Samsun is a big city on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Tourists often know it mainly as a turning point from the coastal highway to the inland road leading to Ankara. However, this city has some hidden treasures and is ready to share them with wise travelers.
Good to know
The first impressive thing about this city is its age: it has stood here almost 3 thousand years! To be exact, Samsun was founded around 760 B.C. During its lifetime, the city has been part of different kingdoms and empires until it became a place where the Turkish liberation movement started. In fact, Samsun is the place where, in 1919, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk started the Turkish War of Independence, which resulted in transferring from the fundamentalist Ottoman Empire into the democratic Republic of Turkey.
What to see
When strolling along the 19 Mayıs Boulevard towards the sea, you will see life-size figures of Atatürk and his comrades, and end up overlooking the replica of SS Bandırma, the ferry which Atatürk used to cross the Black sea from Istanbul to Samsun.
Don’t forget to go to the Amisos Hill, where you will enjoy the combination of ancient monuments, breathtaking sea views and cozy cafes. To get there, it is best to take the cable car from the Batı Park (which costs around $2). You can also hop on the minibus (dolmush) #1 or the tram to Baruthane, if you are going from the city center.
The central square, Cumhuriyet Meydanı, is another great place to walk around and do some people watching. Seize the moment while walking here: the real uniqueness of Turkey is best preserved in these eastern regions of the country. By the way, there are lots of inexpensive shops, boutique hotels and street food cafes around this square, so you may want to spend a bit more time here.