The Black Sea washes the shores along the northern coast of Turkey (Turkish: Karadeniz Bölgesi). The area is often humid which contibutes to the production in the region a lush area of remarkable beauty due to the high levels of precipitation. The mountainous areas that rise from the coastline are covered with alpine meadows, glaciers and glacial lakes. The eastern Karadeniz region boasts breathtaking natural beauty, traditionally and colorfully dressed locals, a host of ancient ruins hidden in the mountains, and a monastery located on the side of a mountain cliff-side unlike any other in the world. The central Karadeniz region is where the largest city of the Turkish Black Sea coast is to be found at Samsun, the traditional Ottoman architecture along the Amasya riverside, and a number of ancient Hittite ruins. The western Karadeniz region is home to the ancient fortified city and port of Sinop and the delightful holiday resort town of Amasra. Due to its more remote location without major highway access, this region retains much in the way of it's cultural heritage. The 350 kilometer road from Amasra to Sinop is a good example of the region as it snakes the way along the coast. Towns like Inebolu and others are untainted by mass development and tourism even if they are a bit run down, but offer visitors glances into the age old culture and traditions.
The Black Sea region is bordered by the Marmara Region to the west, Central Anatolian Region on the south, Eastern Anatolia Region to the southeast, the Republic of Georgia to the northeast, and the Black Sea is on the north. The Black Sea region has a rocky coast with rivers that empty into the sea through the gorges of the coastal ranges. Larger rivers cutting through the Pontic Mountains (Turkish: Doğu Karadeniz Dağları) have tributaries that flow along in broad, elevated basins. Access inland from the coast is of a limited nature due to a few narrow valleys. Mountain ridges with elevations of 1,525 to 1,800 meters in the west and up to 3,000 to 4,000 meters in the Kaçkar Mountains to the east, form a practically unbroken barrier that separates the coastal area from the interior. That along with the higher slopes that face northwest tending to be densely wooded, the Black Sea coast has historically been isolated from Anatolia. The Samsun area is a major tobacco-growing region and to its east are abundant citrus groves. East of Samsun, the area around Trabzon is world famous for its hazelnuts, and farther to the east in the Rize region has numerous tea plantations. Apple orchards are also considerable in the Black Sea region, and of late fruits such as kiwi and avocado have started to be grown. Corn is grown in the coastal parts of the Black Sea region and more than one-third of the corn production in Turkey is done in the Black Sea Region.
Tourists who find the heat and high humidity during summer on the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of Turkey, are now beginning to escape to the cooler mountain plateaus and less commercially developed seaside holiday resorts to be found in the Black Sea region. The abundant flora and fauna in these beautiful forests with their crater lakes, waterfalls and rivers make them a haven for trekkers, white water rafters, canoe enthusiasts and nature lovers of all kinds. In the winter there is hunting, fishing and both alpine and cross-country skiing for winter sports affecionados. The Black Sea region has an oceanic climate with high evenly distributed rainfall year round. Along the coast, summers are warm and humid, and during winter it is cool and damp. The eastern part of the Black Sea coast averages 2,500 millimeters annually which is the highest precipitation in the country. Snowfall is common in the months of December through March and often heavy.
Tourists spending time in Istanbul that want to get out of the city can go to places like Kumburgaz, Silivri, Saroz Bay, Kilyos and Şile which are reasonably close to Istanbul. Recommended beaches are at Florya and Atakoy, but not all that good for swimming, but if you drive further up north to Guzelce and after passing Buyukcekmece, an hour distant, there are nicer beaches. These are not like beaches in the south of Turkey on the Aegean and Mediterranean, but for for their reasonably close proximity to Istanbul are decent beaches just the same. If you have the time you could go up to Şarköy which is a seaside district of the Tekirdağ Province, but it is situated on the north coast of the Marmara Sea and not on the Black Sea. Şarköy is 86 kilometers west of the town of Tekirdağ, and can be reached either by the inland road or by the winding coast road. It will require 2 hours of driving with an hour of that spent just getting through city traffic. Büyükada, which is the largest island among the Princess Islands, is much closer to Istanbul via ferries from Bostanci and Sirkeci. Büyükada has a few tiny beaches but the water is fairly cold and it is usually crowded on the beaches during summer. Ferry tickets are not all that expensive and if taken from Bostanci the trip over to the island takes about 20 minutes.
Kilyos and Şile are on the Black Sea shores of Istanbul. Kilyos is on the European side and Şile is on the Asian side of Istanbul. Kilyos is a small resort on the Black Sea coast about 35 kilometers or 21 miles north of Istanbuls Taksim Square. Kilyos, also known as Kumköy - meaning sandy village in Turkish has long sandy beaches like Dalia Beach which are very popular during the summer months. Located 30 kilometers from the city center and 50 kilometers from Atatürk International Airport, Kilyos has small hotels, guesthouses, camping areas, restaurants and several beach clubs and bars frequented by young people from the city or local summer houses. The main ways to reach the Kilyos beach are either through Sarıyer or through the neighborhood of Maslak, by using the Bahçeköy interchange (geçiş). The Maslak route is recommended because it passes through forests and is more scenic. The road leading to Kilyos passes through the Belgrade Forest, and in addition to the beaches there are small coves on the northeastern side of Kilyos. In summer the beaches are packed, but during fall and winter the weather is definitely far cooler the beach takes on a more wild demeanor with waves crashing against the rocks.
Şile is a small holiday resort town on the Black Sea about 70 kilometers from the city of Istanbul. Şile has a small but sandy beach, a small quaint harbour of fishing boats with dense forest behind it. Şile has a nice atmosphere during the week, but on weekends and especially on hot summer Sundays, Şile is crowded. There are numerous bars and restaurants with sea views, especially in the little park around the lighthouse. With Şile being situated just 70 kilometers from Istanbul, its sandy beaches and the ruins of a Genoese castle draw visitors year round. Most of the beaches provide changing rooms, toilet facilities, and restaurants. There is a diverse range of hotels and pensions available which are best booked in advance during the summer. Check for airline tickets at Flight Network to Istanbul (IST).
Leçons de Choses
- The designs of Magali Arbib can now be purchased online on her website -
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