Nestled in the heart of Turkey’s enchanting Trabzon province, Lake Uzungol stands as a true hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This picturesque lake, surrounded by lush greenery and embraced by towering mountains, offers a tranquil escape for nature enthusiasts and travelers seeking a serene retreat. Join us as we delve into the history, activities, and the journey to this natural wonder.
History of the Lake
Lake Uzungol, often referred to as the “Long Lake,” boasts a rich history that adds depth to its natural beauty. Legend has it that the lake was formed after a massive landslide blocked the path of the Haldizen River, giving birth to this breathtaking oasis.
Over the years, Uzungol has evolved into a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. The surrounding area features charming villages where traditional Turkish hospitality still thrives. You can immerse yourself in the local culture, savoring delicious Turkish cuisine, and exploring centuries-old customs that endure to this day.
What to Do in Uzungol?
1. Stroll by the Shores: Begin your journey by taking a leisurely stroll along the lake’s tranquil shores. The reflections of the surrounding mountains on the emerald waters create a mesmerizing scene that’s perfect for photography.
2. Boat Rides: Embark on a boat ride across the lake. You’ll be captivated by the serene atmosphere and the sense of serenity that envelopes you as you glide over the calm waters.
3. Hiking and Nature Walks: Uzungol is a haven for hikers and nature lovers. There are various trails and paths that lead you through the lush forests and hillsides, offering panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
4. Photography: Whether you’re a professional photographer or a casual snap-happy traveler, Uzungol provides endless opportunities for capturing stunning shots of its natural beauty.
5. Visit Village Markets: Explore the nearby villages and their markets, where you can find locally crafted souvenirs, traditional clothing, and fresh produce.
6. Try Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the chance to indulge in traditional Turkish dishes at local restaurants. Savor kebabs, baklava, and other regional specialties.
Is Uzungol Worth Visiting?
Without a doubt, Uzungol is worth the visit for several compelling reasons:
- Natural Beauty: The lake’s serene waters and the breathtaking backdrop of lush greenery and mountains make it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
- Cultural Experience: Uzungol offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Turkish culture, interact with friendly locals, and savor delicious regional cuisine.
- Outdoor Activities: Whether you’re into hiking, boating, or simply enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature, Uzungol has something to offer every type of traveler.
How to Get to Uzungol from Istanbul?
Traveling to Uzungol from Istanbul is an adventure worth taking. Here’s how you can make the journey:
- Book a flight from Istanbul Airport (IST) to Trabzon Airport (TZX). The flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
- From Trabzon Airport, you can hire a private taxi or rent a car to reach Uzungol, which is about a 90-minute drive away.
- Take a long-distance bus from Istanbul’s main bus terminal, Esenler Otogar, to Trabzon. The bus journey can take around 12-14 hours.
- Upon reaching Trabzon, you can find local buses or shared taxis that provide transportation to Uzungol. The drive from Trabzon to Uzungol takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
By car: you can rent a car from airport and here is the google maps link of the route of Istanbul to Trabzon.
The journey to Uzungol from Istanbul may be long, but the natural beauty and cultural experiences that await make it a worthwhile adventure. Once you arrive at this hidden gem, you’ll understand why it’s a must-visit destination in Turkey’s Trabzon province.
What local food you must try in Uzungol?
When visiting Uzungol, you have the opportunity to savor traditional Turkish cuisine with a regional twist. Here are some local foods and dishes you must try while in Uzungol:
- Muhlama: This creamy and cheesy cornmeal dish is a local favorite. Muhlama is often served as a warm appetizer or side dish. It’s made with cornmeal, butter, cheese, and sometimes garlic, creating a rich and comforting dish.
- Hamsi Pilav: Hamsi (anchovy) is a staple in Black Sea cuisine, and you’ll find it prepared in various ways. One popular dish is Hamsi Pilav, where fresh anchovies are combined with rice and spices, creating a flavorful and hearty meal.
- Laz Böreği: Laz Böreği is a savory pastry that’s a specialty in the region. It consists of layers of thin pastry filled with a mixture of cheese, parsley, and sometimes ground meat. It’s then baked to golden perfection.
- Kuymak: Kuymak is a creamy and cheesy dish that’s similar to muhlama. It’s made with local cheeses and cornmeal, creating a gooey and delightful side dish.
- Karalahana Çorbası: This is a hearty soup made with black cabbage, a staple vegetable in the Black Sea region. The soup often includes beans, rice, and various seasonings, making it a comforting and nutritious choice.
- Local Teas: Uzungol is known for its herbal teas, especially those made from local herbs and flowers. Be sure to try some regional teas for a unique taste of the area.
- Fresh Seafood: Uzungol is close to the Black Sea coast, so you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy fresh seafood, including fish like hamsi (anchovy) and other local catches.
Turkish tea and Turkish Knife shop
In Uzungol, you can explore local shops and markets to find Turkish tea and traditional knives. While Uzungol is more known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, you can still find shops that offer these items, often as souvenirs or gifts. Here’s where you might discover Turkish tea and knives:
- Local Markets and Souvenir Shops: As you stroll through Uzungol, especially in the town center, you’ll come across various local markets and souvenir shops. These places often stock Turkish teas, including popular varieties like Çaykur and Rize tea. You may also find small, decorative Turkish knives as souvenirs.
- Tea Houses and Cafes: Many tea houses and cafes in Uzungol serve traditional Turkish tea. While you can enjoy a cup of tea at these establishments, some of them may also have tea leaves or packages available for purchase.
- Craft Shops: Look for craft shops or stores specializing in handmade and traditional Turkish items. These shops may carry artisanal Turkish knives, often with ornate handles and intricate designs.
- Street Vendors: Occasionally, you might encounter street vendors selling Turkish tea and small souvenirs like knives. Keep an eye out for these local vendors as you explore the area.
- Local Artisans: Uzungol has talented artisans who create unique handcrafted items. You can visit their workshops or studios to find custom-made Turkish knives and other crafts.
- Nearby Towns and Cities: If you’re looking for a wider selection of Turkish teas and knives, consider exploring larger towns or cities in the Trabzon province, such as Trabzon itself. These urban centers typically have a broader range of shopping options.
While Uzungol may not have dedicated tea or knife shops in the same way as larger cities, you can still enjoy the local flavors and craftsmanship by exploring the markets, shops, and cafes within this beautiful region. When your visit to Uzungol is finished, you must visit Sumela Monastery in Trabzon also.