of Panaghia Theoskepastos in nearby Kizlara, east of the citadel and south of the modern harbor. The city was pillaged by the Goths in 258, and, although it was afterwards re-built, Trapezus did not recover until the trade route regained importance in the 8th to 10th centuries.

After the Fourth Crusade in 1204, a Byzantine successor state was founded there with support of Queen Tamar of Georgia, the Empire of Trebizond, which ruled part of the Black Sea coast from Trabzon until 1461, when its ruler, David, surrendered to Mehmed II, ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Following this takeover Mehmet sent many Turkish settlers into the area, but the old ethnic Armenian, Greek and Abkhaz communities remained.

Trebizond was captured during World War I by forces under the command of the Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolayevich of Russia. Following the Treaty of Sevres and subsequent Treaty of Lausanne, Trabzon has been in the hands of Turkey.

Trabzon is famous throughout Turkey for its anchovies, which are the main meal in many restaurants in the city. Major exports from Trabzon are hazelnuts and tea.


Trabzon < Trabizon < Trapezounta < Trpapezus "Slave Market" in Greek (in Platon's texts; a variation of Trapez "table" + Ounta "toponomic suffix" in Greek Source: zhan ztrk. Karadeniz: Ansiklopedik Szlk (Blacksea: Encyclopedic Ditionary). 2 Cilt (2 Volumes). Heyamola Publishing. Istanbul.2005 ISBN 975-6121-00-9.

Tourist Attractions

Trabzon has a number of tourist attractions, some of them dating back to the times of the ancient empires that once existed there. In Trabzon itself the centre of the city is a hub of shops, stalls and restaurants surrounding a square which includes a tea garden. Boztepe park is a little park and tea garden on the hills above Trabzon that has a panoramic view of almost the entire city. The terrain in Trabzon is such that although the view commands a view far above that of the buildings below, the view is still close enough to be able to observe the flow of traffic and the people moving around in the city. The Ayasofya museum, Trabzon castle and the Ataturk museum are all places that showcase the history of the town and the Byzantine and Ottoman heritage. Within the province itself, the main attractions are the Sumela monastery and Uzungol. The Sumela monastery is built on the side of a very steep mountain overlooking the green forests below and is about 50km south of the city. Uzungol is famous for the natural beauty of the area and the amazing scenery.


  • Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites eds. Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister: "Trapezus"

External links

el:Τραπεζούντα fr:Trabzon nl:Trabzon tr:Trabzon (il)


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