Traditional Life and Handicrafts in Trabzon

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Traditional Life and Handicrafts in Trabzon

Being open towards other cultures and religions plays a significant role in life styles of people of Trabzo. Muslims and Christians lived together in the past as well as today, making the city a proud heir to a rich cultural heritage. Folklore is still a living tradition in Trabzon and the Black Sea Region. Known as Horon in Trabzon and the surrounding areas, horon is a famous folk dance peculiar to the region, and it is performed by men, women, young and elderly people in festivities, local weddings, and harvest times. Folk dancers perform horon more energetically when it is accompanied by kemençe (stringed musical instrument peculiar to the region). Yet this folk dance can also be accompanied by drum, zurna (oboe at pre-sent), and flageolet. Folk dancers wear traditional folkloric costumes while performing horon. Men wear shirt, vest, jacket, zipka (pants made of wool and gathered at the knees) and black boots. On their jackets are silver embroideries, amulets and hemayils with religious expressions put inside these small silver containers to be protected against evil actions and evil’s eye. On the other hand, women dancers wear colourful dresses and traditional hand painted head scarves including various motifs. Importance given traditionally to education and culture during the Ottoman Period in Trabzon is still continuing with a lot of educational institutions and (KTU) Karadeniz Technical University in the city. The first Turkish Newspaper Trabzon’ as was printed here in the city in 1866, and an important progress in this field has been made since then. Local populace in Trabzon has a great interest in theatre. Therefore, a State Theatre was founded in the city in 1987.

As success in sport, Trabzonspor has contributing to introduction of city and the region. In the field of soccer in Anatolia, Trabzonspor had played an important role both notional and international. Beside this the first soccer team was created in 1921 and Trabzon has five professional and hundreds amateur soccer teams.

Trabzon offers a rich variety of traditional handicraſts and handmade souvenirs to visitors. Copper work is one of the living traditions in the city since the Ottoman Period, and handmade copper cauldrons, bowls, frying pans, and saucepans are all available today. Traditional tea shears (used in tea harvest) and hemayils are still produced in the city.

Due to the dense forests in Trabzon, woodwork is among the common handicraſts in the region. Some of small wooden handicraſts peculiar to the city are churns, (külek: a storing pot for cheese), and spoons.

One of the oldest handicraſts in the city is weaving, wool, linen threads and other similar raw materials are spun in hand looms to produce various local cloths, heybe (shoulder bags) and bags. Strong threads and knitted threads are also produced in hand looms.

Wicker Baskets

Made of nut branches, wicker baskets are produced in nearly all districts of Trabzon. People living in the Black Sea Region designed various wicker baskets for different purposes such as carrying on back and arm, or just putting down. Flattish basket for bread, back basket, nut basket, and tea basket are some of the wicker basket types produced in the city.

Heybe (Shoulder Bag)

 It is a woven shoulder bag which is closed by gathering its threads. It is generally used for carrying food in bazaars.

Kazazlık (Jewellery)

This handmade jewelry peculiar to the city is made of weaving threads, which are created by wrapping very thin silver wires (0.08 micron) around silk, with a needle like an embroidery canvas.

Hasır Bilezik (Bracelet)

Hasır Bilezik is a precious bracelet peculiar to the city. It is woven with very thin golden or silver wires by hand.

Sürmene Knife

Around 15-20 cm in length, these local knives are sharp or round pointed, and include engraved ornaments between its handle and sharp side.

Yayık (Churn)

For making butter and ayran in plateau houses, churns are used by moving back and front quickly. Bottom part of these wooden vessels is wide, and it is 120-130 cm long.

Keşan And Peştemal Clothes

Keşan and Peştemal are the local clothes which are woven at wooden hand looms, and painted with madder dye. Each area in the city has its own motifs for designing their peştemals. Local women generally use keşan as a head scarf and peştemal by wrapping around their waists. Also, these hand woven produces can be used as bed sheets and decorative clothes.


These socks are made from painted or unpainted wools which are naturally white and brown. Featuring triangular motifs on them, hand knitted socks of Trabzon can be used by men, women and kids, also believed to protect against evil’s eye.

Telkari (Wire work)

The origin of wire work stretches in history; it is known that wirework was a popular art in Mesapotamia in 3000 BC, and in Anatolia, Ancient Greek and Rome in 2500 BC. Aſter the 15th century, it began to spread out on the east and southeast Anatolia. With the influence of wirework masters from Dagestan, this art also became popular in Trabzon. Among common designs of wirework in the city are liqueur and coffee sets, tea tray and miniature slippers.

Copper work

The richest copper mines of Anatolia lie in the Black Sea Region. Copper, bronze and brass became various traditional kitchen utensils aſter processed in the skillful hands of the craſtsmen of Trabzon.

Spoon Made of Boxwood

Boxwood is one of the common tree species in Of and Yomra locations of the city. However, Köprübaşı district is famous for its spoons made of boxwood. These spoons vary in size and types such as small, large and ladle ones.


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