Population of Trabzon triples as football fans flock to city
All eyes will be on the Black Sea province of Trabzon this weekend as the city’s 800,000 population has already been tripled with the local football team’s fans flocking to the region from various parts of the country and Europe to celebrate the upcoming Turkish Süper Lig trophy after 38 years, locals have said.
“All tickets for flights or intercity buses to the city are sold out,” Demirören News Agency reported on April 26.
Trabzonspor, which sits at the top of the league with 76 points leaving their nearest competitor Fenerbahçe behind with an 11 points gap, will host Antalyaspor on April 30.
The team, known as the “maroon-blues,” needs only one more point to be declared this season’s champion. So, a win or a draw is all the city needs.
Apart from the season passes, some 12,000 tickets for the match between Antalya were sold in just 10 minutes last week.
“Trabzon is preparing for a long-waited carnival. There is an influx to the city by football fans and people originally from Trabzon but living outside the province and abroad,” said Nihat Yılmaz, board member of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).
The last time Trabzonspor won the cup was in 1984.
“The occupancy rate of hotels at the weekend is 100 percent,” Yılmaz noted, underlining the sharp rise in the population of the city recently.
The demand to reach the city and celebrate the coming championship is so huge that airline companies had to increase the number of daily flights to the city from 15 to some 45 with additional trips.
“Many fans, who could not find flight tickets directly to Trabzon, flew to the nearest airports in [the Black Sea provinces of] Giresun, Samsun and [the eastern province of] Erzurum to reach the city via a land route,” Demirören News Agency reported.
According to fans, the city is already ready to celebrate the trophy.
“We are proud and excited. Just a few days left,” said Oğuz Şişman, a Trabzonspor fan. “There are even people who are not Trabzonspor fans but are coming to the city to join the crowd in championship celebrations.”
Mustafa Uçar is a “Trabzonspor freak” from Germany who came to the city to watch his team play two months ago.
“The atmosphere in the stadium was so good that I decided to stay for the championship celebrations,” he said. “My wife and children will accompany me to the stadium at the championship match on April 30.”
However, the very best flight tickets they could find were the ones to fly to Giresun, a province some 130-kilometers away from the center of Trabzon.
Furkan Mani, another Trabzonspor fan speaking to Demirören News Agency, is looking forward to “match time.”
“What Trabzon is going through is an unusual situation,” Mani said.
When asked what a trophy after nearly four decades meant for Trabzon, Mani highlighted: “The city will be reborn.”
Besides, the city may witness an “early surprise” late on April 29 when Fenerbahçe will be playing against Gaziantep FK.
If Fenerbahçe losses a point, then Trabzonspor will automatically be champion before April 30.
“The carnival can begin on Friday night,” Trabzon’s local sports websites said.