Amasra is a beautiful seaside holiday resort town with a nice beach, enjoyable views and great fish restaurants. Amasra is a small port on the Black Sea in the Bartın Province of Turkey. The town is today much appreciated for its beaches and the natural beauty of its surroundings making tourism the most important pursuit for its inhabitants. Amasra has two islands - the larger of the two is called Great Island Büyük Ada (Turkish: Büyük Ada) while the smaller one is called Rabbit Island (Turkish: Tavşan Adası). Buses from Safranbolu take around 3 hours, but if visitors can't find any buses going directly to Amasra, they should go to Bartin from which there are regular minibuses covering the rest of the way to Amasra. Long before the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts were developed making them the popular destinations that they are today, Amasra was one of the first holiday resorts in the country. Because of its close proximity to Ankara, it became a vacation haven for the Turkish elite before foreign visitors even thought about Turkey as a holiday destination.
By the time Turkish tourism began to attract foreigners in the 1970s and 80s, Amasra had turned to coal, burrowing into the local hillsides for their rich deposits of coal. But, fortunatley it was the coal that spared Amasra from large scale holiday resort development which was to mar many Turkish coastlines. During the past several years, Turks have begun to return to Amasra, but there are still not many foreigners visiting the area - at least not in the numbers that flock to other holiday resort destinations. It still retains the feel of a traditional seaside town where the locals live like they always have lived with a calmer demeanor than that which seems to be often prevalent in the more commercial holiday resorts. Recently the Turkish government announced plans to increase production of the coal mining which would cause wide-spread pollution in the area and have serious effects on tourism. A petition to stop these government plans is attempting to prevent this and its destructive pollution of the area.
Boztepe Island is one of the two protruding outcrops just beyond the tip of the peninsula. Visitors can cross the water on an old Byzantine era bridge and walk to its summit past the remains of Genoese towers and a few Ottoman-style houses. There are no tourist signposts or tours for these things; Amasra wears its history on its sleeve. The islands are just offshore from the very tip of two thin promontories sticking out into the water. The larger of the two is ringed with light colored jagged rock and the remains of ancient fortifications connected to the mainland by a the old Byzantine era bridge . Houses with red tiled roofs situated on the only inhabitable area of the island. As with all other places in Turkey there are portraits of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Father of the Turkish Republic, everywhere you go in the restaurants, shops and other public places. But in Amasra there is another face to be seen almost as frequently as you see the face of Atatürk. The face of Baris Akarsu with his long hair is in abundance. The people of Amasra seem to adore this local hero who won the first Turkish Pop Idol in 2004 in part for his nuance of hugging everyone he met. Unfortunately, Baris Akarsu died in a car crash in 2007.
Situated in the ancient region of Paphlagonia, the original city seems to have been called Sesamus mentioned by Homer in conjunction with Cytorus. Stephanus says that it was originally called Cromna; but in another place, where he repeats the statement, he adds, as it is said; but some say that Cromna is a small place in the territory of Amastris, which is the true account. The place derived its name Amastris from the niece of the Persian King Darius III. The territory of Amastris produced a great quantity of boxwood which grew abundantly on Mount Cytorus. It continued to be a town of some note until the seventh century AD. The city was not abandoned in the Byzantine Era, when the acropolis was transformed into a fortress and a church was built that is still standing. It was sacked by the Rus during the First Russo-Byzantine War in the 830s. But it was in 1261 that Amastris regained part of its former importance when the town was taken by the Italian city-state of Genoa in its bid to obtain sole control of the Black Sea trade. Genoese domination ended in 1460 when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered the entirety of the Anatolian shores of the Black Sea.
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