Luckily, some of my friends are from Rize. Looking at them, I always think that they’re different not only from people from the rest of Turkey but also from the rest of the world; but I learn that’s not all. One of them told me that if a whale were to visit Rize from the waters of Trabzon, the local hamsi (anchovy) would swallow it in one move. Another said that a baby hawk was plucking the feathers of an eagle that flew in from Artvin. These stories and many others led me to believe that Rize was an otherworldly place not only with its people, but also with its lands and fauna. I’ve tried all kinds of tea from English to Chinese but none had Rize’s tart aroma and taste. There may be many highlands in the world but those in Rize have unprecedented views, air, fog and rivers, while Anzer honey is especially unique. All of these things are reasons to visit Rize.
Rize is actually a very small city. Nestled on the coast, it resembles a narrow crescent on the map. It neighbors the Black Sea on one side and is surrounded by mountainsides on the other. You can have almost a whole view of the city center from Rize Castle on the slope of the mountains, Şahin Hill or Ziraat Tea Garden. You’ll get to explore what delicious tea tastes like. Thanks to its small size, it only takes half a day to walk around the city center so make sure not to pass it by. You can visit tea factories and see how this daily beverage transforms from green leaves into black tea, or workshops that manufacture feretiko, a local fabric unique to Rize. Walk around the Goldsmiths’ Bazaar, and visit Atatürk House Museum and Rize Ethnography Museum. Don’t forget the Tuzcuoğlu Mansion which dates back to the 18th century. The mansion and the museum buildings are the last examples of stone mansions in the city center.