Official language: Turkish
Time zone: UTC +3
Currency: Turkish lira (TRY)
The origins of the city are associated with the tribe of gallant Amazons. They were known for their bravery and the mastery of martial arts. As the legend says, they were removing one breast to shoot better with a bow.
The oldest traces of settlement in this region date back to the Paleolithic period. They were found in caves 15 km east Samsun, in Tekkeköy village. You can reach the place by bus, taxi or car.
About two hours away from Samsun, you’ll find Sahinkaya Kanyonu, one of the most beautiful spots in the area. Rocks emerging from the Red River waters resemble Norwegian fiords.
The city, whose modern name derives from the word “Amisos” used by the ancient Greeks, is now one of the biggest Turkish ports on the Black Sea coast. The sea isn’t just a part of the landscape – its proximity makes the climate warm and humid. The region is famous for the cuisine, known in whole Turkey, offering fish caught here, such as anchovies. In the summer wide and sandy beaches attract tourists hungry for the sun and warmth.
Although the city has a rich history, only a few old monuments have been preserved till today. Worth mentioning are the 13th-century Pazar Mosque, the Atatürk Museum and the statue of him (both commemorating the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence), as well as Sarayi Kultur, built on the model of a ski jump, where many concerts take place. If you’re into the ancient history, visit the Archeological Museum housing Roman mosaics, antique skulls or gold jewelry from the Kingdom of Pontus.
The best panoramic view of the city and the sea can be admired from the top of Amisos Hill (Aisos Tepesti). You may get there on foot from the city center or by cable car from Batipark station on Baruthane Mahallesi St. Interestingly, apart from the observation deck and a restaurant – perfect for a romantic dinner – you’ll find at the peak a branch of the archeological museum.
The Turkish Black Sea coast is famous for its tasty and healthy cuisine. Enjoy regional delicacies, such as pide (oven-baked pizza in shape of a boat with a fried egg on top), or hamsi pilay (rice pilaf mixed with peanuts and herbs served with anchovies called “hamsi”). The Kuymak meal is also worth trying. It’s a fondue made from tal peynir cheese mixed with butter and corn, given with crispy bread. All these dishes are served, e.g., at Pamuk Kardesler restaurant on 100 Yil Bulvari, Venn Restaurant on Cumhuriyet Mahallesi Adnan Menderes Bulvari, and Samsun Pidecisi on Karadeniz Mah. For the best pide, head to Aziziye Cad. When shopping, remember that this region also offers excellent tea and saffron.