Photographer's Note

Just came back from a 6-day trip to Trabzon, in the beautiful Black Sea ("Karadeniz" in turkish) region, on the northeast side of Turkey, a region known to Greeks as "Πόντος" ("Pontos" or "Pontus"). Fantastic landscapes, very dense vegetation, imposing mountains, beautiful alpine sceneries, picturesque valleys, dozens of rivers and lakes in this beautiful corner of Turkey.

The weather was bad, too cloudy, sometimes foggy, too wet, very low visibility, even in the heart of summer, but on the other hand that gave the opportunity for some atmospheric shots. This one was taken in Uzun lake (Uzungol, old greek name, "Σεράχο"=(Seraho"), about 48 km from Of town (old greek name "Οφις"="Ofis", means "snake") and around 100 km from Trabzon (old greek name, "Τραπεζούντα"="Trapezounta").

There were many Orthodox/Greeks living for centuries in the whole region of the Black Sea, that where sent to Greece in 1923-24, being part of the exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece, according to the Treaty of Laussane. There are still people living in the region, that speak greek (the Pontic dialect) in some of the valleys, including the one from Of to Uzungol and the villages on both sides of the valley.

In this particular region (Trabzon Prefecture) a visitor should not miss the magnificent Sumela Monastery, dedicated to Virgin Mary (known to the locals as Meryemana*,Meryem:Mary Ana:Mother Meryem Ana:Mother Mary)which is the greatest pilgrimage for all Pontic-Greeks (you' ll see some photos in the near future).

Every summer, thousands of Pontic Greeks organize excursions from Greece to the Black Sea region, just to see Sumela Monastery and the villages of their ancestors. This summer they are expected to be even more, because there will be a Christian Orthodox Mass, celebrated under his Holiness, the Orthodox Patriarch, Vartholomaios, in the monastery, for the first time in the last 90 years. This will take place on the 15th of August, the most important summer Orthodox feast, The Dormition of Virgin Mary, also know as "The Summer Easter".

*Many thanks to Korkut and Selman for the correction about "Meryemana"!

Copyright 2010 Hercules Milas. The reproduction, publication, modification, transmission or exploitation of any work contained herein for any use, personal or commercial, without my prior written permission is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved

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Additional Photos by Hercules Milas (Cretense) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5327 W: 74 N: 16998] (68709)
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