"AMASYA (AMASEIA)" Top 5 Page for this destination Amasya by Pinat

Amasya Travel Guide: 122 reviews and 411 photos

THE SECRET BEAUTY OF ANATOLIA

Amasya is one of the prettiest cities of Anatolia with a past going back 7.500 years. It’s the city where the famous geographer Strabon was born. It’s the city where many civilizations have passed and left many remains. Founded on both banks of the Yesilirmak River (the ancient Iris), it hosts 2.000 year-old water channels, 1.000 year-old bridges, an Ottoman Palace and a secret underground passageway.

The first settlement here is said to date back to around 5,500 B.C. Traces of the Hittites, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Lydians, Persians and Hellenes as well as of the Pontic, Roman, Byzantine, Danishmendid, Seljuk, Ilkhanid and Ottoman civilizations are encountered in Amasya. It was among the leading cities of the numerous civilizations that have ruled Anatolia.

On the rock faces, you can still see the impressive rock tombs of Pontus kings, which are one of the greatest contributions to the attractiveness of the city. At nights, when the city is illuminated, the view is spectacular.

The city also has many historically and architecturally rich buildings: the Ferhat water channel, the 13th century Seljuk Burmali Mosque, the 15th century Yildirim Bayezit Mosque, the 14th century Ilhanli Bimarhane Mental Hospital, etc. There are also traditional examples of Turkish mansions which are very 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 Ilhanli 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 kilometers 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. Terzikoy spa center and thermal resort is also worth a visit.

THE LEGENDARY CITY OF FERHAT & SHIRIN

As a young, talented man, Ferhat catches the eye of the Sultana Mehmene. He is appointed as master craftsman to the palace and started painting leaves and tulips; the decorative art known to the Ottomans as "nakis". But before Ferhat can do a day’s work, the Sultana’s sister, Shirin, who is into Ferhat, asks him secretly to come to the harem and persuades him to run away. Of course, the two lovers are soon captured and returned to the palace to face certain execution, but out of sisterly love for Shirin, Mehmene decides to spare them. Instead, she gives Ferhat the task of forging a tunnel through the mountain to deliver spring water to the disease-ridden inhabitants of Arzen. Having paid his dues, his reward on completion would be Shirin.

But after ten years of labour, still driven on by his immense love, Ferhat is still only half way to finishing. Left alone by his friends, his only companions now are the stars, mountains, trees and roe deer around him. He admits to Venus (the ‘shepherd’ star in Anatolian folklore) that after such a long absence even her face eludes his recall. Tragically, his love has been crystallised by folding memory into this heroic act of folly.

Then, unannounced and under armed guard, Shirin arrives on the mountain. The two lovers are overjoyed to be reunited and furthermore Shirin brings the news that Mehmene Banu has revoked Ferhat’s punishment: the two of them should go and live in the kiosk in the palace gardens. Ferhat is shadowed by disappointment. He is too proud of his engineering feats to let his labours go wastefully unfinished and he suggests he build them a kiosk on the mountain; that they may live there while he completes his watercourse. Shirin will have none of it. There is a fine enough kiosk for them back at the palace.

“Very well then, will she come and visit him every day?” asks Ferhat.

But it is already too late. As Shirin turns to go, she tells her lover there was also a second edict from Mehmene Banu: unless Ferhat accepted to return to the palace immediately, the first condition would be annulled and he would not be allowed to set eyes on his lover until his labour was at last complete.

Ferhat prefers to keep working to finish what he started. 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...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The prettiest gem of Northern Central Anatolia
  • Cons:So difficult to find (very well hidden)
  • In a nutshell:Don't say I've seen a lot in Turkey unless you've seen Amasya!
  • Last visit to Amasya: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated Sep 10, 2009
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Reviews (20)

Comments (7)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    I agree with you that this is one of the prettiest cites in the region. YOu took such wonderful pictures and the comments help in describing the nice views.

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    Another informative page. Hopefully we might visit Turkey August/Sept 2010. Will temperature be very hot then?

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2009 at 12:22 AM

    what a lovely page ;-)

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2009 at 1:57 AM

    Impressive Amasya page with lovely photos! Amasya certainly has lots of lovely tourist attractions such as the museum, castle, palace, tombs, Mirror Cave and Ferhat Water Channels. Borabay Lake indeed looks amazing! ~ho & pang

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    What a very interesting page...including a harem of maidens in the past...wow...and a mummy too!!! you have awesome tips and pics here on Amasya! Norman :)

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Jul 4, 2009 at 8:54 PM

    Another great page Pinar! The lake looks lovely :o) And I enjoyed your write up on the houses...very interesting. Keep up the good work!! Cheers, Ann :o)

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2009 at 2:54 AM

    Excellent page here, Pinat. It is always nice to hear of the lesser known places. I would like to visit Turkey one day.

Pinat

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