Trabzon is a beautiful city on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. The traders, travellers and scholars who have visited it throughout the centuries have always described Trabzon in the following distinctive terms; “The cities along the Black Sea coasts resemble a string of pearls, and Trabzon is like a brilliant diamond among them.” The eastern Black Sea coast once resembled an isolated coastal strip surrounded by mountains to the south. However, Trabzon, which lies in the middle of this area, has always been an important centre because of its natural resources, its harbour and its direct link with the Silk Road over the Zigana Pass. Land surveys and excavations carried out in recent years have revealed that Trabzon and its environs were the site of Bronze Age settlements. In the millenia that followed, a palimpsest of cultures and civilisations were founded in Trabzon. On the fertile soil of Trabzon’s green hillsides crops grew in abundance, and the city developed a strong economy and historic tradition, becoming a centre of science, culture and art.
Research into Trabzon’s historic buildings has been concentrated mainly on the Byzantine-Komnenos period and churches and monasteries erected in the Ottoman period. Work of this nature started by J.P Fallmerayer at the end of the last century dealt with churches, monasteries and other structures in the centre of the city. Later research extended to l9th century buildings in the villages. Western researchers have always been interested in Trabzon’s natural beauty, history and historic buildings, much of which was prompted by feelings of a romantic nature.