Visited by Marco Polo, the ancient city of Trabzon, Turkey, on the Black Sea 400 mi/645 km northeast of Ankara, has one of the best-preserved Byzantine monuments in Turkey, the 13th-century frescoed Aya Sofya Church (now a museum).

Other sights include the 16th-century Gulbahar Hatun Cami (mosque) and the citadel.

About 30 mi/48 km southwest of Trabzon is an impressive Byzantine monastery built into a cliff at Sumela, at an elevation of 3,900 ft/1,190 m. While in the area, drive south through the stunning Zigana Gecidi Pass to see the varied scenery—we enjoyed passing shepherds with their flocks in the fields.

Some local foods here are also worth trying: pide (a pizzalike bread with cheese), kofte (spiced turkish meatballs), kiymali (meat served with butter), and "Vakfikebir" or "Trabzon" bread, a hearty sourdough loaf baked in a woodfire stone oven.

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