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Culture has always played an important role in the Iives of the people of the Trabzon region. Traditionally, it is a region where Christians and Muslims have Iived side by side producing an atmosphere of tolerance and cultural crossfertilisation.Today, the people of the Black Sea are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality.

Folklore traditions are still very much alive in the Trabzon area. The folk dances of the region, known as the ''Horon'' are renowned, and are danced by men and women, young and old alike, at any celebration be it a wedding, or a harvest. Each village has its own variation, and each dance has its own special meaning, symbolising happiness, hopefulness or sorrow as the case may be.

The Horon is accompanied by traditinal music played on a type of small violin, which has been in use since medieval times, and which has a Iively sound mirroring the vigour and spirit of the dancers themselves. it is often accompanied by drums, horns and shepherd's flutes.

On special occasions these dancers can still be seen performing in traditional costume. The men are dressed in a shirt, a coat and waistcoat woven from coarse, woolen material, with knee breaches and boots as weel as a 'hemayil', which is a silver container decorated with an ornamental monogram dating from the time of the Sultans. Inside the container is a religious paper to protect from the evil spirits or 'evil eye'. The women are dressed in colourful dresses with an apron, head scarf and brightly coloured socks.

Trabzon has a fine tradition of academic excellence beginning with the Ottoman religious seminaries and continued today by the Karadeniz (Black Sea) Technical University. Founded in 1963 with the Faculty of Engineering, the students of today can study a variety of subjects including Oceanography.

The first Turkish newspapers, called 'Trabzon' was printed in the area in 1866, and since then the market for newspapers, magazines and periodicals has flourished, bearing witnees to the high Ievel of journalistic and cultural Iife in the area. Theatre is also of great importance to the people of Trabzon with a number of amateur and folk theatre groups providing the basis for the founding, in 1987 , of the Trabzon State Theatre.

The traditional cuisine of the area is Iargely based around the anchovy, fished in the Black Sea, which is also of great cultural significance. Other Iocal delicacies include cabbage soup, 'kuymak' which is a kind of pudding made from cornflour, cheese and butter, and 'pide' a type of bread.

The sporting excellence of the region should also be mentioned, and, in particular, the success of the Iocal football team, Trabzonspor, which is the only Turkish team, outside Istanbul, to have enjoyed substantial national and international success. The first football clubs in the area were formed as early as 1921 , and Trabzon currently boasts five professional clubs, including Trabzonspor, as well as over 1 00 amateur clubs.

Trabzon is renowned for its traditional handicrafts, all made from natural materials available Iocally. Trabzon was one of the main copper minnig centres of the Ottoman Empire, and was famous for its copper cauldrons, ewers, bowls and buckets. The art of beaten copper still flourished today. During the 19th century, metalwork was still of great importance to the people of Trabzon, who worked iron and copper into items such as knives and jewellery. Filigree work is still available and tea shears, used in the tea plantations.

In this heavily forested region, Iocal people have always used wood as their main material for building. They also carve wooden furniture, tubs and churns for use in cheesemaking as well as many smaller items such as baskets and spoons.

The oldest of the region's crafts is textile production. Different fabrics were produced on the wool, Iinen and cashmere Iooms out of which were made items such as clothes, cradle canopies, bags and saddle-bags. Cord and braid were woven on simple floor or portable looms. Unfortunately, the textiles which used to be produced in the villages have been abandoned as too Iabour intensive, and the brightly coloured, embroidered stockings, once worn by the local women, have been replaced by synthetics.

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