Perched in gravity-defying fashion on a cliff face near Trabzon, this is one of the oldest monasteries in the Christian world and a highlight of any trip to Turkey’s Black Sea region. Legend has it that the site’s founder, an Athenian monk named Barnabas, had ventured into these wild, misty mountains in a successful quest to find a wooden icon of the Virgin Mary painted by St. Luke of Biblical fame.
Over the centuries, and under successive empires, the monastery grew and prospered until the 1923 Greek-Turkey population exchange, which saw its abandonment. Though the complex eventually sprawled into 72 rooms, the two simple chambers Barnabas carved out of the rock in 385 AD to protect the icon of Mary still form its heart. This so-called "Rock Church", covered with frescoes, rivals those in Cappadocia and Istanbul.
Gito is another wonderful plateau in the Çamlıhemşin of Rize, stretching out over the beautiful Fırtına River valley with wonderful views overlooking it. This is a spot where you can see the clouds dancing before you.
It's been recently developed for outside visitors, and is clean with signposts for hiking and picnicking. The atmosphere is somewhat mysterious, as clouds and fog are a constant with trees and the river peeking through them at unexpected moments.
The plateau is 23 km far away from Çamlıhemşin District and has an altitude of 2002 meters. It is one of the plateaus highlighted with its traditional wooden houses, authentic structure and view. The walking distance to Pokut Plateau is 15 minutes. The plateau is used by the people of Çinçiva Village in Çamlıhemşin and the transhumants come to the plateau as from July. It is possible to see Kafkas Mountains and Black Sea in fine weathers. Plateau houses can be used for accommodation. Camping is also available.
It is the first of Sal-Hazindağ plateau series which is located in between the valley created by Pokut, Fırtına and Hala streams which are 15 km far away from Çamlıhemşin. The plateau is ideal for nature-walk, photography and resting and has a rich biological diversity and a remarkable authentic architecture. Foggy views and the authentic wooden houses offer a mystic and authentic atmosphere.
There are plateau houses providing service as pensions within the plateau. You can pass to Sal Plataeu from here (15 minutes). Transhumants come to the plateau on August and stay until October. If Samistal-Kavron-Maçkun Pass route is used for reaching Pokut, a mysterious track surrounded by natural old forests and spring waters is to be followed.
The plateau is within the boundaries of Çamlıhemşin district. Huser Plateau is located on the mountains on the left side of the entrance of Ayder. Due to its altitude and location, it offers the opportunity of watching all the plateaus connected to Ayder and the unique view of Kaçkar Mountains. It is the best scenic plateau in the region and is one of the tours that visitors enjoy the most. If the weather is sunny, you cannot take your eyes off its view. The plateau has a view starting from Kaçkar Altıparmak Mountains southwards and going along Kaçkar Kemerli, Kaçkar Kavrun and Kaçkar Verçenik Mountains.
You will be able to see Palakçur, Avusor, Çeymakçur and Kavrun Valleys, Black Sea coastline behind you and Hazindak and Pokut Sal ridges on the opposite side. In other words, you will be able to see everywhere in between 0 m - 4000m. It is a perfect route for a day-trip starting from Ayder.
The facilities within the plateau are doing their best to provide service for the visitors. A remarkable dynamism has been observed within the plateau in recent years due to the vehicle road built in 2007. Many tourists reach Huser through a day-trip walking tour starting from especially Ayder Plateau and enjoy the magnificent view. Facility works (pension etc.) are still continuing.
The plateau can be reached through a pathway (2-3 hours) behind Bukla hotel (Ayder). The distance of a specific pathway is app. 3 km. There are directional signs at many points of this pathway which is frequently used by the residents of the plateau and tours. In order to reach the plateau by car; you have to go to Avusor Plateau road and turn left after 2 km. It is possible to reach the plateau through the vehicle road (app. 20-30 minutes) that is accompanied by a beautiful view.
Bulut Waterfall which is the highest waterfall in Turkey can be reached through a 2 km. pathway from Kaplıca Village Tolikço Neighborhood which is 11 km far away from Çamlıhemşin district of Rize and 7 km far away from Ayder Plateau. It is almost impossible to see the whole waterfall that falls in four levels from an altitude of app. 250 meters. The top of the waterfall is covered by clouds even when there is no fog. The adventurous journey of Tar Stream where Bulut Waterfall flows starts from the slopes of Kaçkar Mountains.
The snow waters coming from Altıparmak (3492 m) summit (one of the most important summits of Kaçkar mountain chain) by melting forms Tar Stream by merging with different streamlets. Tar Stream named as Derebaşı, Kaçkar and Tolikçot in higher parts moves forward rapidly in order to reach Hala Stream. The stream that passes Upper and Lower Kaçkar plateaus and Lodiçur Plateau enters into a valley covered with a forest composed of pine, oak, linden, chestnut trees, hornbeam and plane trees.
One of the important tributaries of Tar Stream (that contains many large and small streamlets) is Bulut Waterfall coming from Seyran Hill (altitude: 2451 meters). Its water falls down from the very high cliff very loudly.
The 1800 m. route which starts from Tolikçot junction (where chestnut honey sellers open a booth) has been put into service of travelers including information boards, recreation places, camping site, walking platform, waterfall lagoon and suspension bridge. This short track that gives the feeling as you are taking a trip in a tropical jungle facilitates the access to the waterfall. You can spend a pleasant time here by listening to the voice of water that would make you peaceful and by watching the water-lilies on the lagoon.
Çat Village & Bridge
Çat Bridge that provides the transportation from Çamlıhemşin settlement to the villages on Artvin and Erzurum side is on the way of the old trade route.
This tired bridge that connects the steep passes of Kaçkar and Verçenik Mountains was one of the touchstones of the animal and dried fruit trade route in the past. The bridge is located at the point where Çat and Elevit streams merge and is 28 km far away from Çamlıhemşin. According to the information received from local sources, the bridge was built by Kirkor Usta in 1901.
The bridge which is within the boundaries of Çat village and also called as Çilanç has been repaired a few times due to flood. There are stairs in its entrance part and niches on its foot. Its round arch is covered with regular face stone and its ground is covered with small-sized stream stone. Its side wings are covered with irregular rubble stone. The length of the bridge is app. 57 meters, its height is 15 meters and its width is 2,4 meters. It is one of the registered bridges in Rize province.