Giresun is the capital of Giresun Province in the Black Sea Region of Turkey situated about 175 kilometers or 109 miles west of the city of Trabzon. The surrounding area is rich in agriculture and grows most of Turkey's hazelnuts as well as walnuts, apples and cherries. The port of Giresun has long transported this agriculture as well as products like leather and timber. The government enlarged the harbour in the 1960s but Giresun remains a fairly small port and center of commerce mainly for the surrounding districts. There is a beach and plenty of bars due to a more relaxed attitude than in most places along the Black Sea coast, so on weekends visitors from nearby Ordu and Trabzon flock to the bars and nightclubs, as well as students from Giresun University which was founded there in 2006.
Visitors also go to Giresun Island (Turkish: Giresun Adası), a small island situated 1.2 kilometers from Giresun in the Black Sea. It is the largest island on the Turkish Black Sea coast and contains the ruins of a roofless stone temple, ancient fortifications and two old wine or oil presses are still on the island. The islands ancient names are Aretias, Ares, Areos Nesos and Puga. A large, black, spherical stone, located on the island named Hamza Taşı is said to have magical properties. The roofless stone temple on the island was attributed to the Amazons in antiquity. For decades it has been preserved as a class II historical and nature site by the Turkish government and residential construction is not permitted. Tourist visits to the island are possible on small to medium-sized fishing and cruise boats which can be provided by several tourist agencies in Giresun.
There are abundant myths connected to the island. It is believed that the stone temple situated on the island was built by Amazons, the warrior women of antiquity, and due to this the island is also called Amazon Island (Turkish: Amazon Adası). According to legend the island was sacred to the Amazons who dedicated a temple to the war god Ares here. Even today, fertility rites are performed here every May, now said to be a popular practice, but is actually a 4,000 year old celebration. Athamus, the King of Thessaly had two sons and a wife named Nephele. When his kingdom suffered a serious food shortage, the King was advised to sacrifice his two sons as a remedy for the famine. But Nephele heard of the plan and hid her sons by wrapping them in a golden fleece and sending them to Caucasia. Years later, a navy garrison commanded by Hercules arrived on the island to capture the golden fleece. But upon arrival find dragon birds, which were cast out of Greece by Hercules, and these fight against Hercules soldiers. The Argonauts kill the birds and continue their voyage to Caucasia in search of the golden fleece.
Giresun has a borderline oceanic subtropical climate like most of the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey. With warm and humid summers, and cool and damp winters, Giresun has high but evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. Precipitation is heaviest in autumn and spring and snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March. The water temperature, like most of the rest of the Black Sea coast of Turkey is always cool and fluctuates between 8° and 20°C throughout the year. Like everywhere else on the Black Sea coast it rains and often snows in winter and is quite humid throughout the year with a lack of extremes in temperature in the summer or in the winter. As a result of these conditions Giresun and the surrounding countryside is covered by rich and abundant flora. As soon as visitors get beyond the buildings of the city they encounter hazelnut orchards and the gorgeous high pastures which are further in the mountains in villages like Kümbet, Bektaş, Kulakkaya, Çakrak, Tohumluk, Kurtbeli, Kazıkbeli, Ayıbeli, Beytarla, Buları and Kırkharman.
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