The province of Rize is located in the Eastern Black Sea region and perfectly reflects the geographical characteristics of this particular area. Its steep-sloped valleys, mountains, meadows, plateaus, lakes and castles make it an important area for tourism in Turkey.
Rize is thought to be founded by the Ion civilisation, but has also been under the rule of the Pontus Kingdom, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Seljukian State and Ottoman Empire throughout its colourful history.
From the city, you can also see Rize Castle which was constructed in the 14th Century by the Genovese, but for the best view of the city, head for one of the plateaus which are located withing the Kackar Chain Mountains. The plateaus offer a living ‘above the clouds’ and are populated by people living in well-preserved ‘plateau houses.’
Ayder Plateau contains hot springs, hotels and restaurants, and from here you can climb up to higher and more remote meadows and villages. This makes it a popular stop on the trekking route. In Camlihemsin, another district of Rize, there are specially designated camping areas.
The geography of the province also provides excellent opportunities for visitors to participate in canoeing and rafting.
In terms of cuisine, the hamsi (anchovy) forms the basic for many of the dishes typical of the region. Soups, salads, pilafs and even desserts are made from anchovies. Some of the local dishes are hamsi bugulama (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 other local delicacies.
The province is also known in Turkey for being the centre for the production of tea. Indeed, Rize boasts one of the biggest tea plantations in the world.
Wooden products such as spoons and stools which are hand-crafted in the region are popular souvenirs for tourists, while feretiko (material from the region) and world-famous ‘Anzer’ honey can also be taken home as gifts.
Only one team from the province competes in the Turkish professional leagues: Caykur Rizespor, founded in 1953. The team play in the second tier of Turkish football at the Yeni Rize Stadium, which was built in 2009 and has a capacity of 15,300.