Where to Visit in Gumushane

Gumushane is a city and the capital district of Gumushane Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. The city lies along the Harşit River, at an elevation of 5,000 feet (1,500 m), about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Trabzon. According to the 2010 census, population of Gümüşhane urban center is 28,620. The district covers an area of 1,789 km2 (691 sq mi), and the city lies at an elevation of 1,153 m (3,783 ft).

It is suggested that the ancient Thia was located 4 mi (6.4 km) west of modern Gumushane, in modern Beşkilise. In the Byzantine period, there was a town named Tzanicha or Tzantzakon means land of Zan / Laz people, possibly located 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west of Gümüşhane.

Around 840 AD, the area was included in the new Roman (Byzantine) province of Chaldia. It was later ruled by the Byzantine Empire of Trebizond.

During the Ottoman years, the sanjak of Gumushane fell under the administration successively of Rum Province, Erzurum Province and Trabzon Province, and was divided into four kazas: Gümüşhane, Torul (capital city Ardassa), Şiran (Cheriana), and Kelkit (Keltik).

The sanjak in which Gumushane was situated at some stage comprised 37 mines of argentiferous lead and six copper mines. There is no evidence that these mines were in use during Byzantine times.

As for the name of the city during the Ottoman period, Greek-speaking population was also using the name Gümüşhane but, in the first decades of 19th century, the Hellenized form Argyrópolis (Αργυρόπολις, from argyros “silver” and polis “city”) was established.

Gumushane is surrounded by high mountains, Zigana-Trabzon Mountains to the north, Çimen Mountains to the south,  Giresun Mountains to the west and Pulur, Soğanlı Mountains to the east. Trekking is popular sport is at these mountains.  Mount Zigana has a ski center on it and it is a well known tourist destination for winter sports. Abdal Musa Peak (3331 m.) is the highest peak within it. The main trees in the forests are Scotch pine and fir, and there are many animals and birds in the area. There are many lakes such as Karanlık Göl, Beş Göller, Artebel Gölü, Kara Göller which are at the peak of Gavurdağı Mountain, and are preserved as natural parks. All these mountains compose 56% of the area of Gümüşhane province.

Gumushane has a humid continental climate) with cold and snowy winters and warm summers. In the height of summer; July and August, temperatures at midday usually surpass 28 °C, summer nights tend to become very cool due to the continentality of Gümüşhane, and in winter temperatures usually plummet to -10 °C and even go as low as -20 °C occasionally.

Gümüşhane has a rich historical background so there are many historical places, mosques, churches, castles. The ancient city of Satala in the modern village of Sadak was the most important military camp of the ancient Roman Empire in the east. This place was ruled by the Colchians, Hittites, Assyrians, Urartu, Persians, Pontic Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. Today, rests of the Sadak village is protected by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In addition, Süleymaniye Mosque is in the previous Gümüşhane settlement and it was commissioned by the Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. Küçük Mosque and Çit Village Mosque are some of other popular mosques in the city. Besides, there are numerous churches within Gümüşhane. Santa Çakallı, Santa Terzili, Kalur Rock, Samamoni, and Theodor Churches are some examples of historical churches in Gumushane. During the medieval period one of the most important guardians of the road connecting Trabzon to Erzincan was the Byzantine fortress located about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) northwest of modern Gümüşhane. An archaeological and historical assessment of this site as well as a scaled plan were published in 1985.[13] The impressive circuit walls and defenses are clearly evident at the accessible west approach to the lofty outcrop. In addition to several rooms and cisterns, the castle has two chapels; the easternmost was once covered by a dome.

There are numerous large and small caves which owe their formation to the geology – particularly the limestones – of Gümüşhane, including Alicli Agil Cave, Arili Cave, Altınbaşı Cave, Asarönü Ören Cave, Kartalkaya Cave, Ayiini Cave, K.Ardiçli Cave, Karçukuru Cave, Ardiçli Cave, Tepekli Cave, Uçbacalı Cave, Buz Cave and Ikisu Cave.

A distinctive local wildflower, bearing purple blossoms in Spring and frequently to be found growing in rock crevices around the mouths of Gümüşhane’s many caves, is a member of the nightshade genus Physochlaina : Physochlaina orientalis – a plant rich in medicinally valuable tropane alkaloids of the type found also in belladonna.

The cave in Gümüşhane most visited by tourists is the 150 metres (490 ft) long Karaca Cave, popular because of its  speleothems (= dripstone formations), including stalagmites, stalactites, columns and travertine pools. It is a fossil cave located between Torul and Gümüşhane, in which the lime-rich water percolating through fissures in the roof has slowly built up calcite structures of remarkable complexity. Other geological features of Gümüşhane include the numerous plateaux commanding views of the forested areas which surround them. These include the Zigana, Taşköprü, Artabel,  Şiran and Kalis plateaux, which form fitting sites for the Summer festivals which are held there annually.

Many native tourists participate in these festivals – not only for entertainment’s sake, but also to shop for regional delicacies. Pestil and köme are renowned desserts of Gümüşhane, made from mulberries, honey, hazel nuts, walnuts and milk. In addition to köme and pestil, rosehips, apples, and walnuts are notable local foods put to use in the many different desserts which are numbered among the regional specialities of Gümüşhane. Nor is the town’s rich food culture restricted to sweetmeats : mantılemiserişteboranikuymakevelek, dolması and siron feature among the savoury dishes local to Gümüşhane.

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