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Strolling Through the Citties of Amazons and Strabon



Samsun & Amasya


We  will disembarked at Samsun, an ancient Greek town alive with modern bustle.  Wedged here
between two river deltas is one of the busiest ports on the Black Sea. Warriors have been changing
Samsun's architecture since the 6th century BC, leaving little standing but for some remains lying
in the Archeology Museum such as this mosaic. 

Today's Turkey started here as well when a popular general started a revolution that led to the current
republic. Amasya – we will come, we will see , we will photographe Soon we were off on a long bus ride
inland to Amasya, once home to the Amazons and the Pontic Kings who exploited the chaos left after
the death of Alexander the Great.  Julius Caesar finally wrested them from power in a brief battle and
an even briefer trip report: "Veni, Vidi, Vici."

The north wall has room for Ottoman mansions and Pontic Tombs -- but little else Amasya squeezes
itself between two steeply rising banks of the Iris river.  The north bank has a thin stretch of land
populated today by 19th century Ottoman homes, now mostly hotels.  Behind on the steeply rising
slope are the tombs on the Pontic Kings, now empty caves.

Citadel and Sultan ii-Bayezid MosqueThe Hittites settled here about 5500 BC.  The steeply rising
slopes made this an easy town to defend (note the fort high atop the north slope in the picture at left).

On the south bank there is somewhat more room for the rest of Amasya to unfold into a city of
about 75,000. 

This was a town suitable for rule by the Ottoman crown prince while his father held the sultanship. 
In fact, one of the greatest of the the Sultans, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, was the 12-year-old governor
here in 1444 when his father resigned, making him Sultan in rather precarious straits. As Sultan,
he ordered his father to take back the leadership of the army.  He himself eventually conquered
Constantinople at age 21.

Another crown prince built an imperial mosque whose minaret we see in the picture above.  It was
to honor his father with whom he was to have a falling out before he was killed by his own brother, a
routine event for princes who didn't become sultans.

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