Iconic Historical Attractions in Turkey's Black Sea Region

This content was last updated on 27.02.2024 22:56

From Pontus to Rome, Byzantium to the Seljuks, and from the Ottoman Empire, the Black Sea Region has hosted significant civilizations for centuries. This geography, rich in history with monasteries, churches, historical mansions, palaces, castles, ancient settlements, and rock tombs dating back thousands of years, offers numerous places to visit. We have compiled the must-see historical sites where blue meets green in the Black Sea, for you.

Historical Sites in the Black Sea Region

1. Sümela Manastırı (Sümela Monastery), Trabzon

Sümela Manastırı

The monastery, located in the Maçka district of Trabzon, is constructed on steep cliffs. Commonly known as the "Virgin Mary Monastery" among locals, it is believed to have been built between A.D. 365-395. Sümela, with its interior covered in impressive frescoes, also features the Torture Room, the Observation Chapel, and the Women's Monastery. The monastery is recognized as a pilgrimage site for visitors of Greek origin. How about checking Trabzon flight tickets to visit Sümela, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Temporary List?

  • Entrance Fee: 450 TL
  • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 16:30

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2. Sinop Tarihi Cezaevi (Sinop Historical Prison), Sinop

Sinop Tarihi Cezaevi

Known as the "Alcatraz of Anatolia," this historical prison is surrounded by seas on three sides and has very high walls. The structure, almost impossible to escape from, was initially built as a fortress and used as a dungeon and prison from 1560 to 1999. Many famous individuals, including Sabahattin Ali, Zekeriya Sertel, and Refik Halit Karay, unfortunately served their sentences in Sinop Prison. It is known that Sabahattin Ali wrote many of his poems here, some of which were later turned into songs.

Converted into a museum in 1999, the prison occasionally serves as a filming location for TV series and movies. Additionally, former famous inmates' cells, writings, and information are displayed inside.

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00

3. Safranbolu Evleri (Safranbolu Houses), Karabük

Safranbolu Evleri

Safranbolu, a tourist district in Karabük, is famous for its historic houses and Turkish delight. Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994, the Safranbolu houses allow you to observe traditional Turkish architecture with pleasure. These houses, designed considering the rainy climate and large family structure, also provide insights into the owner's economic status. What impressed me most about Safranbolu houses is their design, allowing them not to obstruct each other in terms of view and appearance. If you want to enjoy the experience of staying in a historical house, you can make your choice from the hotels in Safranbolu.

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4. Bandırma Vapuru (Bandırma Ferry), Samsun

Bandırma Vapuru

The Bandırma Ferry, where the journey that initiated the War of Independence took place, marked the first step in the establishment of our country when Atatürk and his comrades landed on May 19, 1919. Therefore, its significance in the history of the Republic of Turkey is undeniable. Since 2006, the ferry has been opened to the public as a museum by the Samsun Metropolitan Municipality, showcasing wax sculptures, old compasses, maps, and other maritime items. To see the exact point where the ferry docked on May 19, you need to proceed a bit further towards the center in the 35,000-square-meter National Struggle Park.

Opening hours:

  • Mondays: 12:00 – 16:45
  • Other days: 08:30 – 16:45

Admission fees:

  • General admission: 10 TL

5. Zilkale, Rize

Zilkale, Rize

Zilkale, located on the banks of the famous Fırtına River amid the natural beauty of Rize, is one of the region's most popular historical landmarks. The castle, built on a rocky slope, features 8 towers and 1 observation tower. Both its location and distinctive shape make the castle captivating, offering a breathtaking view. Initially used to secure the safety of caravans, Zilkale, situated within a 1st-degree archaeological site, continued to serve military purposes after coming under Ottoman control. Although entry to the castle cannot be made with the Museum Pass, it is free for individuals under 18 and over 65 years old. For the rest of the age groups, the entrance fee is only 3 TL.

6. Yalıboyu Evleri (Waterside Houses), Amasya

Yalıboyu Evleri

The must-visit place during your visit to Amasya is the Yalıboyu Houses. Situated along the banks of the Yeşilırmak River, most of these historical houses have been restored and transformed into hotels, restaurants, and museums. Spanning from the Ottoman period to the present day, these houses, known for their historical significance and region-specific architectural structures, are highlighted by the famous Hazeranlar Mansion. Similar to other houses, Hazeranlar Mansion consists of inner courtyards, harem-selamlık (women's and men's quarters), and mansion sections. Within Hazeranlar Mansion, which stands out among the others, period-specific items such as clothing, jewelry, kitchenware, furniture, and more are exhibited.

7. Kurul Kayalıkları (Board Cliffs), Ordu

Kurul Kayalıkları

Located 13 kilometers away from the city center in Ordu province, Kurul Cliffs is a 1st-degree natural conservation area situated on a sharp rock. It is one of the ancient settlements within the borders of our country. The most significant feature of Kurul Cliffs is its unique structure compared to other artifacts in the Black Sea region. It also hosts numerous underground galleries. The ceramic fragments found in the settlement provide evidence of habitation in Ordu during the 1st and 4th centuries BC.

8. Santa Harabeleri (Santa Ruins), Gümüşhane

Santa Harabeleri

The Santa Ruins, located 82 kilometers away from the center of Gümüşhane, is a mining town situated on the slopes of three separate valleys that form the Santa Yanbolu Stream. These ruins, located in the Santa region, which became a part of the Ottoman territories through conquest along with the Eastern Black Sea, gained significance between the 16th and 18th centuries due to the effective mining of the region's resources. Abandoned in 1923 during the Population Exchange, this historically important mining town now consists of seven neighborhoods and over 300 houses. The ruins are currently designated as an "Archaeological and Natural Conservation Area."

9. Vazelon Manastırı (Vazelon Monastery), Trabzon

Vazelon Manastırı

The construction date of the Vazelon Monastery, which belongs to the Greeks and is located within the borders of Maçka district, is 270 AD. Situated 40 kilometers south of the city center, the monastery underwent continuous restoration from 565 AD to 1410 AD. Rebuilt in 1410, the monastery was known for its vital economic importance at the time. In fact, it is noteworthy that the revenue generated from this monastery contributed to the construction of the Sümela Monastery. Vazelon Monastery, where frescoes depicting heaven, hell, and the Day of Judgment can be seen on its northern walls, is in a ruined state today since it collapsed in 1922.

10. Hattuşaş Antik Kenti (Hattusas Ancient City), Çorum

Hattuşaş Antik Kenti

Anatolian lands hosted numerous civilizations throughout history, but the first major civilization established in these lands was the Hittite Civilization. Hattusa, the capital of the Hittites, witnessed the lives of various civilizations after the Hittite period. The cuneiform tablets left by the inhabitants of the region are considered the historical memory of these civilizations and lands. That's precisely why this ancient city is not only on UNESCO's World Heritage List but also on the Memory of the World Register, making it a crucial site in world history. When visiting Hattusa, be sure to see the Nişantepe Inscription, which contains the longest hieroglyphic script from the Hittite era to the present day.

Entrance fees:

  • Student: 50 TL

Opening hours:

  • Every day of the week: 08:00 – 17:00

11. Alacahöyük Müze ve Ören Yeri (Alacahöyük Museum and Ruins), Çorum

Alacahöyük Müze ve Ören Yeri

The traces of the Hittites in our country are not limited to Hattusa alone. In Alacahöyük, you can also see artifacts left by the Hittite Civilization because this place was the cultural and artistic center of the civilization. Therefore, the Hittite artifacts found here have no counterparts in any other Hittite city. Excavations here have revealed not only the traces of the Hittites but also those of great empires such as the Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans. In fact, tombs from the Early Bronze Age, which influenced cultures that followed, can also be observed in Alacahöyük.

Opening hours:

  • Every day of the week: 08:30 – 16:45

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