(as of our visit in 2022 the castle itself was closed and it’s unclear when it will open again.)
Great for: Diminutive Castles, Genoese History, Byzantine History, Sandy Beaches
Set between a picturesque bay of soft sand and a quiet harbour, Bolaman Castle is a rather odd sight. Perched on top of a wall of rough masonry is a large mansion of wood, built larger than the supporting castle and held up by spindly knee braces.
The site and castle have changed greatly with the centuries. Even just 100 years ago the site was a narrow spit of land with the sea just about reaching the foot of the castle itself. It’s believed that a watch tower was first built here during the Kingdom of Pontus (4th century BC to 1st century AD) and perhaps expanded over time. In the 13th century a castle was built here either by the Byzantines who clung to power in places along the coast or by Genoese traders whose vast fleet of trading ships were served by scattered coastal forts around the world. The castle was built to include a small chapel, built in basilica style, the entrance to which is next to the entrance to the castle itself.
In the 19th century the ownership of the castle had come to the Haznedaroğları family who had a large wooden mansion built on top of the castle. The mansion, though unusual in its blending of historic castle, church, and mansion was otherwise designed to conventional tastes with a selamlik and Haramlik. Due to the fact that Bolaman Castle remained in the Haznedaroğları family for generations it also became known as Haznedaroğlu Konak, meaning Haznedaroğlu Mansion. The family also had the more conventional late-Ottoman mansion that sits just north of the castle built.
Bolaman Castle eventually passed to the local government which opened it as a museum in 2019, and later as a restaurant. The neighbouring harbour was expanded with the building of a breakwater and a road was built between the castle and the sea.
As of 2022 the castle and chapel were both closed to the public though whether this is a long term arrangement or if it will be open again soon is unclear.
The village of Bolaman is home to a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, tucked between a green headland and the castle. Even if the Bolaman Castle restaurant is closed there is a handful of seaside restaurants serving seafood and local dishes just back from the sandy shore.
How To Get There
The village of Bolaman is quite small and sits just off of the E70/D010 highway that follows the Black Sea coast from east to west. This highway is the main highway in the region connecting all of the major coastal cities and so is well connected by long distance and local busses. The bus station in Bolaman (serving more local destinations) is right next to the castle itself.
If you are travelling with your own car Bolaman is right next to the E70/D010 highway where it cuts inland on its way to the City of Ordu.
For more about car rental and driving in Turkey make sure to read our full drivers guide.
Where To Stay
You can find small hotels and vacation rentals all along the Ordu Coast. Balaman and the towns to the north are especially nice as the highway leaves the coast, allowing for more pristine and quiet beaches. The larger centers of Fatsa, Ünye, and Ordu have a greater selection but are more city-like than seaside getaway.
Planning on visiting Bolaman Castle? Make sure to check out Yason Church to the north or the Perşembe Yayla, the summer pastures in the mountains high above Bolaman.
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.