Sparrowhawk Country                       Population: 28,700


Market day: Tuesday

For those with time on their hands Rize makes the best base for exploring the Laz lands of the eastern Black Sea coast.

Strictly speaking, Lazland consists of the five small towns of Pazar, Ardeşen. Fındıklı, Arhavi and Hopa that lie to the east of Rize.

The mountainous terrain has ensured that they remain separate settlements rather than blurring into each other but in every other way the five towns are virtual clones of each other. In each case the town boundaries are marked by rivers that cascade down from the mountains and out to sea while their centres are dominated by fine, newly built mosques and the smoke-belching towers of the Çaykur tea factories on which so many local livelihoods depend.

The largest of the towns is Ardeşen whose inhabitants are so fond of atmacalılık (hawking) that even the town’s logo incorporates an image of a bird.

To catch the hawkers at their busiest you really need to visit in late summer or autumn when the birds return from summering in Africa. Aficionados gather at the offices of a dernek (foundation) dedicated to hawking that can be found tucked up beside the small fish market. They’ll be more than happy to fill you in on the details of their hobby.ardes1

As you wander round Ardeşen you’ll probably spot a handful of mainly elderly women whose heads and shoulders are covered by the traditional maroon and white keşan shawl.


Kulaber Balık Lokantası

An extraordinary little cafe serving up home-cooked Black Sea fare including hamsi (anchovies) on rice and cabbage in assorted forms. It's lost its sea view to the Black Sea Highway but still has a wonderfully authentic vibe. 

Tel: 0464-715 5320, Balık Halı No. 5

Transport info

Buses to Ardeşen leave from Rize's local bus terminal in the town centre.

Read more about Ardeşen market: http://www.turkeyfromtheinside.com/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=48&Itemid=218

Read Alexander Christie-Miller on falconry: http://www.thewhitereview.org/features/forgotten-sea-the-falconers-of-the-eastern-pontos/

ardes2Laz lunch on the stove





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