Is Trabzon the Rising Star of Turkey’s Tourism Scene?
For many years, mainstream, and foreign travel publications ignored the Trabzon province in northeast Turkey. Foreigners instead flocked to Istanbul, the biggest and most populated city in the country, as well as small coastal resorts on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. While independent travellers did venture in that direction, and it slowly gathered a small loyal following of tourists from Middle Eastern countries, it still did not receive the recognition it so rightly deserved.
That is until now. Following a tourism summit in May between Black Sea region delegates and representatives from Middle Eastern countries, Turkish Airlines, the country’s national carrier announced new summer routes between the principal cities of Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina, Al Qassim, Taif and Beirut to Trabzon. All this is welcoming news to locals who are keen to promote their province as one of the best in Turkey.
The reason why Trabzon has suddenly become a hot destination is easy to see. The atmosphere and vibes are completely different from the party and beach scenes of the south and west coasts. With more of an emphasis on enjoying natural landscapes as well as strong similarities in culture, tourists in Turkey want something different and Trabzon has stepped up to the mark.
The Tourist Highlights of Trabzon
As well as attractions in the city centre, Trabzon’s jewel in the crown is the nearby 4th-century Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery, one of the oldest and most respected in the world. Its precarious situation on the edge of a cliff face overlooking Macka National Park leads many to ask why anyone would build a landmark in such as unusual place. The reason why begins with two monks, who while resting in the area, received a vision from the Virgin Mary.
Aside from that, a favourite daytime trip is Uzungol, a large lake situated further up the mountains and for those who want to make an overnight trip, the scenic Ayder Plateau is easily accessible from Trabzon.
In recent years, the small Ortamahalle district has also been gaining admiration for all the right reasons. The neighbourhood retains much of its authentic Ottoman layout and architecture, leading many locals to nickname it the Safranbolu of Trabzon. The old houses of Safranbolu qualified it to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, and while Ortamahalle can’t claim the same title, archaeologists in 1988 officially declared it as a site of interest.
Such as is the council’s eagerness to promote themselves as the next popular holiday destination, they purchased six houses and restored them to much of their former appearance as possible. There is certainly plenty to do and see, but an unexpected twist has arisen from Trabzon’s growing popularity.
Foreign Real Estate in Trabzon Hits an All Time High
For much of 2016 and 2017, much of the hype in the real estate market in Turkey focused on Trabzon as the next up and coming destination to invest it. For foreign investors, a more streamlined and fast processed system combined with low prices was too hard to ignore, and many decided to take advantage of being in the right place at the right time, to make a profitable investment.
The Turkish Statistical Institute who collects infrastructure and social, domestic stats from around the country says Trabzon first started appearing on the top ten lists of districts popular with foreign property buyers in 2014. That year, real estate agents sold 225 apartments and villas to various nationalities, but it was just the beginning because, in 2015, these figures saw a massive jump to 778 properties. By 2016, the growing popularity of Trabzon was attracting the attention of foreigners all around the world and many Middle Eastern buyers, as proven in the record stats of 810 properties sold to foreigners. Officials are also hopeful that 2017 will also match those figures. Many districts and neighbourhoods are proving popular with overseas buyers of which Boztepe and Yomra are two but also including the main city centre, it really is a buyers market when it comes to buying property in Trabzon.