GUIDE: Calendar for festivals to be held in the Black Sea region throughout the rest of summer 2015
From choosing the best local honey to dancing the traditional “horon,” here is a guide to enjoying the festive summer season in the Black Sea region like locals do.
As good as its honey: Anzer Festival
This festival is named after the famous Anzer honey of Turkey’s northeastern province of Rize. The festival presents a wide range of activities from dance shows to a poesy competition, along with selecting the best beauties and honeys of Anzer. The festival was held the first weekend of August.
Tasting the best honey: Çamoluk Honey Festival
The famous Çamoluk Honey festival will be held in the Çamoluk district of the northeastern Giresun province. During the festival, the best honey will be selected and served to guests. In addition, a highland chief will be designated and local singers will perform as part of the event. The festival will be held Aug. 21.
The Mount Pancar festival is held in Artvin’s Yusufeli province during the second weekend of August. Sports activities, folk dances and trekking will be the festival’s primary attractions. It will be held on Aug. 9.
This festival is organized on the outskirts of the Ovit Pass, which links the Black Sea town of Rize with the eastern province of Erzurum. The festival has become a tradition over the years. It is famous for endless horon dances at an altitude of 2,640 meters. The festival withdraws large numbers of participants and will be held this year Aug. 6-8.
Colorful and happy: Green Yayla Culture, Arts and Environment Festival
Organized by the Gola Culture, Arts and Ecology NGO, this is easily the most colorful festival of the Black Sea region, considering its themes and participants. This year’s theme is “imece” (collective work in Turkish). Details of the festival can be found at yaylafest.org. The festival will be held between Aug. 28 and 30.
Amusing and relaxing: Oce Festival
A great festival is being organized in the most crowded village of Artvin’s Ardeşen district. The festival is preparing to host many local and foreign participants this year. The festival offers various cultural activities, some of which reflect local culture. It will be held the second week of August.
The most popular of the region: Kadırga Festival
It is not an overstatement to say that the Kadırga Festival is the most entertaining, colorful and popular amongst the region’s many festivals. Thousands flock from neighboring Gümüşhane, Torul and Giresun to join the festival, which will be held during the first week of August.
An art festival with butter: Butter Culture and Arts Festival of Tonya
The festival in Tonya commences with the traditional horon dance and horse shows. The best of butters, Jersey cattle and tassels will be selected during the festival. Performances by local musicians will spice up the festival, held on Aug. 28-29.
The most beautiful views: Ardeşen Festival
This festival is a great opportunity the inhabitants of the highlands to socialize with their urban guests. The festival is organized in a quiet area with beautiful houses in Rize’s Ardeşen district. It will be held on the third week of August.
Trabzon’s most famous festival will be held in Sultan Murat highlands, 25 kilometers from Trabzon’s Çaykara district. Numerous horon circles will be accompanied by kemençes, traditional three-stringed violins of the region, allowing participants to dance throughout the day. The festival will be held on Aug. 20.
Samistal is the highest of all highlands in the eastern Black Sea region. The Samistal festival aims to attract attention to pressing issues the region’s inhabitants are facing, especially with the controversial Green Road project through which the upland villages of eight Black Sea provinces will be connected. The festival will be held on Aug. 9.
Where to eat on the Black Sea
Taking a nature walk surely feeds our soul but while being mesmerized by the nature’s beauty, do not neglect to feed your appetite as well. It is vital to taste the traditional food of the Black Sea region. Here is a guide on what to eat in the region’s provinces from Artvin to Trabzon.
When Trabzon is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is pide (traditional round, flat bread with toppings) and meatballs. We highly recommend you to eat pide with cheese or minced meat at Rüştü’s Furnace (Rüstü’nün Fırın) in the Moloz district.
Kalkanoğlu Pilavcısı situated right next to it is also a must-go if you wish to try out the regional rice that is usually sold out before sunset.
In order to eat the city’s famous Akçaabat meatballs, the place to go is Körfez Köfte.
By the way, you can eat the best kuymak (a traditional dish prepared with butter, cheese and corn flour) at Kalender Restaurant located in the town square.
When you arrive at Rize from Trabzon, you must try the famous İspir beans at Lale Joint in the city’s Çayeli district.
Once in the Fırtına Valley, you can try one of the numerous stops between the Konaklar neighborhood and Çat village in order to taste kuymak, corn bread, vermicelli dessert and Hemşin’s famous “kete” (Danish-style filled flaky pastry).
The Mola Restaurant situated on the Pokut Valley’s plateau offers an all-organic feast.
The Macahel area is famous for local tastes in Artvin. Sevda’nın Evi (Sevda’s House) restaurant is the place to taste traditional silor dessert (made with dough, sugar and walnuts), silor “mantı” (meat dumplings served with yogurt) and cabbage served with walnuts.
Nearly all restaurants in the Black Sea region serve trout but before ordering, make sure you confirm the fish is not from a farm; otherwise, you will not experience the truly tasteful trout of the region’s streams.