No matter how many times you visit this region, you experience the same enthusiasm and excitement you had in the first one, as every route and every valley are contesting for perplexing you.
It’s the very moment I had been looking forward to for months, and we eventually arrived in Trabzon, the coordinating point of out trip. Our team was of 12 members, yet just three of us had visited Black Sea Region, and particularly Kaçkar Mountains and Fırtına Valley. No matter how many times you visit this region, you experience the same enthusiasm and excitement you had in the first one, as every route and every valley are contesting for perplexing you.
Since some of us came by aeroplane and some via highways, the minibus that was going to take us throughout the whole trip was waiting for us at Trabzon Airport.
Captain Ahmet met us and extended a warm welcome to which I am acquainted to rush in on Kaçkar Mountains plateaus but yet to see in city life. On close 11 am, we made track for Fırtına Valley. While those visiting hereabouts beforehand were telling what they saw and got, the rest were listening with all their ears in excitement. Upon moving on Pazar, a district in Rize, Fırtına Brook, called with the same name with Fırtına Valley, welcomed us. On the condition that you got sick of classical holidays or you are of a holiday mindset remote to holiday resort, every valley in Eastern Black Sea seems to be enchanting and fascinating (particularly Fırtına).
When we set forth to Pokut Plateauafter removing our camp, there was notrace of fog descended yesterday. We met Captain Ahmet following two and ahalf-hour walking when we got to Pokut.Pout, 2000 metre high from sea level,bear wooded vegetation compared toother plateaus. In terms of landscape, ofthe whole plateaus, Pokut is the best one.From a certain distance, the houses seemto be like a necklace, and it makes tricksby appearing and disappearing during thewalk, furthermore, its panorama is worthto see on plateau. There is no husbandryin Pokut Plateau, where mostly housesused for holidays in summer months arelocated. Moreover, there are some guesthouses where the travellers can stay.
Sal Plateau and Çinçiva
On arriving at neighbouring Sal Plateau following fifteen minute-walking we encountered a jolly occasion. Plateau residents were setting off their relatives back home and playing bagpipes and singing. As the water resources are at low levels on this plateau, the residents have water shortage; the whole houses are wooden and it is possible to see the
highest peaks of Kaçkar Mountains on climbing a hill over these houses. It was about evening when we got to Çinçiva (Village Şenyuva with its new name) from Sal Plateau in two and a half hours. On setting forth from Çinçiva famous for its humpback bridge constructed by the Ottoman in 1670, we all had a pretty fatigue. Uncle Idris, the owner of Doğa Hotel alongside Fırtına Brook on the 5th km to Çamlıhemsin, welcomed us at the entrance of the hotel. Following the supper, we slept listening to unique melodies of Fırtına Brook. The next day, we ranked off listening to the local quadrates (mani) of Captain Ahmet. “Elevit’in deresi
İki taraftan akar Yüreğim seninledir Gözüm ellere bakar” (Through two banks, the brook of Elevit runs by, It makes me feel cool and I gaze at the passerby.)
We had a farewell to Fırtına Valley with the hope of meeting next year and made track for Sumela Monastery. This monastery, erected on a hillside of a peak of Karadağ that is on the southern part of Maçka District in Trabzon, is called Virgin Mary Monastery in public.
It is said that the core meaning of “Sumela” Monastery, constructed in the name of Mary (panagia), derived from the word “Melas” which means black-white darkness. According to Semavi Eyice “The monastery got the name Sumela due to black Mary depiction, respected herein previously and the name of this mountain is accepted as Oros Mela (Black Mountain) due to the name of monastery”.
According to the legend, the foundation of Sumela Monastery, two Athenians, Barbaras and his nephew Sophrinios saw Virgin Mary in their dreams and the Virgin Mary asked them to erect a monastery and showed its place and how to go. These two Athenians set forth with a table, which was reputedly made by Saint Luke; they arrived in Trabzon via sea and decided to construct the church on the cragged side of black mountain. They built the first rock church in Theodosius Era (375-395). Even though this date is not the precise construction date of this church, it is assumed to be erected between the stated years. To some researcher’s mind it was built in 385 AD and to some in 472 AD. Leaving these legends and dates aside, it is possible to examine the history of monastery after Trabzon kemnenos era. Alexios III of Trabzon kemnenos made this church built in 1390 as a new complex with 72 rooms which was 17 metre high, 40 metre long, 14 metre wide on the whole. With the presents and rights that Trabzon kings offered to this monastery, they got the support of their people. An excursion full of unforgettable memories had come to an end when we turned back from Sumela Monastery.
Even before being back to Ephesus, I started to plan another Black Sea excursion.
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