Remarkably attractive throughout its history, Trabzon was the subject of hundreds of travel books by western travellers, some of whom had named it "city of tale in the East" The capital city Trabzon was founded, as Trapezus, by Greek colonists from Sinope, modern Sinop, Turkey. Starting from the 9th century BC, the city had also been mentioned by historians such as Homeros, Herodotus, Hesiodos. The first written source regarding Trabzon is Anabasis, authored by Xenophon. An important Roman and Byzantine centre, it was the capital of the Empire of Trebizond from 1204 to 1461. Trabzon was subsequently made part of the Ottoman Empire by Mehmet the Conqueror. It was initially a sanjak before gaining the status of eyalet, and finally became a vilayet in 1868. After the region was conquered in 1461, Fatih Medrese (1462), Hatuniye Medrese (1515), İskenderpaşa Medrese (1529) and Hamzapaşa Medrese (1543) were established as important educational centers of the period
The province was a site of major fighting between Ottoman and Russian forces during the Caucasus Campaign of World War I, which resulted in the capture of the city of Trabzon by the Russian army under command of Grand Duke Nicholas and Nikolai Yudenich in April 1916. The province reverted to Turkish control in 1918 following the end of the war.