The Country Houses that Ride ‘the Storm’


In the rain forests of Turkey’s Black Sea Mountains, where jackals howl and the River Firtina (the Storm) crashes towards the Black Sea, live the Hemşinli people, who were here when Jason came in search of the Golden Fleece. In more recent years they prospered as bakers and restaurateurs in Tsarist Russia, returning to their beautiful, haunting country houses hidden in the hills east of Trabzon. Patricia Daunt visits one family and shares their memories of a Chekhovian rural life. Photographs by Simon Upton

Even before Jason led his band of heroes along the shores of the Black Sea – then known as the Euxine – to fetch the Golden Fleece from the foot of Mount Caucasus, the Hemşinli inhabited the rainforests in the surrounding valleys of the Kaçkar Mountains. The pragmatic Hemşinli are a singular race even by Black Sea standards. Isolated in remote, narrow valleys, they have preserved their own language, dress and customs.

The heartland of the Hemşinli is the Fırtına Valley, the “Storm” valley now known as the Büyükdere, one of the most beautiful places in the world. This is a wild and we land of thundering rivers and misty landscapes, where jackals howl unceasingly and beehives are hidden high in the trees out of reach of the honey-loving bears.

To read the full article, purchase Issue 12

Issue 12, 1997 Black Sea Issue
£30.00 / $38.45 / 139.95 TL
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 12
  • Over the hills and far away

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  • Farmhouse Style

    Outside the seraglio, away from the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, the Turkish interior is a source of inspiration for modern designers: ergonomic, minimalist, refreshingly white-washed.

Buy the issue
Issue 12, 1997 Black Sea Issue
£30.00 / $38.45 / 139.95 TL
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