A Vilayet Of Asiatic Turkey, extending, in a generally narrow strip from 20 to 80 m. wide, about 360 m. along the S. coast of the Black sea, between Ion. 35° 40' and 42° E., bounded N. E. by the Russian division of Transcaucasia, E. by Erzerum, S. by Erzerum and Sivas, and W. by Kastamuni; area, about 15,000 sq. m.; pop. estimated at 940,000. The scenery on the coast is remarkably beautiful. The mountains rise immediately from the sea to the height of from 6,000 to 8,000 ft. in the east (in single peaks much higher), and nearly 5,000 ft. in the west, and are clothed with every variety of vegetation, from grass to dense forests. The country is generally well wooded and mountainous, and has but little arable land. The principal rivers are the Tchoruk, which enters the sea near the E. frontier, and the Yeshil Irmak and Kizil Irmak, the lower courses of which drain the W. part of the province. The climate is temperate but variable, being subject to cold winds from the Black sea, bearing rain and fog. The province is decidedly healthful. There are numerous fertile valleys and well cultivated tracts, but the country does not produce sufficient grain for home consumption. The inhabitants are described as bold and hardy. In many districts they are isolated cottagers, there being few villages.
There are 56,-000 Christians in the province, of whom two thirds belong to the Greek church, and the rest are Armenians. The chief towns, besides the capital, are Tireboli (anc. Tripolis), Keresun (Cerasus), Rizah (Rhizus), Batum (Ballujs), and Samsun. The vilayet embraces the main parts of ancient Pontus, extending both E. and W. beyond its limits.
A City (Anc. Trapezius), capital of the vilayet, sometimes called Tarabazan, on the S. E. shore of the Black sea, in lat. 41° 1' N, Ion. 39° 45' E., 560 m. due E. of Constantinople; pop. about 40,000. It is the first Turkish commercial port on the Black sea, and the entrepot of an extensive trade with the interior provinces and Persia. A peninsula separates the harbor into two ports, of which the eastern affords shelter and anchorage for the largest vessels. There is a lighthouse here and another at Platana, a roadstead about 6 m. W. of Trebizond. Four steamship lines connect the city with the principal ports of Turkey and southern Russia. Grain, from Russia and the Danube, is the chief article of import; the exports produced in the province itself include flax, nuts, butter, beans, linseed, fruits, tobacco, rice, wine, olive oil, fish oil, beeswax, and timber. The overland trade with Persia is valued at more than $6,500,000 per annum, and gives employment to 60,000 pack horses, 6,000 asses, 2,000 camels, and 3,000 oxen. Tobacco, silk, raisins, and carpets are exported from Persia for shipment at Trebizond, whence are imported cotton and woollen goods, tea, sugar, glass ware, hardware, and European manufactured goods of many kinds.
The inland traffic with Anatolia, on the west, represents a value of more than $2,500,000; the exports through Trebizond comprising grain, potatoes, fruits, skins, wax, honey, and chestnuts. The city consists of an old and a new town, the former surrounded by walls and towers enclosing the citadel, which stands upon the flat top of a steep rock. The modern town is mainly without these walls on the E. side. Trebizond is well paved and drained, but the houses generally are neither commodious nor comfortable. There are 40 mosques, 18 Mohammedan schools, and 16 churches, of which 9 are Greek, 4 Armenian, 1 Catholic Armenian, 1 Latin, and 1 Presbyterian. - Trapezus was founded by a colony from Sinope, and was a liourishing town when Xenophon arrived there on his retreat from Gunaxa. It became subject to the Romans by conquest from Mithridates. The emperor Trajan constructed a mole to improve the port, and made it the capital of eastern or Cappadocian Pontus. During the reign of Gallienus it was plundered and nearly destroyed by the Goths, but in the time of Justinian it had completely recovered, and was made the capital of a province which included Pontus and some part of Armenia. In 1201: it became the seat of an independent branch of the Comnenus family (see Alexis, and Byzantine Empire), under whom the territory was called the empire of Trebizond. It continued subject to this line of rulers until it was conquered by the Turks in 1461.