Karadeniz Ereğli is a city and district in the Zonguldak Province of Turkey on the Black Sea shore at the mouth of the Kılıçsu River. Modern Ereğli is the home of Erdemir, Turkey's largest steel plant due to its large natural harbour located in the lee of Baba Burnu and hence one of the few geographically attractive places for a harbour on the western Black Sea coast of Turkey. Ereğli is a very lively coastal town that is well developed due to the presence of the steel plant, although fishing is a major commercial activity in addition. Because of its Black Sea beach, Karadeniz Ereğli is a popular tourist destination locally. The city does not have an airport or rail station, but can be reached by automobile or bus from Ankara, Istanbul and other locations. Aside from fishing and steel, Karadeniz Ereğli is also well known for its delicious Ottoman strawberries. The city was a Greek city in ancient times known as Heraclea Pontica after the Greek mythical hero Heracles. The Turkish name Karadeniz Ereğli means Black Sea Ereğli which distinguishes it from other places called Ereğli in the country. It was founded by a Megarian colony, which soon subjugated the native Mariandynians and extended its power over a considerable territory. The prosperity of the city, rudely shaken by the Galatians and the Bithynians, was utterly destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars. It was the birthplace of Heraclides Ponticus. According to Greek mythology, the cave guarded by the three-headed dog Cerberus is located near the town. For his final quest, Heracles is challenged with entering the cave and capturing Cerberus.
Karadeniz Ereğli, the ancient Greek Herakleia, was founded in the 6th century BC by Greeks from Megara and Tanagra. It became one of the most important commercial and cultural centers in the Hellenic Black Sea. It was believed to have been near one of the entrances to Hades, the very entrance that Hercules, for his final quest, used to enter Hades in his labor of fetching the three headed dog Cerberos. In 1360 AD the town was taken by the Turks but was also used by the Genoese as a trading post. It was later incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and in 1922 its sizable Greek population was forced to abandon their homes, under the Greek-Turkish treaty. Famous people from Herakleia include Heracleides Ponticos (390-310 BC) who was a student of Plato and proposed the Heliocentric system, and Dionysios of Herakleia (330-250 BC) who was a stoic philosopher and friend of Zenon, the founder of stoicism. On the outskirts of Eregli there is a cave, the same cave of Hercules which is believed to be the entrance to Hades. In 364-353 BC Herakleia was ruled by the tyrant Clearchos who was credited with liberating the serfs and building the first public library. His dynasty remained in power until 288 BC. His son Dionysios ruled over several cities including Sesamos and Tieum. He was married to Amastris, the founder of Amastris, now modern Amasra. In Roman times, Herakleia was an ally of Mithridates Eupator (120-63 BC) and as a result was razed to the ground by the Roman general Cotta. Strabo describes it as a city with a good harbor and the Byzantines built a citadel here.
Karadeniz Ereğli lies in the western Black Sea region in the north of Turkey close to Zonguldak. 56 percent of its acreage constitute forests. In the county, 15 heavy industrial organizations and 81 medium-sized enterprises are active. There are 4 modern hospitals and more than 100 doctors. More than 3.000 archeological works are on display in the Karadeniz Ereğli Museum. Karadeniz Ereğli has 80 kilometers of coastline along its border. Beside the natural beaches along the coast, there are camping and beach foundations belonging to Erdemir Factory and Blacksea Regional Command. Karadeniz Ereğli is one of the precious regions in which industry and nature cohabit with integrity. Even though the population of the city is only a little over 80,000 it is the center of attraction of Zonguldak on account of areas social development , environmental planning and commercial mobility so the population of Ereğli swell to 100.000 during daylight hours. Nearly 2000 undergraduates get an education at the Karadeniz Ereğli Education Faculty affiliated to Karaelmas University. The International Ottoman Strawberry Cultural Festival begins in the second week of each year and is held in Karadeniz Ereğli. Transportation in and out of the city is provided largely by highway as it has no airport. In addition, it is one of the highly frequented ports for yachtmen with facilities for foreign trade and tourism evolving due to a Custom Passenger Gate that was put into service in 1988. Karadeniz Ereğli is only 300 kilometers away from Ankara and 280 kilometers from İstanbul.
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