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Trabzon has a dramatic location, perched on a hill overlooking the sea, with lush green mountains behind. Once the capital of the empire founded in 1204 by Alexius Comnenus, grandson of a Byzantine emperor, the city was famed for its golden towers and glittering mosaics. Today's Trabzon seems far removed from that imperial past: the city is bustling and modern, with a busy port, crowded streets,
and seemingly little to distinguish it from many other provincial Turkish towns. It only takes a little digging, though, to get under the modern surface. Byzantine-era churches, such as the lovely Aya Sofya, a smaller version of the similarly named church in Istanbul, can be found not far from modern apartment buildings. Meanwhile, the city's old town with its Ottoman-era houses, pedestrian-only streets, and lively bazaar are a nice break from the concrete and crowds.
At 4,000 feet and surrounded by snowcapped mountains and tumbling waterfalls, the mountain village of Ayder, with its wooden chalets and wandering...
As the region's commercial, cultural, and political center, Diyarbakır and its ancient basalt walls command a bluff overlooking the Tigris River...