Coordinates: 40°39′00″N 35°49′59″E / 40.65000°N 35.83306°E / 40.65000; 35.83306Coordinates: 40°39′00″N 35°49′59″E / 40.65000°N 35.83306°E / 40.65000; 35.83306
Country Turkey
Province Amasya
  Mayor Cafer Özdemir (AKP)
  District 1,729.69 km2 (667.84 sq mi)
Population (2012)[2]
  Urban 91,874
  District 133,133
  District density 77/km2 (200/sq mi)

Amasya is a city in northern Turkey and is the capital of Amasya Province, in the Black Sea Region.

The city of Amasya (Turkish pronunciation: [aˈmasja]), the Amaseia or Amasia of antiquity,[3] stands in the mountains above the Black Sea coast, set apart from the rest of Anatolia in a narrow valley along the banks of the Yeşilırmak River. Although near the Black Sea, this area is high above the coast and has an inland climate, well-suited to growing apples, for which Amasya province, one of the provinces in north-central Anatolia Turkey, is famed. It was the home of the geographer Strabo and the birthplace of the 15th century scholar and physician Amirdovlat Amasiatsi. Located in a narrow cleft of the Yesilirmak (Iris) river, it has a history of 7,500 years which has left many traces still evident today.

In antiquity, Amaseia (Greek: Αμάσεια) was a fortified city high on the cliffs above the river. It has a long history as a wealthy provincial capital, producing kings and princes, artists, scientists, poets and thinkers, from the kings of Pontus, through Strabo the geographer, to many generations of the Ottoman imperial dynasty. With its Ottoman-period wooden houses and the tombs of the Pontus kings carved into the cliffs overhead, Amasya is attractive to visitors. In recent years there has been a lot of investment in tourism and more foreign and Turkish tourists visit the city.

During the early Ottoman rule, it was customary for young Ottoman princes to be sent to Amasya to govern and gain experience. Amasya was also the birthplace of the Ottoman sultans Murad I and Selim I. It is thus of great importance in terms of Ottoman history. Traditional Ottoman houses near the Yeşilirmak and the other main historical buildings have been restored; these traditional Yalıboyu houses are now used as cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels. Behind the Ottoman wooden houses one can see the Rock Tombs of the Pontic kings.


According to Strabo the Greek name Ἀμάσεια comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed little throughout history: Ἀμάσεια, Amaseia, Amassia and Amasia are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coinage and continue to be used in modern Greek. Armenian: Ամասիա, Ottoman Turkish أماصيا, and modern Turkish Amasya all represent the same pronunciation.


In 2012, the permanent population of the city was 91,874. The birth rate of Amasya is low, so its population has been increasing slowly. The population varies seasonally, most people are here during the summer tourist season.

Downtown population
2015 101,800
2014 98,930
2013 96,670
2012 91,874
2011 90,665
2010 99,900
2009 86,667
2008 82,200
2007 85,851
2000 75,393
1997 62,668
1990 57,288
1985 53,431
1980 48,066
1975 41,496
1970 36,646
1965 34,168
1960 28,525
1955 -
1950 14,470
1945 -
1940 -
1935 11,981
1927 -
Y & G


Situated between the Black Sea and inner Anatolia in a region of fertile plains irrigated by the Tersakan, Çekerek and Yeşilırmak rivers, Amasya lies in a beautiful narrow river valley, bounded by almost vertical cliffs and the high peaks of the Canik and Pontus mountains. Despite the mountainous location, it is not far above sea level. This makes its climate more temperate.

Five bridges cross the river, and most of the town lies on the southern bank, spread along the river. The climb up to the higher ground is very steep, making the valley walls virtually uninhabitable. The town is shaped like the letter 'v' as it follows a sharp bend in the river.

Settlements in the district




Ottoman-era houses (foreground) and ancient Pontic tomb (background, left) in Amasya


Archaeological research shows that Amasya was first settled by the Hittites and subsequently by Phrygians, Cimmerians, Lydians, Persians, and Armenians.

Hellenistic period

An independent Pontic kingdom with its capital at Amaseia was established at the end of the 4th century BC in the wake of Alexander's conquests. Superficially Hellenized, the kingdom retained its Persian social structure, with temple priests and Persianized feudal nobles ruling over a heterogeneous village population. In the 1st century BC, it briefly contested Rome's hegemony in Anatolia. By 183 BC, the city was settled by Hellenistic people, eventually becoming the capital of the kings of Pontus from 333 BC to 26 BC. Today, there are prominent ruins including the royal tombs of Pontus in the rocks above the riverbank in the centre of the city. Ancient district in northeastern Anatolia adjoining the Black Sea.

Roman-Byzantine period

Amaseia was captured by the Roman Lucullus in 70 BC from Armenia and was quickly made a free city and administrative center of his new province of Bithynia and Pontus by Pompey. By this time, Amaseia was a thriving city, the home of thinkers, writers and poets, and one of them, Strabo, left a full description of Amaseia as it was between 60 BC and 19 AD. Around 2 or 3 BC, it was incorporated into the Roman province of Galatia, in the district of Pontus Galaticus. Around the year 112, the emperor Trajan designated it a part of the province of Cappadocia.[4][5] Later in the 2nd century it gained the titles 'metropolis' and 'first city'. After the division of the Roman Empire by emperor Diocletian the city became part of the East Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire). At this time it had a predominantly Greek-speaking population.

Saints Theodore of Amasea (d. by 319), a warrior saint, and the local bishop Asterius of Amasea (d. c. 410), some of whose polished sermons survive, are notable Christian figures from the period.

Early Turkish rulers

In 1075, ending 700 years of Byzantine rule, Amasya was conquered by the Turkmen Danishmend emirs. It served as their capital until it was annexed by the Seljuk ruler Kiliç Arslan II.

Under the Seljuks and the Ilkhan, the city became a centre of Islamic culture and produced some notable individuals such as Yaqut al-Musta'simi (1221-1298) calligrapher and secretary of the last Abbasid caliph who was a Greek native of Amasya.[6] Schools, mosques, tombs and other architecture of this period still remain.

Ottoman era

Amasya during the Ottoman Empire

After being incorporated into the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Bayezid I, Amasya grew in importance as a centre of learning, the children of the Ottoman rulers being sent here for their education.[7] As part of their preparation for future rule they were given the position and responsibility of governor of Amasya. Future sultans from Beyazid I in the late 14th century through to Murat III in the 16th were schooled here and held the position of governor in their youth.

Between 1530 and 1545, several travelers documented a blood libel against some of the town's Jews.[8] After the disappearance of a local Christian, several Jews living in town were blamed for killing him for ritual reasons. The Jews confessed under torture and hanged. When the supposed victim was discovered to still be alive, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ordered that all accusations regarding religious rituals should be judged under "royal" and not local court.[8] In 1555, Amasya was also the location for the signing of the Peace of Amasya with the Safavid dynasty of Persia.

The population of Amasya at this time was very different from that of most other cities in the Ottoman Empire, as it was part of their training for the future sultans to learn about every nation of the Empire. Every millet of the Empire was represented in Amasya in a particular village—such as a pontic village, an Armenian village, a Bosnian village, a Tatar village, a Turkish village etc. (see: 1927 Population count data by DİE.)

World War I and the Turkish War of Independence

In 1919 Amasya was the location of the final planning meetings held by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk for the building of a Turkish army to establish the Turkish republic following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War. It was here that Mustafa Kemal made the announcement of the Turkish War of Independence in the Amasya Circular. This circular is considered as the first written document putting the Turkish War of Independence in motion. The circular, distributed across Anatolia, declared Turkey's independence and integrity to be in danger and called for a national conference to be held in Sivas (Sivas Congress) and before that, for a preparatory congress comprising representatives from the eastern provinces of Anatolia to be held in Erzurum in July (Erzurum Congress).

During the years of World War I and the Turkish War of Independence, the Christian inhabitants of Amasya (Armenian and Greek) suffered from atrocities. Many Armenian civilians fleeing the massacres sought refuge at the American missionary school Anatolia College, located in Merzifon outside Amasya. In 1921, Turkish troops closed down the school, and the local population relocated to Thessaloniki after the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.[9]

Ecclesiastical history

Amasea became the seat of a Christian bishop and archbishop in Roman times; there is a list of bishops from the 3rd century.[10] As capital of the Late Roman province of Helenopontus, it also became its Metropolitan Archbishopric, whose suffragan sees included Amisus, Andrapa, Euchaitae, Ibora, Sinope, Zaliche and Zela. The residential archbishopric eventually lapsed, probably, like so many others, under Muslim rule after the Turkish conquest of Anatolia.

No longer being a residential diocese, Amasea is today listed by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church as a titular see.[11]

Titular Latin see

Rome suppressed the see formally circa 1600, but immediately transformed it into a titular archbishopric Amasea, of the highest (Metropolitan) rank, which has had the following archiepiscopal incumbents :

On 1742.02.15 it was united (as a mere title) with the residential Diocese of Pavia (Italy).

Since 1819.11.19 it is again suppressed as such and restored nominally as Metropolitan Titular archbishopric (highest rank, again). It is vacant for decades, having had the following archiepiscopal incumbents since :

The legend of Ferhat and Shirin

In its Turkish version, this classic tale of oriental folklore is held to have taken place in Amasya. The nearby mountain Ferhat is named for Farhad (Turkish spelling Ferhat), the hero of the legend, who for love of the princess Shirin (Turkish spelling Şirin) tried to win her father's favour and permission by tunnelling through the mountain to bring spring water to his palace. Sadly, while he was working he was sent the false information that Shirin had died; upon which he threw himself onto the rocks in his grief. And his beloved princess died soon after. The story has since become a play by Nazim Hikmet, a novel by Talip Apaydın, and an opera by Arif Melikov.


Amasya has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) under Köppen classification and a hot summer oceanic climate (Doa) under the Trewartha classification. Also, Amasya is warmer than central Anatolia, and its weather is not as cold in winter months. It has a transitional climate between the oceanic climate of the Black Sea and a continental and Mediterranean climate. However, this narrow valley causes Amasya to have a temperate climate. This effect is due to the Yeşilirmak river that moderates its climate.

Climate data for Amasya (1950 - 2014)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.3
Average high °C (°F) 6.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.7
Average low °C (°F) −0.9
Record low °C (°F) −21.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48.4
Average precipitation days 12.1 11.0 12.5 13.3 12.7 8.7 3.3 2.6 4.8 8.0 9.5 12.6 111.1
Mean daily sunshine hours 2.1 3.1 4.3 5.5 7.3 9.0 9.5 9.2 7.4 5.6 3.1 2.6 5.72
Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service[18]

Amasya today

The province of Amasya is known for producing high-quality, small, well-flavoured apples. The Amasya-Tokat region the main area of production. The city is not so developed industrial terms, but is attractive and well-preserved, especially when sitting by the river, which has a particular mystique on a winter evening when fog fılls the valley. Tourists (and soldiers from the local base) contribute valuable income to the shopkeepers. The railway line from Sivas to Samsun runs through Amasya, and there is an attractive Ottoman-era railway station.

The city of Amasya has some nightlife, mainly bars and cafes for visitors, and some basic restaurants. It is not a very conservative city, unlike other central and eastern Anatolian cities. Social life in this city, partly owing to tourism, becomes more animated especially during the summer period. Many international circus groups visit this city. June 12 is a festival date for Amasya during this time, with many cultural and sporting activities on offer.

The local cuisine includes the local specialty toyga çorbası, a soup containing yoghurt, drunk hot or cold. Other specialties include pastries with poppy seeds and tea, served by the riverbank.

There is an airport in the district, open for civilian flights since 2008. Previously, it was used only for military purposes. There are daily one-hour flights from/to Istanbul.

Panorama of Amasya


"Ferhat and Şirin" statue.

Tourism has been increasing. In 2011, there were 500,000 tourists, 11,000 foreign; in 2012, 600,000, 22,000 foreign; in 2013, 750,000 total; 1 million are projected for 2014. Foreign tourists are mostly Germans and East Asians, notably Japan and South Korea. In consequence, many hotels, especially boutique hotels, are opening. Many traditional Ottoman wooden houses have been restored and are now used as boutique hotels, cafes, bars.

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 OttomanPontus kings, which contribute very much to the attractiveness of the city. At night, when they are illuminated, the view is unforgettable. Palace and a secret underground passageway. On the rock faces there are impressive rock tombs. The city also has many historically and architecturally precious buildings; the Ferhat water channel, the 13th century Seljuk Burmali Mosque, the 15th century Yildirim Beyazit Mosque and Complex; the 14th century Ilhanli Bimarhane Mental Hospital with lovely relieves around its portal, the extraordinary octagonal Kapi Aga Medrese (theological school), the Torumtay Mausoleum and the Gök Medrese. There are traditional Turkish mansions which have been well-preserved showing the best examples of Turkish architecture. 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 Ilhanli rulers of Amasya.

Tombs of the kings of Pontus


The region's valley structure and this valley structure provide a temperate climate for many fruits growing. City has many agricultural production. Other economic activities in the region include mining, textiles and cement manufacture. Most part of the city's economy comes from agriculture and agricultural products likewise, greenstuffes and fruit production are also important incomes for the Amasya's economy. Villages have economically concentrated relations with districts of Amasya. In recent years, electrical machine production and household tools (ankastre, kitchen tools, exhauster, paddle box), algiculture and woodcraft machines, textile and food industry was developed in the Merzifon district of Amasya. These developments made better city's economy, but still Amasya is not important trade center within the country.

Agricultural products of the city mostly consist of those products, apple, cherry, okra, onion, poppy seeds, lentel, bean and peach. In additionally, agro-based industries have an important place for the local economy. Sucrose, dairy products, egg, sunflower oil, provender, flour, yeast are major agro-based industries in Amasya; the industrial products are relatively limited. The most major industries are lime, brick, marble, ankanstre kitchen tools, furniture, lignite coal, metal and plastic industrial products. These products trades domestically and are exported: Marble exporting is considerable for the city's economy. Amasya is the second city in the country in marble exporting. In addition to that, Amasya is under the average of the country which is working in the industry employment.

Amasya University was founded in 2006 (before it associated to Samsun University 19 May). It help the city economically develop in a positive way.

Amasya is a city on the road of the Europe and Iran international way and it connects Samsun port to the interior regions of the country. Samsun-Sivas railway line passing through downtown of Amasya. Amasya-Merzifon airport opened up in 2008. In related with that, cultural tourism achieved considerable place. Amasya is the starting point of the Black Sea tours within the country. Cappadocia tours also cover the city of Amasya. Cultural and Tourism Ministry determined 15 cities which is the trademark cities around the country includes Amasya. These developments also influence economy of the city positively because tourism triggers to other sectors but still the city of Amasya is not where it wants.


Having served many civilizations as the capital city, and the future sultans of the Ottomans as an academy, Amasya, also known as the City of the Shahzadah, has developed a 'regal' cuisine with characteristic taste, looks and quality. An example of the local food is Keşkek, which has always been one of the most popular dishes of the region. Dolması (broad bean rolls) is another delicious dish, an exquisite combination of beans with meat.

Cream cakes were another indispensable item in the former palace menu. Bread include cherry bread, and stale bread is used to make a dessert called Unutma Beni (which means 'Don't forget me').

Notable natives

Twin Cities

See also


  1. "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  3. "Amasya" in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 313.
  4. Strabo Geographica, (12.561).
  5. Mitchell, Stephen (1996), "Amaseia", in Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Anthony, Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-521693-6
  6. Houtsma, M. Th (1987). E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936, Volume 1. BRILL. p. 1154. ISBN 9789004082656. YAKUT al-MUSTA'SIMI, Djamal al-DIn Auu 'l-Madjd ... some say he was a Greek from Amasia; he was probably carried off on a razzia while still very young. He was a eunuch.
  7. History of Amasya
  8. 1 2
  9. Carl C. Compton (2008), The Morning Cometh: 45 Years with Anatolia College, pp. 88-98.
  10. Lequien, Oriens Christianus (1740), I, 521–532
  11. Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 821
  12. Amasea (Titular See). [Catholic-Hierarchy] (2011-04-09). Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  13. Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 442
  14. Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, vol. I, coll. 521-532
  15. Konrad Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi, vol. 4, p. 80; vol. 5, p. 80; vol. 6, p. 79; vol. 7, p. 69; vol. 8, p. 92
  16. Heinrich Gelzer, Ungedruckte und ungenügend veröffentlichte Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum, in: Abhandlungen der philosophisch-historische classe der bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1901, pp. 529–641
  17. Siméon Vailhé, v. Amasea, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. XII, Paris 1953, coll. 964-970
  18. "Meteoroloji" (in Turkish). Retrieved 8 January 2016.

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