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On Location: Circumnavigating the Black Sea
Our trip began in Istanbul with the Dolmabahce Palace, the Spice Bazaar, and the beautiful tiles of the Rustem Pasha Mosque, built by the vizier of the great sultan, Sulieman the Magnificent. Leaving Istanbul, the setting sun illuminated the minarets of both the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia.
Our first full day touring took us to the fishing village of Amasra, giving us a taste of how people lived along the Turkish Black Sea coast for centuries. A bus ride into the interior of Turkey took us to Amasya, a very ancient city with rock-cut tombs of Pontic kings in the side of the enormous rocky mountain that dominates the city. The Green River flows in elegant curves through Amasya and traditional konak houses are clustered along the riverside. Lunch was at a restaurant so high up it looked like one was flying in a plane over the city, giving an aerial view of the many monuments, which include a mosque by the greatest Ottoman architect, Sinan.
Trabzon was also marvelous; the sensational Sumela Monastery left everyone speechless. Few sites in the world are so impressive, with the remote Monastery seeming to defy gravity hanging on the precipitous cliffs of a mountain!
The Gelati Monastery in Georgia was also lovely, though the real highlight of the country was the young folk musicians and dancers, whose traditional dances are among the most vibrant in the world.
We visited the Livadia Palace in Yalta, where Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill signed treaties at the end of the war, before steaming from Sevastopol to Odessa to exlpore the Crimean peninsula.
Next, we climb the Odessa steps made famous in Sergei Eisenstein’s famous film of 1925, The Battleship Potemkin, before finishing up along the Danube River Delta.
Have you ever circumnavigated the Black Sea? What were your favorite places? Let us know, below!