Province: Samsun

For thousands of years Samsun has been the gateway between Central Turkey and the Black Sea. Ancient trade routes passed through the rugged Pontic Mountains and to the fertile lowlands of Samsun on the coast. While Turkey’s Black Sea provinces are known to be rugged, without even enough flat land to “put down a glass of tea”, Samsun is home to large swathes of lush flatlands, formed by the outflow of two of Turkey’s great rivers: the Yeşilırmak and Kızılırmak.
Little is known about the earliest history of this region. In the Bronze Age it was home to the Gasga (Kaska), an enemy of the Hittites, who relentlessly raided the empire and withstood Hittite expansion. In classical history it was believed that this was the original home of the Amazons, the mythical all female warrior society. In the early Iron Age, the region was home to Phrygian Culture, and following Alexander the Great’s breaking of Persian control of the region in the 4th century, the region became a part of the Kingdom of Pontus. The Pontic Kings, who were Hellenised Persians, ruled from nearby Amasya and built rock-cut tombs in the cliffs that can still be visited throughout the area including Samsun.
In the beginning of the 20th century Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began his war of independence from Samsun, driving south from the coast and into the heart of Turkey, eventually securing the future of the modern Republic of Turkey.
Whether you’re staying or just passing through, make sure to try the Çakallı Menemen, a dish of tomatoes, green peppers, and scrambled egg yolks, or Samsun Pide, a canoe-shaped pizza like dish.