Rize (Greek: Ρίζα; Laz: რიზინი; Georgian: რიზე; Ottoman Turkish: ريزه) is a coastal city in the eastern part of the Black Sea Region of Turkey. It is the seat of Rize Province and Rize District. Its population is 119,828 (2021). Rize is a typically Turkish provincial capital with little in the way of nightlife or entertainment. However the border with Georgia has been open since the early 1990s, the Black Sea coast road has been widened and the town is much wealthier than it used to be. Current Turkish President Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan's family has its roots in Rize and the local university is named after him. The city is linked by road with Trabzon (41 miles [66 km] west), Hopa (55 miles [88 km] east on the Georgian border, and Erzurum (south). Rize–Artvin Airport started operating in 2022.
Arrian was the first writer to mention Rize. In his Periplus of the Euxine Sea, he described it as a city founded at the mouth of the river of the same name, the ancient and Byzantine ῾Ρίζιος ποταμός.Dated to 130–131AD and written as a letter to Roman Emperor Hadrian, the work records how its author, the governor of Cappadocia, made a tour of the Eastern Black Sea territories that formed part of his jurisdiction, first visiting the Roman Empire's Eastern Anatolian frontier garrisons before pushing on to the Black Sea coast in the Trabzon (Trebizond) region. The city of Rize formed part of the historic Georgian province of Chaneti (Georgian: ჭანეთი).
From 1547, Chaneti province was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and became a part of the sancak of Lazistan. The city was claimed by the short-lived Democratic Republic of Georgia between 1918 and 1920. On the basis of the 1921 Treaty of Kars, Soviet Russia granted Rize to Turkey along with the other territories of Artvin, Ardahan, and Hopa (Georgian: ხუფათი).
Rize in 1890s
Rize, 1910s, Ottoman-era postcard
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