Sinop was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Pontus (Πόντος), a Hellenized dynasty of Persian descent ruling over ethnic Greek subjects. Bits and pieces are left today from that great empire, which lasted from 281 BC to 63 BC.
The ancient city walls are the most prominent feature of Sinop. The original city walls were built around 2000 BC by the Kaska. They were expanded by ancient Greeks from Miletus, in 770 BC. The current walls were constructed by Pontian king Mithridates the Great in 100 BC. They’re 2,053 meters long.
It’s possible to climb the walls near the harbor. From the top, you can get great views of several parts of the city.
At the top of the very southern tower, a popular café and nightclub has been established.
The walls also run along the north side of the peninsula near the neck. Part of the walls were used to construct the notorious Sinop Prison, one of the eeriest tourist sites I’ve ever visited.
Further inland from the city center is the Balatlar Kilisesi (Palace Church), a 10th century ruin of a church. When I visited, it was a working archaeological site. Roman baths and a palace have also been discovered, hence the name of the church. It’s speculated that the site may be the palace of Mithridates the Great.
I walked into the site and one of the archaeologists told me it was closed to the public. As she escorted me back to the entrance, she secretly showed me the church and asked me to be quick with my photos. The church was in an appalling condition, with graffiti and other damage taking their toll. Some original Byzantine frescoes were visible.