Where to Visit in Samsun
Samsun, historically known as Sampsounta, is a city on the north coast of Turkey and a major Black Sea port. Over 700,000 people live in the city. The city is the capital of Samsun Province which has a population of over 1,350,000. The city is home to Ondokuz Mayıs University, several hospitals, three large shopping malls, Samsunspor football club, an opera and a large and modern manufacturing district. A former Greek settlement, the city is best known as the place where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began the Turkish War of Independence in 1919.
The present name of the city is believed to have come from its former Greek name of Amisós (Αμισός) by a reinterpretation of eís Amisón (meaning “to Amisós”) and ounta (Greek suffix for place names) to [eí]s Am[p]s-únta (Σαμψούντα: Sampsúnta) and then Samsun.
The early Greek historian Hecataeus wrote that Amisos was formerly called Enete, the place mentioned in Homer’s Iliad. In Book II, Homer says that the ἐνετοί (Enetoi) inhabited Paphlagonia on the southern coast of the Black Sea in the time of the Trojan War (c. 1200 BC). The Paphlagonians are listed among the allies of the Trojans in the war, where their king Pylaemenes and his son Harpalion perished. Strabo mentioned that the inhabitants had disappeared by his time.
Samsun has also been known as Peiraieos by Athenian settlers and even briefly as Pompeiopolis by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. The city was called Simisso by the Genoese. It was during the Ottoman Empire, that its present name was written as Ottoman Turkish: صامسون (Ṣāmsūn). The city has been known as Samsun since the formation of the Turkey in 1923.
Samsun is a long city which extends along the coast between two river deltas which jut into the Black Sea. It is located at the end of an ancient route from Cappadocia: the Amisos of antiquity lay on the headland northwest of the modern city center. The city is growing fast: land has been reclaimed from the sea and many more apartment blocks and shopping malls are currently being built. Industry is tending to move (or be moved) east, further away from the city center and towards the airport.
During the Tanzimat period and the subsequent wars, Ottoman Muslims were exiled from the Balkans and Circassians were expelled from the Caucasus region. Many of the present inhabitants trace their origins from further west or east on the Black Sea coast. The overwhelming majority of people are Muslim. Due to depressed economic conditions, Samsun saw slow but gradual population growth until 1990. Beginning with the economic liberalization Turkey, the city’s population began to rapidly increase. In 1990, the city reported a population of 322,982. That figure grew to 388,509 by 2000, 461,640 in 2008, to 511,601 in 2015. In 2020, the city had an estimated population of 710,000.
Samsun has one of the longest coastlines of the Black Sea Region and this strip stretches from Canik until May 19. 90% of this 35 km long coastline consists of fine sandy beaches suitable for swimming, and alternative sports such as surfing, jet skiing and sailing can be practiced besides swimming. There are a total of 39 beaches in Samsun, with the highest number of beaches in Atakum with 19 of them. After Atakum, Alaçam and Çarşamba come with three beaches each. Bafra, Ilkadım and May 19 each have two beaches, and Canik also has one beach. There are no beaches in Asarcık, Ayvacık, Havza, Kavak and Ladik. As of August 2018, all of the beaches measured by the Environmental Health Department are classified as very clean. In addition, 13 beaches, 10 of which are in Atakum, are awarded the Blue Flag beach.
In Samsun, where activities for winter tourism can be carried out in addition to beach tourism, Akdağ Winter Sports and Ski Center, especially in Ladik, is the most important investment in this area with its 1675 m ski track and 1300 m chair lift, attracting tourists from the surrounding cities. Akdağ also stands out as a paragliding, mountaineering and highland tourism center together with Kocadağ; Nebiyan Mountain is visited by mountaineers, and Kunduz Mountains are visited by transhumance. In addition to natural areas such as Asarağaç Hill, Gölalan Waterfalls and Kabaceviz Waterfall, Çamgölü, Sarıgazel, Vezirköprü nature parks and Çakkır and Hasköy recreation areas have also been brought into tourism in recent years. The Çarşamba Plain and the Galeriç Floodplain, especially the Kızılırmak Delta, the region, which was included in the World Heritage list in 2016, is frequently visited by bird watchers. May 25 Thermal Tourism Center in Havza, which has been given the status of a tourism center, is the most important health tourism point in Samsun, and the thermal springs in Havza and Ladik are also among the tourism centers of the city. The waters coming out of the hot springs, which are visited by 200 thousand people a year, have been used in the treatment of diseases such as rheumatic diseases, gynecological diseases, nervous diseases, joint diseases and calcification for two thousand years.