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SÜRMENE

Home to the Kastell                                       Population: 17,500

13Market day: Tuesday

On a bluff beside the main road as you head east from Trabzon towards Rize stands the impressive fortified Memişağa Konağı, a mansion often simply called the Kastell, which seems to have been created for a member of the Yakupoğlu family during the 19th century.

Externally, it’s an imposing building, its stone-built ground floor supporting a distinctively half-timbered upper storey, but really it’s the lovely woodwork of the interior that you’ve come to see, along with the frescoes of local fruits that adorn the walls of the selamlık (the men’s room), the fine stone-built fireplaces, and the curious private hamam that provided central heating for the house.

200 DSC01664Across the road from the Kastell is another fine house, apparently also due for restoration.

Hard though it is to believe it now, these two houses once looked straight out on the sea. Now they have the Black Sea highway right in front of them.

As you return to the centre of Sürmene, look towards the inland side of the road to see a cluster of big Ottoman houses with so many windows that the walls could almost be made of glass. These are thought to have been a later development from the architecture of the Kastell, designed at a time when life was more stable, and homes no longer needed to be semi-fortified.

Within Sürmene itself a few more old Black Sea houses hunker down amid the high-rises. One can only imagine their owners giving up on any prospect of maintaining them and moving onto pastures more modern. 

15Transport info

Minibuses for Sürmene and points east leave from the minibus terminal facing Trabzon harbour. They will drop you off in front of the Memişağa Konağı which lies on the far eastern side of the town where it merges into Yeniay. Out of season you may have to ask around for the caretaker.

 

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