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Amasya

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Amasya and Yeşilırmak River

Amasya is a city in the Central Karadeniz region of Turkey. It is the hometown of Strabo, an ancient Greek geographer and historian.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

  • 1 Train station (NW 2km of city center).

Amasya is located on the railway line between Samsun (3 hrs travel time) and Sivas (5 hrs travel time). Online timetable is at TCDD Internet page [dead link].

By bus[edit]

  • 2 Bus station, Kirazlıdere Mh. (On the northeastern edge of a city, 2 km from the city center), +90 358 218 8812.

It has many major lines that come and go from Ankara and Istanbul all day long. Most of these lines will offer you a free service to the town square. There are also a few busses every day going to and from Antalya, Çorum, Izmir, Kayseri, Malatya, Tokat and Trabzon.

To come and go from Samsun, the nearest city on the Black Sea coast, there are small Metro minibuses that leave several times a day.

Get around[edit]

Once you get a bus service or taxi to the town square, everything is within easy walking distance. If you are going on day trips to other villages in the region, you can find small privately-owned buses that come and go if you ask around.

For car rentals (if you're interested in a day trip to Hattuşa, the Hittite capital, for example), there is a car rental/pet store very near the Train Station, and another near the bridge by Migros.

See[edit]

Tombs of the Pontic Kings
Traditional riverside houses of Amasya, backed by ancient rock tombs
The old town
Darüssifa Hanı
Sultan Beyazıt Külliyesi

The major sights of the city include the whitewashed Ottoman houses lining the river and the ancient Pontic rock tombs engraved on the side of the mountain overlooking the city.

Harşena hill[edit]

High above the city on Harşena hill there is a castle. However, this hill has much more to offer. The climb begins at the Kızlar Sarayı.

  • 1 Kızlar Sarayı (Palace of the Maidens). The former seat of the Pontic kings, it was also used by the Seljuks but only as an arsenal. Today only ruins of the walls and two baths remained.
  • 2 Tombs of the Pontic Kings (accessible by a staircase in the "old" section of town). The rock tombs are from Pontian time (3rd century BC - 40 AD). They make a strong impression being of a height of about 12 m. Beware of a very slippery track leading there. 5 TL. Tombs of the kings of Pontus on Wikipedia Tombs of the Kings of Pontus (Q6022363) on Wikidata
  • 3 Amasya Kalesi (Citadel) (At the foot of the hill there is a walk leading from Kizlar Sarayı up to the Citadel, however, it is very steep and requires ideal shoes. Otherwise, it can be reached by paved uphill road: following road to Samsun for 1 km first and then turn left where it's marked "Kale". Taxi shouldn't cost more than 25 TL roundtrip if you are coming from the city center.). Harşena hill had been used as a Castle Hill since 3000 BC. The current castle is, however, much younger from about 3rd century BC. In the Persian period the hill was used as a sacred site that was dedicated to the god of light Ahura Mazda. However, with the Pontic Kingdom as well as during the Hittite period the mountain was again used in as a fortress hill to protect the city. The badly-preserved ruins wouldn't worth an arduous climb if not the view one can enjoy from there. Free entrance. Amasya Castle on Wikipedia Amasya Castle (Q21524009) on Wikidata

Old town[edit]

  • 4 Büyük-Aga Medrese (at the Kunc Bridge). Located in a working school that was founded in 1488 by the Supreme Eunuch of the Sultan Beyazit II Hüseyin Aga. These well-restored buildings and their classrooms can be visited and it's worth a visit. Büyük Aga Medrese on Wikipedia Büyük Aga Medrese (Q16255962) on Wikidata
  • 5 Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower) (near the Hükümet bridge). The 19th century clock tower. Amasya Clock Tower (Q21524010) on Wikidata
  • 6 Hatuniye Mahallesi, Hazeranlar Sok. The old town of Amasya is located at the foot of the mountain just on the riverbanks. A variety of picturesque houses can be found here. Earlier old town was protected with defensive walls.
  • 7 Haranlar Konagi (near the Alçak Bridge). Tu-Su 08:00 - 16:45 (11:45 - 13:15 break). This house was built in 1483 and has been restored. Now it displays the facilities and items from the 19th century and an art gallery. 3 TL.

City centre[edit]

In the south are parallel to Yeşilırmak river on the waterfront Ziya Paşa Bulvarı and a few meters in parallel - the shopping street of Mustafa Kemal Paşa Caddesi. There are many sights from the historical past of Amasya around these two streets. From east to west:

Amasya was a religious and political center for central Anatolia, and there are many small mosques that date back to pre-Ottoman times.

  • 8 Mehmet Paşa Camii (Mehmet Paşa Mosque). Mosque built in 1486 by the Vicar son of Beyazit II.
  • 9 Bimarhane (Darüşşifa). The house, built during the Mongol period, was the first mental health research facility that used music to treat its patients. For the past 75 years or so, it had been the home of Amasya's music conservatory but has recently re-opened as a museum in tribute to the man who undertook research here. 3 TL.
  • 10 Atatürk statue. The square in front of it invites you to linger for a while. It is also a local meeting point.
  • 11 Taş Hanı. This caravanserai from the 17th century. Now it's been converted into upscale hotel and restaurant.
  • 12 Burmali Minare Camii (Burmali Minaret Mosque) (directly behind the Taş Hanı). This mosque was built in 1242 on behalf of the Emperor Kaichosrew II. It received its present name "the mosque with the spiral minaret" in the 17th century after the renovation when the minaret was designed helical. (Q6043868) on Wikidata
  • 13 Vakif Bedesten Kapali çarşı (Covered market). This bazaar from 1483 is still in use. The shops sell rather cheap international kitsch (e.g. "I Love NY" - caps).
  • 14 Sultan Beyazıt Külliyesi (Mosque Complex of Sultan Beyazit). Amasya's largest mosque complex is dedicated to Beyazid II and built in 1486. It is on the riverside and a very prominent site in town. It consists of two successively arranged domes and dominated by two tall differently decorated minarets. Today, the complex also houses the city library (formerly a law school) as well as a soup kitchen and a miniature museum of Amasya. If you decide to give up the 3 TL for the miniature museum, make sure to stay for a full day-night cycle. (Q12808483) on Wikidata
  • 15 Amasya Belediye (Municipal) Museum. Tu - Su 08:00 - 11:45 and 13:15 - 16:45. It's a typical museum in Turkey, containing objects from the province that date from the early Greek period through the end of the Ottoman dynasty. The biggest star of the exhibition is undoubtedly statuette of Amasya from the Hittite period. A tomb of Sultan Mesud I from Seljuk period can be found in museum's garden. Of particular note are the mummies from the Mongol period, preserved by the air of their mountain tombs. A bit gruesome but fascinating and unexpected. 5 TL.
  • There are two separate wax museums, one dedicated to the 7 Padishahs and one dedicated to Anatolian life in the 16-19th centuries. Like everything else mentioned, they are 3 TL.
  • 16 Şehzade Türbesi (Prince's Tomb). Mausoleum that was built for a son of Beyazits I in 1513. And also on the main street almost opposite the Şehzade Türbesi there is Şehzadeler Türbesi (Princes' Tomb). It was built for the sons of Mehmet I, Beyazit I and Beyazit II in 1410.
  • 17 Halifet Gazi Türbesi (Halifet Gazi Tomb). Mausoleum that dates back to 1145 and is richly decorated with Medusa's and rams' heads.
  • 18 Gök Medrese (on the edge of town opposite the otogar). This madrasah was built by Seyfeddin Torumtay at approx. 1267 CE. It used to be completely covered with blue, although not much of that remained today. Its 15 domes construction provides a rather simple interiors. Noteworthy are mainly the stalactites portal and the carvings in the doors. Also two mummies of the Ilkhane were buried in the building. In front of it there is 19 Torumtay Türbesi (Torumtay Tomb) (directly behind Gök Medrese). This mausoleum was created for the provincial governor Seyfeddin Torumtay in 1279.
  • There is a "house of suffering" that you can get to if you walk up the hill from the town square, which was an important Alevi pilgrimage spot, as its founder's turbe is nearby. You can go into the "suffering house" now that it's no longer in use, and explore the small cells men would live in for months at a time, with little food and water and outside contact, simply reading the Qur'an and meditating on it.
  • 20 Yörgüç Pasa Camisi (Yörgüç Pasa Mosque). This mosque was built by the tutors of Sultan Mehmet I Yörgüç. Here you will find a hospital, three tombs and a Madrasah.
  • 21 Fethiye Camii (Fethiye Mosque) (in the South on the mountainside). This mosque was built as a church in the 7th century and converted to the mosque in 1117. The mosque was severely damaged in 1915 by a fire.

Surrounding area[edit]

  • 22 Ayınlı Magara (Mirror Cave) (North of the city on the banks of Yeşilırmak river). Another rock tomb. Inside there are some wall paintings, as it was used as a church in Byzantine times.

Day trips[edit]

  • 23 Borabay Golu (NE 50 km following direction to Taşova and Erbaa). Small mountain lake (at an altitude of 1050 m) is located at the foot of the mountain Ak Dağı (2,062 m high). Due to its location and forested area this is a very popular destination. Camping, picnic and trekking are possible.
  • Terziköy Springs (35 km following the road to Çorum). Thermal springs with 37°C warm spring water with its healing effect. There is good tourist infrastructure with over 100 hotel beds, cafe, restaurant, swimming pool and shops.

Do[edit]

  • Stroll along the river walk along with Amasya's townspeople. In the summer months, the street is closed at night because so many people are out.
  • Amasya has several very old, nice hamams. They are all single-sex, open to men from 06:00-10:00, women 10:00-17:00, and men again 17:00-00:00. There are special days in the week for working women to come at night, and the weekends are generally reserved entirely for men. Check with the hamams ahead of time; if you are staying at a hotel they can call and ask for you.
  • 1 Mustafa Bey hamami (near the Bimarhame). A beautifully restored building that includes a Swiss-style sauna room, and has service as good as any hamam in Istanbul for half the price.
  • 2 Yildiz hamam (in the old part of town). It is dirty
  • 3 Kumacik hamam (between the otogar and the town square on the riverside). A small hamam which boasts of a pool.
  • Hiking. Mountains surround the city from all sides and can easily be walked.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Generally, all the places in Amasya to go out at night have live music, with the exception of the three or four pubs.

Ali Kaya overlooks the entire city on its southeastern side, and offers great views at night. Mostly plays Turku, Turkish folk music, with a combination of classical and modern instruments.

Eylul Bugusu, Grand Pasha, Emin Efendi and Mithridat are all basically indistinguishable bar/restaurants in the old part of town. You come, get a table, and drink/eat there while listening to covers of Turkish pop or folk music, depending on the night. If you are there on a weekend, a reservation may be required. If you're traveling around the old city during the day, the best thing to do is pop in the various local joints, pick which one suits your taste the most, and ask for a reservation.

For Turkish tea time, there is a local chain called Yesil Ev (green house) that you'll see around town. For a more interesting experience, there is also the Municipal Tea garden, sitting on the riverside near the clock tower. At night in the warm months there is generally live music. If you are a large party and you'd like to relax for a while, order the Semaver Cay which is the Turkish version of the Russian Samovar, and you'll be drinking tea for hours. According to locals, though, the best tea and Turkish coffee is to be found at Gamasuk Cay Evi, which is on the main road, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Caddesi, called Ust caddesi (high street) by locals. Men and women are welcome at all of these places.

Sleep[edit]

  • Konfor Palas Oteli, Ziya Pasa Bulvari in the very centre. A budget place. Single with en suite is 35 TL (summer 2010).
  • Kahvecioglu Otel, on the riverfront, southern side. Free wifi, breakfast, great views from rooms overlooking promenade, central location, friendly staff. 40 TL for single ensuite, without bargaining (worth that price!).

Go next[edit]

Routes through Amasya
IstanbulBolu  W Tabliczka E80.svg E  ErzincanErzurum


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