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Amasya (the Amaseia of antiquity, or Amáseia) is the administrative district of Amasya Province in northern Turkey. Amasya stands in the mountains above the Black Sea coast, the city was built in a narrow valley along the banks of the Yeşilırmak River. Although near the Black Sea this area is very high above the coast and has an inland climate, well-suited to growing apples, for which the province of Amasya is famed.
In antiquity Amaseia was a fortified city high on the cliffs above the river. This area has a long history as provincial capital, a wealthy city producing kings and princes, artists, scientists, poets and thinkers, from the kings of Pontus, through Strabo the geographer, to many generations of the Ottoman imperial dynasty and right up to being the location of an important moment in the life of Ataturk. With its Ottoman period wooden houses and the tombs of the Pontus kings carved into the cliffs overhead Amasya is still attractive to visitors.
The province of Amasya is known for producing high-quality, small but well-flavoured apples. Other crops include tobacco and poppy seeds. Other economic activities in the region include mining, textiles and cement manufacture, but Amasya is not a very wealthy city. It is however an attractive, well-preserved town, especially when sitting by the river, which has a particular mystique on a winter evening when fog fılls the valley. Tourists (and also soldiers from the local base) contribute valuable income to the shopkeepers of the city. The railway line from Sivas to Samsun runs through Amasya, and there is an attractive Ottoman period railway station.
Yalıboyu houses in AmasyaOn the rock of Harşena above the town is the terraced site of the royal palace and the tombs of the kings of Pontus (illuminated at night) which, although not kept in the best condition, are an impressive sight from the town.
Harsene Kalesi - A fortification, mentioned by Strabo and largely rebuilt in medieval times also lies in ruins on a rocky outcrop above the town. And in the district of Nerkis lies some remains of another castle, Enderun Kalesi.
The town itself has many historically and architecturally valuable buildings, including the Ferhat aqueduct, the 13th century Seljuk Burmali Mosque, the 14th century Ilkhan Bimarhane Mental Hospital with lovely reliefs around its portal, the tomb of 15th century scholar Pir Ilyas and the 15th century mosque of Yildirim Beyazit. Unfortunately, Amasya is vulnerable to earthquakes which have damaged many monuments (most recently in 1939).
There are a number of well-preserved traditional Ottoman Turkish mansions, some of the best examples of Turkish domestic architecture. The 19th century Hazeranlar Konağı has been carefully restored and includes a small art gallery and ethnographical museum. Other wooden houses are being restored as hotels and guest houses.
The Archaeological Museum of Amasya has a large and interesting collection, of artefacts from many eras of antiquity, including the mummies of the Ilkhanli rulers of Amasya.
A number of tombs of Muslim saints, yatır, said to emanate healing powers. The sick and dying come to breathe the air and drink the waters of nearby springs.
Lake Borabay (65 km northeast of Amasya in the district of Taşova) is a crater lake with an impressive view and fresh air. It is a perfect area for fishing (especially trout), picnicking and sports. Other excursion sites from Amasya include Yedikir reservoir and Omarca National Park.