The mountain range which runs parallel to the
coast in the north of Turkey has erected a veritable
wall between the Black Sea and the plateaux of
Anatolia. The geographical formation of this past
of Turkey is quite different from that of western
Anatolia, where mountain ridges radiate from the
central plateau like the fingers of a hand. Here,
a single range virtually hugs the coast, with
often no more than 50 kilometers between the two.
Rivers have conformed in configuration and flow
parallel to the coast, until rifts in the range
open a way of escape to the sea.
On crossing the Black Sea Mountains, one suddenly
descends into a world of dense forest vegetation
and flowers, into rich foliage from alder, lime,
walnut, elm, beech and chestnut trees. The cities,
towns and villages are squeezed along the narrow
coastal strip. It is perhaps for this reason that
the inhabitants of the region are known for their
temper, obstinacy, fighting spirit and a self-deprecating
sense of humor.
Nevertheless, these coastal lands are productive.
The region's hazelnut production is the main source
of supply to the European market and practically
all the tea consumed in Turkey is grown here.
Because of its geographical peculiarities and
turbulent history, a somewhat different and interesting
culture has emerged in the Black Sea region. The
animated energy of the Black Sea inhabitant is
reflected in the rhythm of the music and the playful
movements of their dances.
The local cuisine is mainly composed of a variety
of corn-based meals and hamsi, a kind of local
anchovy; salmon farming has also developed considerably
over recent years. The bread here is made of corn
and an important ingredient of the local cuisine
is black cabbage.
An Impotant Crossroads
Human settlements in the Black Sea region started
as early as the 12th century BC. Situated on the
transit routes between Europe and Asia, this region
has always been a highly coveted land. It has
changed hands frequently, with the Romans, the
Greeks of Pontus, the Romans, the Turkish tribes
and the Mongols all competing to take control
of the area and actually ruling it for some time
in turn. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453,
the region was gradually absorbed by the Ottomans.
All these cultures have left their mark on the
shores of the Black Sea, cultures which are reflected
in the lifestyle and traditions of the inhabitants.
for photos from Black Sea Region