ZilIt was once as mystically remote as Timbuktu, a place one heard about but never quite managed to get to, so rough was the road beyond Çamlıhemşin. Now, sadly, the authorities have rebuilt Zil Kalesi. It still stands just as dramatically on a plug of rock 750m above sea level amid dense woodland overlooking a Black Sea valley but now it looks like a child's idea of a castle, all sense of its history stripped away from it. 

It is believed to have been built in the 13th century by the breakaway Byzantine Commenian dynasty in Trabzon and then to have been rebuilt in the 16th century by the Ottomans as a checkpoint on the Silk Road, working in collaboration with Kale-i Bala even further up the valley (and mercifully not rebuilt - as yet).

Transport info

There are no bus services on the road to Şenyuva and Zil Kalesi from Çamlıhemşin although the road is now driveable for most of the year. The castle is 15km past Çamlıhemşin where taxi wait to drive you there. 

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