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Travel

Black Sea: A Traveller’s Handbook for Northern Turkey

Sevan and Müjde Nişanyan, 2000

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All the standard guidebooks cover the Black Sea but they do so often in something of a summary way, with almost all the attention focused on the climbing opportunities of the Kaçkar Mountains. Given the tricky terrain and the time constraints of your average traveller that’s not perhaps suprising. However, it does mean that most visitors miss out on most of what really makes this part of the country tick.

 If you’re serious about getting to grips with the Karadeniz then the book you really need is the Nişanyans small, concise guidebook, published by Boyut but now sadly out of print, that delves into the valleys in a way no other book does.

 The Nişanyans rarely weigh their books down with extraneous detail, but their clipped, insightful prose perfectly pins down the essence of each place they visit while notes at the bottom of each page suggest places to stay and eat along the way. Inevitably these suggestions suffer from the time that has passed since the research was done and you’d be wise to check them against other sources so as not to miss anything new and fantastic as well as to avoid the occasional unpleasant surprise.

 Sevan Nişanyan is a renowned linguist so the added bonus of this book is that it introduces you to the delights of Laz, Hemşin, Pontic Greek and Georgian, the lesser languages of Turkey that rarely manage to grab the airwaves in the way that the Kurdish dialects do.

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