Blue And Green: Ramadan In The North

Hasan Mert Kaya Ahmet Bilal Arslan June 2014

LONG BUT OFFERING PLENTY OF THE PURE PEACE THAT COMES WITH FASTING, SUMMER RAMADANS ARE EXPERIENCED IN THE REFRESHING ATMOSPHERE OF A DIFFERENT SORT OF ENTHUSIASM ON TURKEY’S EMERALD GREEN NORTH COAST.

Blue And Green: Ramadan In The North

Home to a vast and virgin world, the Black Sea coast is your best bet if you’d like to partake in an atmosphere of meditation whose natural landscapes will sweep you away in the arms of a gentle breeze during a hot summer Ramadan. We’ve put together seven attractive oases in the Black Sea region, which combines the green and blue of its refreshing highlands and burbling streams with a cultural world brimming with history and hospitality.

İĞNEADA AND THE LONGOSE GROVES
If you’re going to be in Istanbul or Thrace during Ramadan, İğneada and Demirköy on the Black Sea’s European coast are within easy reach for enjoying the cool sea breezes. An experience like no other awaits you throughout Ramadan at the western end of the Black Sea with its 22-kilometer-long coastline, historic Ottoman mosques, magnificent fishing port and natural-wonder longose (Hedychium gardnerianum) groves. Discover the cool breezes of the Yıldız Mountains and the quiet of nature that rests the soul in their rushing streams.

ŞİLE, RİVA, AĞVA, KANDIRA
You can either make day trips from the Istanbul city center to Şile, Riva and Ağva on the Black Sea coast, or you can stay overnight at the charming bed&breakfasts and boutique hotels here, where you will enjoy the cool Black Sea air by day and traditional Ramadan festivities in the center of town at night. Kandıra, some 2-3 hours from Istanbul, is the newly rising star of the Black Sea region, and the alternative routes from here to Sapanca and Düzce are extremely pleasant and easy.

TRANQUIL COAST AT KASTAMONU
With its historic mosques and madrasa and its cultural fabric, Kastamonu is a Black Sea region just waiting to be explored. You’ll feel the peace of Ramadan deep in your soul at Kastamonu with its lush green forests, fishing ports and the endless beaches at İnebolu and Cide. There’s no doubt either that the local people’s long-standing Ramadan traditions have a hand in it. You can even pray at the historic Çivisiz (built without using any nails) and Nasrullah Mosques. Kastamonu, which also boasts outstanding cuisine, is just the spot for sharing the Ramadan morning and evening meals and partaking in the Ramadan spirit.

THE BLACK SEA OASIS: SİNOP
Sinop is one of the liveliest centers of summer tourism on the Black Sea. The city, which stands out for the quality and abundance of its touristic facilities, its pleasant beaches, its Ramadan activities and its rich cuisine, is fast becoming one of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations.  Bursting with Seljuk and Ottoman monuments, Sinop is a Black Sea oasis where you will experience the spiritual climate of Ramadan to the full.

THE STREAMS OF ORDU
With its highlands and hazelnut groves and its Fatsa coast, Ordu is the Black Sea’s hidden paradise. Stay overnight in the hotels at the city center or in the private homes operating as bed&breakfasts, and escape the scorching summer heat with long hikes on the shore far from the madding crowd. Ordu with its special Ramadan traditions is your best bet for peace and quiet.

FROM RİZE TO TRABZON
Rize and Trabzon are two precious gems in the Black Sea’s emerald green landscape. With the numerous modern accommodations that have opened in recent years, Rize and, especially, Trabzon have become a popular itinerary with tourists. Trabzon with its vast sea, refreshing highlands, and historic mosques is one of the Black Sea locations most in demand during Ramadan. In addition to the as yet unspoiled Uzungöl highland, you will enjoy the Ramadan of your dreams in the naturally modest comfort of the homes here, surrounded by mosques. Rize and Trabzon are paradise on earth where you will experience the holiness of Ramadan as well as enjoying the rich flavors of nature.

GATEWAY TO THE CAUCASUS: ARTVİN
Artvin at the far end of our Black Sea itinerary appeals with its vast forests, rich natural life and authentic architecture. Traditional Ramadan festivities, refreshingly pure highland air, and natural flavors all come together in Artvin, where an exploration route from the seashore to the highlands awaits you. You can also make an enjoyable outing to Tbilisi, just across the border in Georgia, which Turks can enter without a visa.

FIRST THOUGHTS
Abant, Bartın, Safranbolu, Devrek, Çorum and Erzurum are a few other touristic destinations within easy reach of the Black Sea region.

GETTING THERE
Turkish Airlines has daily turnaround flights to a number of Black Sea towns such as Kastamonu, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Sinop and Trabzon.