Trabzon's history stretches back to the 7th century BC and its historic and cultural heritage alone would qualify it to be the most important as well as the largest city in the eastern Black Sea region. Added to this, however, is the fact that Trabzon is situated at the very heart of road, sea and air connections - an important sea port for east-west connections and part of the transit route which leads to the south east through Erzurum to Iran. This strategic position has confirmed Trabzon's importance as a center of trade and commerce and an area of increasing economic development. During the Ottoman period, the city was known as the 'City of Princes', and towards the 18th century played a major role in the initiation and development of trade between the East and the West. The 19th century established Trabzon as a bridge between developing European industry and the Middle East. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the emerging republics and new economic structures to the North and East of Turkey have made Trabzon once again an extremely important city. It is now a major gateway to Turkey and to the outside world for the citizens of these new republics. Throughout history Trabzon has maintained its importance as a city and a center of natural beauty and cultural wealth. It is renowned for its mist-topped mountains, the verdant green of its pine forests giving way to meadows scattered with wild flowers, its hazelnut groves and its hardworking and determined people. An area of outstanding beauty, the Black Sea coast is Turkey's greenest region, offering a surprising contrast to the rest of the country, with its lush green mountains and valleys, glacial lakes, clear gushing mountain streams and long beaches. The area is sprinkled with early Byzantine and Genoese monasteries and castles, rising impressively from the steep hillsides, and is renowned for its friendly people with their strong cultural traditions. Trabzon is the cultural and commercial center of the Eastern Black Sea region. Until now, the Black Sea coast has also been one of Turkey's least known regions. Trabzon is also increasing in importance as a commercial and business center, particularly in relation to its proximity to the emerging states of the former Soviet Union. Trabzon is easily accessible by air from the international airport of Trabzon or by road or ferry.
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and is the most important and largest port on the Black Sea coast. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the east, Russia and the Caucasus to the North and has connections with the ports of other countries with shores on the Black Sea. Trabzon straddles the trade corridor that stretches from the depths of Asia to deep into Europe thanks to its commercial infrastructure, seen as Organized Industrialized zones, Free Trade Zone, World Trade Center, International Airport, Seaport and University. Trabzon has lots of opportunities in commerce.
Due to its strategic importance and its key position on international trade routes, it has always been a tempting target for powers wishing to dominate the region. In the days of the Ottoman Empire, Trabzon was the third busiest port, after Istanbul and Izmir, both in terms of revenue earned in taxes and in terms of world trade. At that time more than 20 foreign countries had consulates in the city. Until the First World War, Trabzon occupied a vital position on the trade routes between Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Iran, linking East and West. Following the First World War, however, the new political and economic formations that emerged, resulted in the closing of Turkey's eastern gateway. In the subsequent decades, political polarization meant that Trabzon was trapped in a virtual cul-de-sac. In a space of 70 years the city was on the brink of economic strangulation. In 1988, however, the situation began to improve with the opening of the Sarp Frontier crossing point between Turkey and the Soviet Union. This was the only land crossing point in the region, and followed as it was, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of new states, it marked the beginning of a new and prosperous era for Trabzon. Trabzon had now achieved a new key position at the center of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and had become the neighbour of a giant consumer market. Trabzon is one of Turkey's main agricultural regions. About 20% of hazelnut and tea production takes place in Trabzon. In addition to this, substantial amounts of tobacco, potatoes and maize are also produced. Trabzon is also of particular importance to Turkey's fishing sector. 75% of Turkey's fish production takes place in the Black Sea and Trabzon accounts for 20% of the total fish production. Various projects are also underway in the field of fish farming, to rear freshwater fish such as trout and sea fish such as salmon. Trabzon currently has a relatively low level of industrial development. Mush of its industry is agro-based such as the tea and hazelnut-processing facilities. Cement, building materials, medical products, and metal and glass products are also manufactured and there are fish canning factories where fish meal is also produced. In recent years there has been a substantial increase in foreign trade with Trabzon. A wide range of consumer goods has been exported to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) via the Port of Trabzon, which has a capacity of 4 million tons. Many goods, mainly raw materials, have also been imported. The Trabzon Free Zone has achieved a steady rise in its trade volume ever since it was founded. There are currently plans for its expansion to meet the increasing demand and it is expected that it will play a leading role in the increasing trade with the CIS. Tourism is also of increasing importance to Trabzon's economy as more and more foreign tourists explore Turkey's less developed regions, and become aware of the many attractions of the Black Sea coast. At the beginning of the 1990's only four foreign trade firms had offices in Trabzon, but by 1995 this had expanded to over 500, and the rate of foreign investment continues to grow. Trabzon is increasing in importance as an international trade center, functioning as a bridge between the Caucasus, Central Asia and the West and is playing an important role in the growing trade between the Middle East and the CIS. With its modern port, international airport, Free Zone and tourism potential, Trabzon looks forward to a bright and prosperous future.