In the Akçaabat district of Trabzon, the district of Ortamahalle, described as the "Safranbolu of the eastern Black Sea," is full of historical mansions that have fascinated thousands of tourists from around the world.
The Ottoman-style houses, fountains, streets and neighborhood culture all attract local and foreign tourists. Ortamahalle also offers local tastes, mainly meatballs and fish. Getting prepared to welcome the first tourists of the season, Ortamahalle is a prime spot for photographers who visit the city.
Ortamahalle was declared as an archeological site in 1988.
Akçaabat Mayor Şefik Türkmen said that along with its natural beauties, flatlands and food culture, Ortamahalle also stands out because of its historical architecture, which he says is "one of the few preserved neighborhoods of its kind in Turkey."
Türkmen said that the houses in Ortamahalle weren't preserved one by one but rather as a quarter, with each having its own typical Ottoman-style architecture with narrow roads, steep stairs, small avenues and fountains.
"We, as the municipality, want to take a larger share from tourism and we constantly strive to enhance the livelihood of this neighborhood," Türkmen said. "Our aim is to best serve local and foreign tourists and ensure that everyone enjoys these beauties." He also added that they value the restoration of Ortamahalle and every building has been restored back to their original quality. The municipality has purchased six mansions and restored them both inside and outside. In addition, there are eating, leisure, resting and accommodation areas as well as souvenir shops, which all serve tourists.
According to Türkmen, the number of visitors is consistently on the rise and all preparations for the new season have been completed. "Therefore, our expectation from tourism this year is higher, which we're very pleased with," Türkmen said.