Amasra

While short on sights, Amasra is big on scenery. This small city on the Black Sea is one of the most scenic places in Turkey and is a great place to spend the day.

Amasra was founded by the ancient Greeks as Sísamos (Σήσαμος) in the region of Paphlagonia (Παφλαγονία). It was later known as Ámastris (Άμαστρις) under the Romans, Byzantines, and Genoese until it was conquered by the Ottomans. It’s easy to get around and is divided into a few parts: Küçük Limanı (the small harbor near the bus terminal), Büyük Limanı (to the east across a small strip of land), Kale (the castle), and Büyük Ada.

I traveled to Amasra on a day trip from Safranbolu. After finding a small bus company with direct service from Safranbolu, I arrived mid-morning at the tiny bus terminal on Küçük Limanı. The view from the bus terminal was a great sign of things to come.

Amasra from the bus terminal in Amasra, Turkey

Amasra from the bus terminal

Near the bus terminal is a small square with a monument to Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the Ottoman conqueror of Amasra on October 17, 1460.

Fatih Sultan Mehmet monument in Amasra, Turkey

Fatih Sultan Mehmet monument

Also on the square is the city’s small museum. It has a surprisingly impressive collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts that were excavated near town, along with some Ottoman items. The museum is closed Mondays and costs just a few lira to enter.

Amasra Müzesi in Amasra, Turkey

Amasra Müzesi

Amasra Müzesi in Amasra, Turkey

Amasra Müzesi

Amasra Müzesi in Amasra, Turkey

Amasra Müzesi

The rest of the square has a couple small restaurants and shops located around it and a small beach on Küçük Limanı that leaves a lot to be desired.

Küçük Limanı in Amasra, Turkey

Küçük Limanı

Beach at Küçük Limanı in Amasra, Turkey

Beach at Küçük Limanı

A nice park next to the square has tea gardens and a statue of Barış Akarsu, a Turkish rock star from Amasra. He died after a car accident on July 4, 2007, at the age of 28.

Barış Akarsu statue in Amasra, Turkey

Barış Akarsu statue

Walking east from Küçük Limanı will bring you to Büyük Limanı, which has the marina, another underwhelming beach, and restaurants.

Büyük Limanı in Amasra, Turkey

Büyük Limanı

Beach at Büyük Limanı in Amasra, Turkey

Beach at Büyük Limanı

The town gets more interesting as you enter Kale (the castle). Inside the castle is a quaint little residential district with modern and Ottoman homes. The original castle was built by the Byzantines but the front walls and gates were built by the Genoese in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Kale in Amasra, Turkey

Kale

Kale in Amasra, Turkey

Kale

Kale in Amasra, Turkey

Kale

Kale in Amasra, Turkey

Kale

Some of the gates of the castle have original coats of arms above them.

Kale in Amasra, Turkey

Kale

Kale in Amasra, Turkey

Kale

Two interesting former Byzantine churches are located inside the castle. The first is the Kilise Mescidi. It was built in the 9th century, became a mosque in 1460, and was closed to prayer in 1930. Next is the Fatih Camii. The construction date is unknown but it became a mosque in 1460. It still serves as a mosque to this day.

Kilise Mescidi in Amasra, Turkey

Kilise Mescidi

Kilise Mescidi in Amasra, Turkey

Kilise Mescidi

Fatih Camii in Amasra, Turkey

Fatih Camii

On the western side of the castle, just outside the gates, I came to the ruins of an ancient lighthouse. Nearby, attaching the mainland to Büyük Ada, is an ancient Roman bridge. You have to go through a gate and small tunnel to enter the island.

Ancient lighthouse in Amasra, Turkey

Ancient lighthouse

Roman bridge in Amasra, Turkey

Roman bridge

The gate to Büyük Ada in Amasra, Turkey

The gate to Büyük Ada

Once on Büyük Ada, I followed a path to the very top, a hill called Boztepe. From there, the views of town were incredible. I was also able to see another small island offshore, Tavşan Adası.

View from Büyük Ada in Amasra, Turkey

View from Büyük Ada

Tavşan Adası in Amasra, Turkey

Tavşan Adası

From the gates, I followed another street along the southern end of Büyük Ada. From a few lookout points, I got my favorite views of Amasra while sitting alone and enjoying the phenomenal landscape.

Büyük Ada in Amasra, Turkey

Büyük Ada

View from Büyük Ada in Amasra, Turkey

View from Büyük Ada

I came from Safranbolu on a direct bus. From Istanbul it’s a bit tricker. It’s possible to get a direct bus to Bartin from Istanbul and change to a minibus. Metro Turizm has service to Bartin.

I didn’t stay overnight and ate at a small fast food restaurant outside of Amasra Müzesi, so I can’t recommend any restaurants or hotels.

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