Creative architectural solutions always attract tourists, and the Turkish tea industry can without any doubt be proud of the unique glass building in the shape of a Turkish tea glass. The height of the tower is 30 meters; the area is 1540 square meters. It rises majestically on the territory of the tea center, which occupies 10,000 square meters. What one can find there? We asked this question to Hasan Onder, the general director of Rize Tea Trade Center, who has been literally “imprisoned” at his work day and night for many months, launching and coordinating processes, knowing everything about the RizeTea Trade Center.
A ddesperate idea
The idea to create such tea center came to The Rize Community Exchange’s Management… during their numerous trips to the tea regions of different countries. And in 2012, they decided to discuss it with several colleagues. As a result, a small plan was born that took only a page, which they decided to present at one of the regular meetings of the commodity exchange on economics. The meeting was attended by a minister who was also introduced to the idea. They were impressed and appreciated it a lot. The press caught him at his word and printed it in the papers. As a result, the idea was approved, but it was not easy to find money. They had to combine both the efforts of the ministry and the commodity exchange.
It was not easy to find a proper place and it took quite a while. The place that they finally chose had been initially intended for the construction of the stadium. But they managed to change plans.
When the center was almost ready, more and more companies began to trust this idea. Of the hundreds of Turkish teahouses, 26 initially decided to take part in the project by locating their stores. But with the start of a large advertising campaign on television, other companies, including major players, began to be interested and considered possible cooperation.
Shops in the warm season are open from 10 am till 22 pm, restaurants on the territory of the center from 8 am till midnight. During the cold season, the opening hours of establishments are reduced. There are no days off in the tea center, and the doors are open to all tourists.
It took 2.5 years to build the entire center, and the amount of ₺60 million was spent from the budget for its construction.
A great advantage of this center is the opportunity to experience the tea culture in all its diversity, and one always has the feeling of being in a huge interactive tea museum. On this tea street one can find the most famous Turkish tea brands: Caykur, Orcay, Nese Cay, Lazika Cay, Caymer, Ada Cay, Ravza Cay and others. There are a lot of handmade teas as well as those produced in large tea factories, and one can find tea harvested in different seasons. Each store has its own concept and design, and there are around 30 of them.
On the tea streets, tea is offered to be sweetened with traditional tea sweets: honey, halva, nuts. Here guests can even see a real mill and buy national textile items.
Inside the glass building on the first floor one can find a 13D cinema made with the latest technology. Here they show films dedicated to tea and the surroundings of Rize. While watching them, the chairs of the audience move, people smell the wind. There is also a nice photo zone for those who want to have special memories. On the second floor there is a travel agency, on the third – a tea museum, on the fourth floor – an art and photo gallery. Office premises are located on the fifth and sixth floors.
The building has a 360-degree panorama view from its top. It is planned to open a tea bar on the roof, but it takes time to implement this idea.
On the territory of the center there is the most luxurious restaurant in the Black Sea region with an area of 300 meters, where one can taste dishes of national cuisine. Parents with children will be happy to spend time at beautiful playground for children.
Entrance to the territory is for free, but there is a small fee for visiting the main building. A lot of people are concerned about the pay off of investments. Hasan Onder shared his thoughts: “Rize region is visited by a lot of tourists and we hope about half of them will reach our place. Locals are very interested in drinking tea and taking pictures here. Mediterranean tourists come from Arab countries and even ask to build a similar center in Dubai.
Hasan Onder also plans to organize educational tea programs and tea camping. According to the survey of tea professionals, there is a lot of demand for this. Spacious and modern facilities seem to be good to host even international tea masters cup here. On the territory of the center there is a workshop where one can make own tea. In the future, it is planned to plant tea bushes here and involve tourists in tea picking. In the meantime, a tea tree that is over 60 years old grows on the territory. To answer the question how it got there one has to come and question the locals.
Everything that happens in the tea center is aimed at popularizing Turkish tea. We wish the Rize Tea Trade Center to have many visitors and become a popular center of tea culture. The chances are very high.