Tea plantations on the slopes above Rize (Wiki Comons/Melront)
The tea capital of the Black Sea coast has produced çay for the country since the 1940s. The climate is mild but it has up to 100 inches of rain a year, giving it a constant fesh, damp air, ideal for growing kiwi fruit as well as tea. The town is not particularly attractive, but it is set in a bay surrouinded by lush hills. Among the steep slopes is the Çaykur Tea and Botany Garden. Hemşinlis and Laz communities occupy some of the yaylas in the hills. There is skiing in winter and the nearby gushing River Firtina offers white water sports, while hikers head for villages such as Çamlıhemşin in the Kaçkar mountains.
Rize is 80km east of Trebzon, on the highweay to Georgia.