Turkey’s steepest city                       Population: 24,500

artv1Festival: Kafkasör Kültür ve Sanat Festivalı (Caucasus Culture and Art Festival) - early July

The people of hilly Artvin in northeastern Turkey must surely have the healthiest lungs and the best hill-driving skills in the country but, to be frank, this town is not one it’s easy to like.

Built in what must once have been one of the most beautiful locations in the country, a steep hillside above the roaring Çoruh river, it’s now a complete concrete jungle, with the last lovely old Black Sea-style mansions mouldering away unloved in the back streets.

That’s bad enough, but almost all the “hotels” in town actually prefer another trade. Nor are there any particularly inspiring places to eat with the possible exception of the Bakıroğlu Kebap Salonu.

Finally, the otogar, which should logically be at the foot of the hill so that through traffic could bypass the town, is actually three-quarters of the way up it so that every bus must grind up and down the hairpin bends. Then passengers must get out and into a şehiriçi (inner city) bus to make the final brief ascent.

Just as you’re about to despair you stumble upon the elegant Artvin Kültür Evi tucked away in a side street about halfway up the hill on the left. Even as you walk towards it the noise and dust of Artvin starts to fall away. Then you arrive in front of a lovely half stone, half wooden mansion whose various rooms and pleasant garden now house a restaurant and tea garden.artv2


Karahan Hotel 

Otel Sadıkoğlu 

As an alternative to the Karahan, this small hotel serves a mainly business clientele in its small, modern rooms. Unfortunately those at the front are blighted by traffic noise from the one-way system. The breakfast room is small but blissfully quiet, the breakfasts run-of-the-mill but adequate. There’s a small sitting area in reception.

Tel: 0466-212 2162, www.sadikoglu.com

artv3Day trip destinations





Transport info

Warning! Construction work for the Deriner Dam is continuing into its second decade. Since there is only one mountain road that has to be used by traffic and the construction teams road closures of up to one and a half hours at a time are a daily normality and make nonsense of bus timetables to Şavşat and Ardanuç in particular. Make sure you take water with you as there is none for sale at the stopping place.

Regular dolmuşes to Ardanuç (45 mins), Borçka (45 mins) and Yusufeli stop at around 5pm in the afternoon; Hopa minibuses keep going a little longer. There’s one daily service to Meydancık, leaving around lunchtime and returning the next day.

Artvin now has a new otogar near Köprü at the bottom of the hill and back on the Savşat road. In Sept 2012 it was only being used by long-distance buses but local minibuses were expected to relocate there soon. There are no servises to the town centre from the otogar; you must take and pay for a dolmuş.

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action;jsessionid=CBBC5CA8437AA1759A52B3E8783A541E?newsId=254362&columnistId=0

artv6No bulls are killed during summer bullfights that take place as part of the Kafkasör Festival in the Kafkasör Yaylası near Artvin

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