Rize Province

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Rize Province

Rize ili
Rize in Turkey.svg
Location of Rize Province in Turkey
Country Turkey
Region East Black Sea
Subregion Trabzon
   Electoral district Rize
  Total3,920 km2 (1,510 sq mi)
 (2020) [1]
  Density88/km2 (230/sq mi)
Area code(s) 0464
Vehicle registration 53

Rize Province (Turkish : Rize ili) is a province of northeast Turkey, on the eastern Black Sea coast between Trabzon and Artvin. The province of Erzurum is to the south. It was formerly known as Lazistan, the designation of the term of Lazistan was officially banned in 1926, by patriots. [2] The province is home to Laz, Hemshin, Turkish people and Georgian communities. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spent his early childhood in Rize, where his father was a member of the Turkish Coast Guard, [3] and from which both of Erdogan's parents come from.


Its capital is the city of Rize.


The name comes from Greek ρίζα (riza), meaning "mountain slopes". [4] The Georgian, Laz, and Armenian names are all derived from Greek as well: their names in respective order are Rize (რიზე), Rizini (რიზინი), and Rize (Ռիզե).


Ancient history

Anzer plateau is one of the uplands of the province. Anzer02.JPG
Anzer plateau is one of the uplands of the province.

We have little information as to the prehistory of this region, which being covered in thick forest is difficult to excavate and reveals little. Colchis which existed from the 13th to the 1st centuries BC is regarded as an early proto-Georgian polity in this area.


According to Pliny the Elder, from 670 BC onwards the Aegean Ancient Greek community of Miletus established a series of trading posts along the Black Sea coast; one of these was Rize. in the mid-6th century BC The tribes living in the southern Colchis (Tibareni, Mossynoeci, Macrones, Moschi, and Marres) were incorporated into the nineteenth Satrapy of Persia. The Achaemenid Empire was defeated by Alexander the Great, however following of Alexander's death a number of separate kingdoms were established in Anatolia, including Pontus, in the corner of the south-eastern Black Sea, ruled by Mithridates. Rize was brought into the Kingdom of Pontus by Pharnaces in 180 BC. The very small number of Hellenistic Greek inscriptions that have been found anywhere in Pontus suggest that Greek culture did not substantially penetrate beyond the coastal cities and the court. [5] The kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire between 10 AD and 395 AD, when it passed to the Byzantines. By this time writers including Pliny and the Roman adventurer Arrian were describing the inhabitants as Laz.


A view from Ayder plateau Ayder Plateau @ Rize-Turkey.JPG
A view from Ayder plateau

During the whole medieval period, the region was under Byzantine control, and was mainly populated by Greeks and indigenous Lazs. During the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (c. 527–565) the warlike tribes of the interior, called Sannoi or Tzannoi, the ancestors of modern Laz people, were subdued, Christianized and brought to central rule. [6] Locals began to have closer contact with the Greeks and acquired various Hellenic cultural traits, including in some cases the language. Locals were under nominal Byzantine suzerainty in the theme of Chaldia, with its capital at Trebizond, governed by the native semi-autonomous rulers, like the Gabras family. [7] Following the Seljuk Turks invasion, there has been continuous influx of Armenians resulting partial armenization of the local Tzan population and formation of new Hemshin identity. [8]

With the Georgian intervention in Chaldia and collapse of Byzantine Empire in 1204, Empire of Trebizond was established along the southwestern coast of the Black Sea, populated by a large Lazian-speaking population. [9] In the eastern part of the same empire, an autonomous coastal theme of Greater Lazia was established. [10] Byzantine authors, such as Pachymeres, and to some extent Trapezuntines such as Lazaropoulos and Bessarion, regarded the Trapezuntian Empire as being no more than a Lazian border state. [11] Though Greek in higher culture, the rural areas of Trebizond empire appear to have been predominantly Laz in ethnic composition. [12] Laz family names, with Hellenized terminations, are noticeable in the records of the mediaeval empire of Trebizond, and it is perhaps not too venturesome to suggest that the antagonism between the "town-party" and the "country-party," which existed in the politics of "the Empire," was in fact a national antagonism of Laz against Greek.

In 1282, kingdom of Imereti besieged Trebizond, however after the failed attempt to take the city, the Georgians occupied several provinces and all the Trebizontine province of Lazia threw off its allegiance to the king of the 'Iberian' and 'Lazian' tribes and united itself with the Georgian Kingdom of Imereti.

The Ottoman era

A general view of Rize city center Rize'den bir gorunum.jpg
A general view of Rize city center

Laz populated area was often contested by different Georgian principalities, however through Battle of Murjakheti (1535), Principality of Guria finally ensured control over it, until 1547, when it was conquered by resurgent Ottoman forces and reorganized into the Lazistan sanjak as part of eyalet of Trabzon.

From the late-17th century onwards, the Ottoman administration built many elegant bridges across the Fırtına River and its tributaries.

The province was a site of battles between Ottoman and Russian armies during Caucasus Campaign of World War I and was occupied by the Russian forces in 1916–1918. It was returned to the Ottomans with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918.

From 1924 onwards, Rize has been a province of the Republic of Turkey. Until tea was planted here in the 1940s this was a poor area at the far end of the country, with only the Soviet Union beyond the Iron Curtain. Many generations of Rize people left to look for jobs in Istanbul or overseas.

In Turkey

In September 1935 the third Inspectorate General (Umumi Müfettişlik, UM) was created, to which the Rize province was included. [13] Its establishment was based on the Law 1164 from June 1927, [13] which was passed in order to Turkefy the population. [14] The third UM span over the provinces of Erzurum, Artvin, Rize, Trabzon, Kars, Gümüşhane, Erzincan and Ağrı. It was governed by an Inspector General seated in the city of Erzurum. [13] [15] The Inspectorate General was dissolved in 1952 during the Government of the Democrat Party. [16]

Life in Rize today

The city of Rize is a coastal town on a narrow strip of flat land between the mountains and the sea. Today the area is wealthier although there is a marked difference between the lifestyle of the people in the relatively wealthy city of Rize and those in the remote villages where wooden houses perch on the steep mountainside with the rain beating down. The province is known in Turkey for the production of Rize Tea.


A historical bridge over Hala Creek ArchBridgeOverFirtinaDeresi@Rize-Turkey-1.JPG
A historical bridge over Hala Creek

Rize is located between the Pontic Mountains and the Black Sea. It is considered to be the "wettest" corner of Turkey and is the country's main tea producing region. In addition to tea, the region is also known for growing kiwi fruit. The province is largely rural and very scenic, containing many mountain valleys and elevated yaylas (meadows). The district of Çamlıhemşin is one of Turkey's most popular venues for trekking and outdoor holidays. Roads are scarce in some of the more remote regions, so electrical powered cable cars have been installed to transport people and supplies into the mountains.Summers are cool (July average 22 °C) and winters are mild (January average 7 °C) with high levels of precipitation all year long.

The new Black Sea coast road has made Rize more accessible, but has drawn criticism for its negative effect on the region's wildlife. Since the early 2000s, Rize has seen an increase in visitors from outside the province, particularly tourist from urban areas. This increase in tourism has raised concerns among locals that the traditional way of life and the unblemished character of the natural surroundings is being endangered. The provincial governor, Enver Salihoglu (as of 2005) has stated his opposition to the expansion of the road network and has advocated a commercial focus on beekeeping, trout farming, and the growing of organic teas. [17]

Native plants include the Cherry Laurel (Turkish : taflan or karayemiş), the fruit of which is an edible small dark plum that leaves a dark stain on the mouth and teeth. In addition, the Bilberry, which are now being actively cultivated, can be found growing the region. Rize is traversed by the northeasterly line of equal latitude and longitude.


Ovit Plato is on the way to Ispir from Ikizdere, Rize, Turkey Ovit Plato.jpg
Ovit Plato is on the way to Ispir from Ikizdere, Rize, Turkey

Notable mountains [18]


From east to the west


Part of the Pontic Mountains (Eastern Black Sea Mts.), Rize was formed in the Palaeozoic period. Valleys first appeared during the Cretaceous period and have since expanded due to erosion.


The region's climate is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is Cfa (Humid Subtropical Climate). [19]



A tulum player in Ardesen Tulumcu.jpg
A tulum player in Ardeşen

Traditional cuisine in the city quite rich and the anchovy forms the basic for many of the dishes peculiar to the region. Soups, salads, pilafs and even desserts are made of anchovy. Some of the local dishes are hamsi buğulama (boiled anchovy), hamsi stew, and kamsi köfte (anchovy meatballs). Lahana çorbası (cabbage soup), muhlama (made of cheese, cornmeal and butter) and pides (pita bread topped with various fillings) are also other local delicacies. [20]

Folk dances and traditional costumes

Folk dancers perform horon energetically when it is accompanied by kemenche. However this folk dance can also be accompanied by Tulum or kaval. Folk dancers wear traditional costumes while performing horon. Men wear shirt, vest, jacket, zipka (pants made of wool and gathered at knees) and black boots. On their jackets are silver embroideries, amulets hemayils with religion expressions put inside these small silver containers to br protected against evil's eye. On the other hand, women dancers wear colorful dresses and traditional hand painted head scarves including various motifs. [21]


Rize offers a rich variety of traditional handicrafts and handmade souvenirs to visitors. Some of them: copper works, wicker baskets, churns, socks, shoulder bag, spoon made of boxwood


A view Cayeli district and the Black Sea Cayeli.JPG
A view Çayeli district and the Black Sea

Rize province is divided into 12 districts (capital district in bold):

Places of interest

Pokut plateau, clouds above the mountains of Rize. Rizemountain2.jpg
Pokut plateau, clouds above the mountains of Rize.

Sites in the province include:

Other buildings of note include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Trabzon Metropolitan municipality in Turkey

Trabzon, historically known as Trebizond in English, is a city on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Persia in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast. The Venetian and Genoese merchants paid visits to Trabzon during the medieval period and sold silk, linen and woolen fabric. Both republics had merchant colonies within the city – Leonkastron and the former "Venetian castle" – that played a role to Trabzon similar to the one Galata played to Constantinople. Trabzon formed the basis of several states in its long history and was the capital city of the Empire of Trebizond between 1204 and 1461. During the early modern period, Trabzon, because of the importance of its port, again became a focal point of trade to Persia and the Caucasus.

Erzurum Province Province of Turkey

Erzurum Province is a province of Turkey in the Eastern Anatolia Region of the country. The capital of the province is the city of Erzurum. It is bordered by the provinces of Kars and Ağrı to the east, Muş and Bingöl to the south, Erzincan and Bayburt to the west, Rize and Artvin to the north and Ardahan to the northeast. Okay Memiş was appointed as the governor of the province by a presidential decree on 27 October 2018.

Trabzon Province Province of Turkey

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Rize Municipality in Turkey

Rize is the capital city of Rize Province in the eastern part of the Black Sea Region of Turkey.

Lazistan Sanjak

Lazistan was the Ottoman administrative name for the sanjak, under Trebizond Vilayet, comprising the Laz or Lazuri-speaking population on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. It covered modern day easternmost Trabzon, the land of contemporary Rize Province and the littoral of contemporary Artvin Province.

Pontic Greeks

The Pontic Greeks are an ethnically Greek group who traditionally lived in the region of Pontus, on the shores of the Black Sea and in the Pontic Mountains of northeastern Anatolia. Many later migrated to other parts of Eastern Anatolia, to the former Russian province of Kars Oblast in the Transcaucasus, and to Georgia in various waves between the Ottoman conquest of the Empire of Trebizond in 1461 and the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829. Those from southern Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea are often referred to as "Northern Pontic [Greeks]", in contrast to those from "South Pontus", which strictly speaking is Pontus proper. Those from Georgia, northeastern Anatolia, and the former Russian Caucasus are in contemporary Greek academic circles often referred to as "Eastern Pontic [Greeks]" or as Caucasian Greeks, but also include the Turkic-speaking Urums.

Trebizond Vilayet

The Vilayet of Trebizond or Trabzon was a first-level administrative division (vilayet) in the north-eastern part of the Ottoman Empire and corresponding to the area along the eastern Black Sea coastline and the interior highland region of the Pontic Alps. The region was populated mainly by ethnic Turks in the western half and Laz-speaking Muslims in the eastern half, although throughout the period of Ottoman rule there was a history of conversion to Turkish Islam of many of the region's Pontic Greeks - with even Gulbahar Hatun, the mother of sultan Selim the Grim said to be of Pontic Greek origin.

Ardeşen Place in Rize, Turkey

Ardeşen is a town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, 48 km along the coast road from the city of Rize.

Çamlıhemşin Town in Black Sea, Turkey

Çamlıhemşin is a small town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey.

Pazar, Rize Town in Black Sea, Turkey

Pazar is a town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, 37 km east of the city of Rize. The town contains many inhabitants of Laz and Georgian ancestries as well as other peoples.

Fındıklı, Rize Town in Turkey

Fındıklı is a town and district of Rize Province on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, east of the city of Rize.

Hemşin Place in Rize, Turkey

Hemşin, is a town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, 57 km from the city of Rize.

Laz people Laz language speaking ethnic group indigenous to Black Sea coastal region of Turkey and Georgia

The Laz people, or Lazi, are an indigenous ethnic group who mainly live in Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia and speak Laz language, a member of the same South Caucasian language family as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. The Laz language is classified as endangered by UNESCO, with an estimated 130,000 to 150,000 speakers in 2001.

İkizdere Town in Black Sea, Turkey

İkizdere is a town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey.

Zilkale Castle in Turkey

Zilkale is a medieval castle located in the Fırtına Valley within the Pontic Mountains, and is one of the most important historical structures in the Çamlıhemşin district of Rize Province, within the Black Sea Region of Turkey.

Black Sea Region Region of Turkey

The Black Sea Region is a geographical region of Turkey.

The Kemençe of the Black Sea or Kemençe of Laz is a bottle-shaped bowed lute found in the Black Sea region of Turkey (Pontus), adjacent Armenian and Georgian peopled lands, as well as in Greece. The name kemençe comes from the Iranian musical instrument, kamancheh.

The Principality of Hamamshen was a small principality established in about 790 century by Armenians who fled the Arab invasions of Armenia and the creation of the Muslim Arab ruled state of Arminiya.

Fırtına River River in Turkey

Fırtına or Peruma is one of the main water streams of Rize Province in the eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey. Its name is Turkish for "storm water". There is a group of more than 20 well-preserved Ottoman-era bridges over the Fırtına Deresi.

Secession in Turkey

Secession in Turkey is a phenomenon caused by the desire of a number of minorities living in Turkey to secede and form independent national states.


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  7. Hewsen, 47
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  17. "How Green Is Their Valley" The Economist. 27 August – 2 September 2005
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  19. "Rize, Turkey Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  20. Traditional cuisine Archived 11 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  21. People of Black Sea Region of Turkey Archived 10 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine

Coordinates: 40°55′54″N40°50′52″E / 40.93167°N 40.84778°E / 40.93167; 40.84778