Places to Visit in Amasya

Things to Know About Amasya

Amasya is a charming city situated in the mountains of Northern Turkey, overlooking a river. In ancient times, it served as a provincial capital and was home to numerous artists and kings who left their marks throughout the town, nestled between the sea and the mountains.

Today, visitors can marvel at the Ottoman houses (known as Yalıboyu Evleri) and tombs carved into the cliffs where former Pontus Kings were laid to rest. Amasya boasts a rich history, having produced more than one sultan or caliph, including Murad I and Selim I, making it a popular destination for those interested in historical tourism. A trip to Amasya is highly recommended for those who appreciate beauty and history. If you’re seeking another beautiful Turkish city with a deep history, Amasya should be at the top of your list!

Places to Visit Amasya

Amasya Castle

Amasya Castle, also known as Harşena Castle, is a historic fortress located in the northern region of Turkey. Throughout its existence, the castle has undergone numerous attacks, changes of ownership, and restorations, dating back to the Persian, Roman, Pontic, and Byzantine eras. Following the Ottoman conquest of Amasya, significant restoration work was undertaken on the castle, which remained in use until the 18th century, when it lost its military significance.

he castle complex boasts an array of features, including cisterns, water tanks, Turkish bath ruins (known as “Hamam”) that reflect the Ottoman Empire, rock tombs of Pontus kings, armouries, warehouses, mosques, and dungeons. Visitors can also climb the 150 steps of Cilanbolu, which have a diameter of 8 meters.

On the southern hillside of the castle, visitors can explore the ruins of the “Kızlar Sarayı” (Maidens’ Palace), which was used during the Ottoman era. At a height of around 20-25 meters, there are 18 large and small limestone tombs of the Pontus kings carved into the plain wall. The castle itself features four gates, each with dungeons, cisterns, and wells. Overall, Amasya Castle is a fascinating historical site that offers visitors a glimpse into the area’s rich and diverse past.

Rock Tombs of Pontic Kings

The Tombs of the Kings of Pontus, located in Amasya, northern Turkey, consist of various sized tombs set in a royal necropolis. On April 13, 2014, the site was added to the tentative list in the cultural category of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Royal Necropolis was constructed after Mithridates I established the Kingdom of Pontus in 281 BC. The burial site consists of monumental tombs carved from limestone rock, situated on a hill north of Amaseia (present-day Amasya) and the Yeşilırmak River. The valley houses tombs with large stone chambers. The area is referred to as the “Valley of the Kings” due to its significance as the largest kingdom in northern Anatolia during the Hellenistic period. Of the 21 rock tombs around Amasya, five king tombs located in the “Maidens’ Palace” area belong to Mithridates I, Ariobarzanes, Mithridates II, Mithridates III, and Pharnaces I.

The rock tombs range in height from 8 to 15 meters (26-49 feet). Three of the five tombs have separate staircases leading up to them, while the other two are accessible via a tunnel and steps. All five tombs can be accessed by a ladder due to their height, and each has columns on its front facade. Three of the tomb fronts have six columns, one has four, and two have two columns. There are three tombs with a column and two without. The tomb known to belong to Pharnaces I measures 15 m x 8 m x 6 m. An inscription above the rock-tomb reads “the phrouarch (commander of the castle) Metrodorus dedicated an altar and a flowerbed for king Pharnaces I, to all gods.” Overall, the Tombs of the Kings of Pontus offer a fascinating glimpse into the history of the region and the importance of the Kingdom of Pontus during the Hellenistic period.

Hazeranlar Mansion

Located in Yalıboyu, the Hazeranlar Mansion is a remarkable example of 19th century civil architecture that still stands today. Constructed in 1865 by Hasan Talat Efendi to honor his sister Hazeran Hanım, the mansion has a long history of being lived in and is considered a prestigious place.

The mansion is a fine example of Ottoman civil architecture, featuring four iwans and a central-sofa. Its layout includes separate sections for women (haremlik) and men (selamlık), as well as an inner courtyard. The first restoration of the mansion began in 1979 and was completed in 1983, after which it was opened to the public as a museum house.

The Hazeranlar Mansion is home to 984 ethnographic artifacts on display, such as carpets, kilims, kitchenware, and women’s jewelry that offer a glimpse into life during the 19th century. Notably, there are carpets with inscriptions, traditional caftans embroidered with metal thread (bindallıs), and silver and gilded jewelry that are particularly significant in reflecting the era to which they belong. Today, the upper floors of the mansion are dedicated to the museum-house, while the basement houses an art gallery.

Shahzades Museum

The Shahzades Museum is a charming old house, two-story and built with timber frame, which has been renovated in line with its original design. It now houses an exhibit that is a must-visit for tourists: sculptures of Ottoman sultans who were trained in the city as shahzades. These statues, dressed in the garb of their portraits, are displayed throughout the museum.

As you walk through the museum, you’ll experience an authentic representation of a Turkish home from the 15th-16th centuries. The walls are adorned with Hava and Rumi patterns, while calligraphy covers the ceilings. The floors are covered with bright, intricately patterned carpets that match the walls perfectly.

Seven statues on the upper floor depict Yıldırım Beyazid Khan, Çelebi Mehmet Khan, Murat Khan II, Sultan Mehmet Khan (Mehmet the Conqueror), Beyazid Khan II, Sultan Selim III and Murat I. On the ground floor, there are five more statues of Shahzade Mustafa and Shahzade Beyazid (sons of Süleyman the Magnificent), Shahzade Ahmet and Shahzade Alaeddin (sons of Murat Khan II), and Shahzade Ahmet (son of Beyazid Khan II) who were also trained as shahzades in Amasya, but never became sultans.

The museum also features a video documentary that showcases the important moments of training and leadership from each of these figures. The thirty-minute video provides insight into the historical events surrounding these shahzades. Visitors are given earphones for English translations of the script. The Special Provincial Administration runs the Shahzades Museum, and the entrance fee is quite reasonable. Visitors are welcome to take photos and record videos of their visit.

Sabuncuoglu Medical and Surgical History Museum

The Sabuncuoglu Medical and Surgical History Museum, constructed in 1308, is a monument dedicated to the reign of Sultan Olcayto and his wife İldiz Hatun during the Ilkhanate era in Amasya. The building was designed based on the traditional Seljuk medresseh, featuring vaulted rooms with one side open to a courtyard known as iwans, facing each other. The courtyard is located on top of two opposing sides and extends through archways for added space. The building’s facade, entryways, and archways are made of hewn stone, while the rest is constructed from broken stones. The building’s decorations focus mainly on the monumental portal at the front and the evenly spaced windows on both sides of it.

The Sabuncuoglu Medical and Surgical History Museum, built in 1308 to honor Sultan Olcayto and his wife İldiz Hatun during the Ilkhanid reign in Amasya, boasts a stunning façade that highlights its monumental beauty. The building’s design, reminiscent of classical Seljuk medressehs, features iwans facing each other and a courtyard located on top of two opposing sides that extend through archways. The building is constructed with hewn stone for the façade, entryways, and archways, while broken stones were used for the rest. The outer façade of the building exhibits typical Seljuk architecture, featuring intricate geometrical and patterned stonework. The use of muqarnas edging to adorn the triangular niche that surrounds the relief of a kneeling man on the keystone of the arch of the portal is unique to this building. The grand windows on both sides of the portal add to the aesthetic appeal of the façade.

The Sabuncuoglu Medical and Surgical History Museum is the only remaining artifact from the Ilkhanid reign, which played a crucial role in the end of the Anatolian Seljuk era. This museum is notable for being Turkey’s first hospital to provide medical assistance through music.

Ferhat Water Channel

The Ferhat water channel, believed to have been constructed during the Hellenistic or early-Roman era, is situated outside the city of Amasya. Its purpose was to provide water to the inhabitants of the city, flowing down from the hills. The channel runs parallel to a nearby highway and is roughly two kilometers in length. It was constructed using hydraulic principles, with tunnels and aqueducts employed depending on the terrain.

The Ferhat Water Conduit, as it is commonly known, has become associated with the legendary love story of Ferhat and Şirin among the local population. Visitors can view a section of the channel, measuring around two kilometers, by following the D100 highway through the Sabuncuoglu District.

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