Samsun has a population of about 1,400,000 people and is the 14th largest city of Turkey and the most important city in the Black Sea Region. Samsun is a busy port and a centre for the processing of local agricultural products, such as tobacco for which it once was famous. The city houses two universities Samsun Üniversitesi and Ondokuz Mayız Üniversitesi (19 May, Atatürk Youth and Sports day). Among the many sports facilities, the indoor ice skating rink, the Samsun Buz Sporları, deserves a special mention.
History of Samsun
The city was founded as Amisos in the 7th century BCE by Ionian Greeks coming from Miletus. It was taken by the Persians in 550 BCE, but by the 5th century BCE, it managed to become as a free state, part of the Delian league. In the 3rd century BCE, it became part of the Kingdom of Pontus under Mithridates I, which in 71 BCE was conquered by the Romans. The Seljuk Turks took Amisos from the Byzantines in the second half of the 12th century and renamed it Samsun. Between 1316 and 1333, the Genoese established a colony in Simisso as they called it.
At the end of the 14th century, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, but after the defeat of the Ottomans at the Battle of Ankara in 1402, it was returned to the Turkmen principality of Isfendiyar. Eventually, in 1425 it was recaptured by the Ottomans, but before that, the Genoese had burned the city down.
A pivotal moment in the history of the Turkish Republic was the landing of Atatürk with the SS Bandırma at Samsun on May 19, 1919, which marked the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence. In 1922, during the War of Independence, the bombardment of Samsun took place, a combined operation of the Greek and the US navy.
Sights and Photos of Samsun
Unfortunately, despite its long history, Samsun has little to offer for tourism. Several monuments in the city commemorate the landing of Atatürk in 1919. The archaeological museum exhibits some beautiful Roman mosaics that date back to the 3rd century CE, and the Amisos Treasure with some exquisite jewellery, such as a golden myrtle crown, all dating back to the 4th century BCE.
At Batıpark (West Park), about 15 km from the city centre, Amazon Köyü and Amazon Adası are reminders of the legendary women warriors who, according to Greek mythology ruled this part of Asia Minor. The park and complex is a kitschy Turkish version of Disneyland.
Here are some photos of Samsun, click on the thumbnails to see greater pictures.
Travel Information & Travel Tips
For the tourist travelling east to Trabzon, or turning inland to Amasya, it is a convenient stop with some respectable hotels at a very affordable price. Coming from Sinop, we spent two nights at the Samsun Sahin Hotel 2, highly recommended.