The Black Sea Region
(Turkish: Karadeniz Bölgesi) is one of Turkey's
seven census-defined geographical regions.
The Black Sea region's population is 8,439,213 based on the 2010 census. 4,137,166 people live in cities and 4,301,747 people in villages. This makes it the only one of the seven regions of Turkey in which more people live in rural rather than urban areas.
Though the overwhelming majority is Turkish, as well as some Laz people and Georgian people living in the eastern Black Sea Region, and unlike both ethnic groups in neighboring Republic of Georgia (where they are Georgian Orthodox Christians), are Sunni Muslim.
The Black Sea region has a steep, rocky coast with rivers that cascade through the gorges of the coastal ranges. A few larger rivers, those cutting back through the Pontic Mountains (Doğu Karadeniz Dağları), have tributaries that flow in broad, elevated basins. Access inland from the coast is limited to a few narrow valleys because mountain ridges, with elevations of 1,525 to 1,800 meters in the west and 3,000 to 4,000 meters in the east in Kaçkar Mountains, form an almost unbroken wall separating the coast from the interior. The higher slopes facing northwest tend to be densely forested. Because of these natural conditions, the Black Sea coast historically has been isolated from Anatolia.
Running from Zonguldak in the west to Rize in the east, the narrow coastal strip widens at several places into fertile, intensely cultivated deltas. The Samsun area, close to the midpoint, is a major tobacco-growing region; east of it are numerous citrus groves. East of Samsun, the area around Trabzon is world-renowned for the production of hazelnuts, and farther east the Rize region has numerous tea plantations. All cultivable areas, including mountain slopes wherever they are not too steep, are sown or used as pasture. The mild, damp oceanic climate of the Black Sea coast makes commercial farming profitable. The western part of the Black Sea region, especially the Zonguldak area, is a center of coal mining and heavy industry.
The North Anatolian Mountains in the north are an interrupted chain of folded highlands that generally parallel the Black Sea coast. In the west, the mountains tend to be low, with elevations rarely exceeding 1,500 meters, but they rise in an easterly direction to heights greater than 3,000 meters south of Rize. Lengthy, trough-like valleys and basins characterize the mountains. Rivers flow from the mountains toward the Black Sea. The southern slopes—facing the Anatolian Plateau—are mostly unwooded, but the northern slopes contain dense growths of both deciduous and evergreen trees.
The Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of that coast averages 2,500 millimeters annually which is the highest precipitation in the country.
Those who dislike the heat and humidity of the summer in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions of Turkey, escape to the plateaux of the mountains in the Black Sea region which are almost permanently cloudy and receive immense amounts of rain and are very attractive with rich flora and fauna, forests, crater lakes, waterfalls, rivers, streams, mountain and nature walk, rafting, canoe and winter sports, hunting and fishing, grass skiing, healing water and local dishes.