Samsun Information

Samsun , Turkey

Samsun is a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey. It is the provincial capital of Samsun Province and a major Black Sea port.


The present name of the city may come from its former Greek name of Amisos by a shortening of Eis Amisos (meaning to Amisos) + ounta (Greek suffix for place names) to Sampsunda (Σαμψούντα) and then Samsun[1] (pronounced [sɑmsun]).

The early Greek historian Hecataeus wrote that Amisos was formerly called Enete, the place mentioned in Homer's Iliad.

During the Ottoman Empire the present name was written in Ottoman Turkish: صامسون


People from Samsun. National Laz costumes in Ottoman era, 1910's

Paleolithic artifacts found in the Tekkeköy Caves can be seen in Samsun Archaeology Museum.

The earliest layer excavated of the höyük of Dündartepe revealed a Chalcolithic settlement. Early Bronze Age and Hittite settlements were also found there[2] and at Tekkeköy.

Samsun (then known as Amisos, alternative spelling Amisus) was settled between the years of 760 - 750 BC by people from Miletus,[3] who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. The city's ideal combination of fertile ground and shallow waters attracted numerous traders.

In the 3rd century BC the city came under the expanded rule of the Kingdom of Pontus. The Kingdom of Pontus had been part of the empire of Alexander the Great. However, the empire was fractured soon after Alexander's death in the 4th century BC. At its height, the kingdom controlled the north of central Anatolia and mercantile towns on the northern Black Sea shores.

The Romans took over in 47 BC and Amisos became part of the eastern Roman Empire.

For the period after the fall of Rome the Eastern Roman Empire is now called the Byzantine Empire. The city was part of the theme of Armeniakon.

In the later Ottoman period the land around the town mainly produced tobacco. The town was connected to the railway system in the second half of the 19th century, and tobacco trade boomed.
Replica of the ferry SS Bandırma, which carried Atatürk from Istanbul and arrived in Samsun on May 19th 1919, the date which traditionally marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established the Turkish liberation movement in Samsun on May 19, 1919, the date which traditionally marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.

The city is both an Eastern Orthodox and a Roman Catholic titular see.


The grandparents of many of the present inhabitants migrated to Samsun from further east on the Black Sea.

Map of Samsun

Samsun is a long city which extends along the coast between two river deltas which jut into the Black Sea. It is located at the end of an ancient route from Cappadocia: the Amisos of antiquity lay on the headland northwest of the modern city center.

The city is growing fast: many more apartment blocks and shopping malls are currently being built. Industry is tending to move (or be moved) east, further away from the city center and towards the airport.


To Samsun's west, lies the Kızılırmak ("Red River", the Halys of antiquity), one of the longest rivers in Anatolia and its fertile delta. To the east, lie the Yeşilırmak ("Green River", the Iris of antiquity) and its delta. The River Mert reaches the sea at the city.


Samsun has a typical Black Sea climate with high and evenly distributed rainfall the year round. Summers are warm and humid, and the average maximum temperature is around 27 °C (81 °F) in August. Winters are cool and damp, and the lowest average minimum temperature is around 3 °C (37 °F) in January.

Precipitation is heaviest in late autumn and early winter. Snow is quite common between the months of December and March but this usually varies considerably from year to year, and the snowcover and temperatures below the freezing point rarely last more than a few days.

The water temperature, like on the rest of the Black Sea coast of Turkey, fluctuates between 8° and 20 °C (68 °F) throughout the year.


The newly founded Samsun State Opera and Ballet, performs in The Atatürk Culture Center. Founded in 2009 it is one of the six state opera houses in Turkey. The Samsun Opera have performed Die Entführung (W. A. Mozart) in the annual İstanbul Opera Festival. In collaboration with The Pekin Opera, The Samsun Opera performed Puccini's Madama Butterfly in the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival in 2012. Other performances include La Boheme, La Traviata, Don Quijote, Giselle. The current musical director is Lorenzo Castriota Skanderbeg.


There are two universities in Samsun: the state run Ondokuz Mayıs University and the private sector Canik Başarı University. There is also a police training college [6] and many small private colleges.
Places to see
Statue of Atatürk by the Austrian sculptor Heinrich Krippel in Samsun's city center.

    Atatürk Kültür Sarayı (AKM - Palace of Culture). Concerts and other performances are held at the Kultur Sarayi, which is shaped much like a ski jump.
    Archaeological and Atatürk Museum. The archaeological part of the museum displays ancient artifacts found in the Samsun area, including the Amisos treasure. The Atatürk section includes photographs of his life and some personal belongings. The museum is open from 8:30 till 12:00 and from 14:00 till 17:00.
    Yabancılar Pazari (Foreigners Market)
    Statue of Atatürk. By Austrian sculptor Heinrich Krippel, from 1928 to 1931. The statue was depicted on the obverse of the Turkish 100,000 lira banknotes of 1991-2001.[7]
    Atatürk (Gazi) Museum. It houses Atatürk's bedroom, his study and conference room as well as some personal belongings.
    Pazar Mosque, Samsun's oldest surviving building, a mosque built by the Ilkhanate Mongols in the 13th century.
    Batı (west) Park is a large park on land reclaimed from the sea, with a recently constructed "Amazon Village".
    Tumuli, containing tombs dated between 300BC and 30BC, are a short walk up the hill from Batı Park or Baruthane tram station. Alternatively they can be reached by car, or by teleferique from Batı Park.
    Valide or Büyük Mosque was built by the Batumlu Haci Efendi in 1884. Its name "Valide" comes from the mother of Sultan Abdulaziz.[8]
    Haci Hatun Mosque dates from 1694
    Tekkeköy Caves 14 km east of city center archaeological site from Hittites


Football is the most popular sport: in the older districts above the city center children often kick balls around in the evenings in the smallest streets. The city's football club is Samsunspor, which plays its games at the Samsun 19 Mayıs Stadium.

Basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, water skiing (in summer), horse riding, go karting, paintballing, martial arts and many other sports are played. Cycling and jogging are only common along the sea front, where recreational fishing is also popular.

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