is one of the provinces which is distinct both with its natural setup and historical
values it holds. It was the homeland of the famous geographer Strabo.
Located in a narrow cleft of the Yeşilırmak (Iris) river, it has a past of 3000 years
during which many civilizations left priceless remains of their times. The ruins of the
citadel on the rock face of the cleft shelters 2000 year old water-channels, 1000 year old
bridges, a mental hospital, an Ottoman Palace and a secret underground passageway. On the
rock faces there are impressive rock tombs of the Pontus kings, which contribute very much
to the attractiveness of the city. At night, when they are illuminated, the view is
The city also has many historically and architecturally precious buildings; the Ferhat water channel, the 13th century Seljuk Burmalı Mosque, the 15th century Yıldırım Beyazit Mosque and Complex; the 14th century Ilhanlı Bimarhane Mental Hospital with lovely reliefs around its portal, the extraordinary octagonal Kapı Ağa Medrese, the Torumtay Mausoleum and the Gök Medrese.
There are traditional Turkish mansions which have been well - preserved. The 19th century Hazeranlar Mansion has been restored perfectly and now it is of great interest with an art gallery on its first floor and an ethnographical museum on the second. The Archaeological Museum of Amasya has an interesting collection including the mummies of the Ilhanlı rulers of Amasya. As for natural beauty, Amasya is set apart from the rest of Anatolia in its tight mountain valley and hides its own secret beauty.
Lake Borabay (65 km northeast of Amasya) is a crater lake with an amazing view and fresh air. It is a perfect area for fishing (especially trout), for picnicking and for being alone with nature. Yedikir Dam Lake and Omarca National Park are other excursion sites. Terziköy spa center, a thermal resort, is also worth a visit. Amasya nicely situated in a narrow valley, at some places it seems more a gorge, through which the Yeşilırmak River flows. On the North bank of the river there's not much flat space and the land rises steep to the highest mountain peak that commands the valley and surrounding area. The easy defendable situation, supply of fresh water and the wind through the valley, creating a fine micro climate, made this location very attractive to men. Amasya's long history starts in the mist of times before the Bronze Age, it was also a Hittite town, for Hittite artefacts are found.
Except archaeological findings, little is known of the town before the arrival of the armies of Alexander the Great. Known is however that the town's earliest city walls went from the Northern river bank up the steep slopes to the fortress on the highest mountain peak. When Alexander's empire broke up soon after his death (323 BC) in several states, Amasya became the capital of the Kingdom of Pontus and the town entered one of its 'golden ages'. Although the Pontic Kings moved their capital to Sinop in 183 BC Amasya retained its status.
In the third Pontic-Roman war the town was razed to the ground around 65 BC. Later the town was rebuilt by the Romans and became a provincial capital. Amasya's most famous citizen was Strabo (64 BC-21 AD). Actually, the name Strabo was not a very flattering one, meaning cross-eyed. Strabo's eyes were not a handicap to become the greatest geographer of his time. He visited large parts of the Roman world, wrote historical works and atlases, both spiced with local stories and myths. Unfortunately little remained of his original works. The Romans were replaced by the Byzantines who left, except an enlargement of the fortress into a citadel, no marks on the town. The town was taken in 1071 by the Seljuks. The sons of one the Seljuk commanders founded, at the end of the 11th century, the Danishment Dynasty. The Danishment Dynasty ruled independently for about a hundred years. In 1175 the Danishment Dynasty was united with the Seljuks again. The Seljuks could not enjoy this reunion for long, in 1243 they were defeated by other Asian invaders, the Mongols.
Around the middle of the 13th century the Mongols had established their own dynasty, the Ilkhanids. The Ilkhanid Mongols would reign Amasya for about half a century and were replaced at the beginning of the 14th century by the Eretna Dynasty. The Eretna Dynasty was established by Eretna the Mongol governor of Sivas. The Eretna Dynasty lasted till 1381 to be superseded by the principality of vizier Kadi Burhanettin. The Ottomans took the town in 1392. The Ottoman Sultans favoured Amasya and till the 17th century most heirs to the throne were taught how to rule and tested for their skills as governor of the province of Amasya. The town became a centre of learning and theological studies. Till about the middle of the 19th century the town prospered, thereafter decline set in, sped by earthquakes, fires and the overall decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk arrived here in June 1919 coming from Havza. Amasya had already a force of volunteers to fight against the Greek gangs, who had an own Pontus state in mind. Mustafa Kemal staged mass meetings and the support for resistance grew. In Amasya Mustafa Kemal was joined by three compatriots. Those four men, Mustafa Kemal, Hussein Rauf (an ex navy officer), Ali Fuad (an Ottoman army corps commander) and Refet (a high ranking officer of Mustafa Kemal's staff) draw a Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence stated that since Istanbul was under Entente occupation and the government under Entente control, the nation had to save itself. In order to reach the goal of saving the nation and to co-ordinate the various resistance movements a congress at Sivas (conformably far away from any Entente influence) was called for. The text was telegraphed to several army commanders who gave the declaration their approval. The Declaration of Independence was signed 21 June 1919. It might seem that there were only four founding fathers of the resistance, however there was an important fifth. In Erzurum general Kiazim Karabekir (already a long time compatriot of Mustafa Kemal) commanded the largest force of what remained of the Ottoman armies. He had no plans whatsoever to give the Entente powers (in his case the British) control over 'his' army. Thinking along the about the same lines as Mustafa Kemal, he had called for a congress at Erzurum.
This congress, summoned before there was anything known about a Sivas congress, should give him the legal pretext to handle in the nation's interest; since the Government was under Entente control it could not act and the nation's interest had to come first. Mustafa Kemal told his friends and compatriots about the Erzurum congress and that he planned to take part in it. The congress was planned to begin at 23 July 1919. As a reaction to the Declaration of Independence, the Ottoman Government issued an order (23 June 1919) not to obey or have contact with Inspector General Mustafa Kemal. The 26th of June Mustafa Kemal left for Erzurum via Tokat and Sivas.
Today Amasya is one of the most picturesque towns in Türkiye. The old houses leaning over the Yeşilırmak River, the green and brown of the valley's slopes and its old buildings give the town a unique touch. There's so much to see in Amasya that you can easily spend two days in town, you'll enjoy it. In the case of Amasya it's hard to speak about a real town centre. However, to make it easy we can divide the town in three sections, North of the River and South of the river we can divide the town in two sections, a section North of the square with the Atatürk monument and the other section South of it. The river can be crossed by five bridges (actually six if you count the most Northern bridge, at the edge of town but not on the map) one of the bridges is a footbridge. Talking about the river, I have seen local people fishing and they had a catch about every five minutes.
Going North from the square with the Atatürk monument you'll see on the North-East side the 14th century Gümüşlü Mosque. Following the river bank brings you to the Tourist information office, English and German are spoken by the kind gentleman who keeps the office open. When following the road right, a short distance from the tourist information office, you'll arrive at the Bimarhane. It was a mental asylum, built (around 1300) in Seljuk style by an Ilkhanid Sultan in honour of his wife. Patients were treated here with hypnosis and music. The Ilkhanids, Seljuks and Turks were way before the West in treating the mental ill. The building is nicely restored, its portal is impressive, the rooms around the courtyard were used to treat the patients.