Amasra (from Greek Amastris Ἄμαστρις, gen. Ἀμάστριδος) is a small Black Sea port town in the Bartın Province, Turkey, formerly known as Amastris.

The town is today much appreciated for its beaches and natural setting, which has made tourism the most important activity for its inhabitants. In 2010 the population was 6,500. Amasra has two islands: the bigger one is called Büyük ada ('Great Island'), the smaller one Tavşan adası ('Rabbit Island').

Skyline of Amasra
Location of Amasra District in Bartın Province
Location of Amasra District in Bartın Province
Amasra is located in Turkey
Location in Turkey
Coordinates: 41°44′58″N 32°23′11″E / 41.74944°N 32.38639°E
Country Turkey
RegionBlack Sea
 • MayorMehmet Emin Timur (CHP)
 • District178.82 km2 (69.04 sq mi)
 • Urban
 • District
 • District density85/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)(+90) 378


For namesakes, see Amastris (disambiguation)

Situated in the ancient region of Paphlagonia, the original city seems to have been called Sesamus (Greek: Σήσαμος), and it is mentioned by Homer[3] in conjunction with Cytorus. Stephanus[4] says that it was originally called Cromna; but in another place,[5] where he repeats the statement, he adds, as it is said; but some say that Cromna is a small place in the territory of Amastris, which is the true account. The place derived its name Amastris from Amastris, the niece of the last Persian king Darius III, who was the wife of Dionysius, tyrant of Heraclea, and after his death the wife of Lysimachus. Four small Ionian colonies, Sesamus, Cytorus, Cromna, also mentioned in the Iliad,[6] and Tium, were combined by Amastris, after her separation from Lysimachus,[7] to form the new community of Amastris, placed on a small river of the same name and occupying a peninsula.[8] According to Strabo, Tium soon detached itself from the community, but the rest kept together, and Sesamus was the acropolis of Amastris. From this it appears that Amastris was really a confederation or union of three places, and that Sesamus was the name of the city on the peninsula. This may explain the fact that Mela[9] mentions Sesamus and Cromna as cities of Paphlagonia, while omitting Amastris.[10]

The territory of Amastris produced a great quantity of boxwood, which grew on Mount Cytorus. Its tyrant Eumenes presented the city of Amastris to Ariobarzanes of Pontus in c. 265–260 BC rather than submit it to domination by Heraclea, and it remained in the Pontic kingdom until its capture by Lucius Lucullus in 70 BC in the second Mithridatic War.[11] The younger Pliny, when he was governor of Bithynia and Pontus, describes Amastris, in a letter to Trajan,[12] as a handsome city, with a very long open place (platea), on one side of which extended what was called a river, but in fact was a filthy, pestilent, open drain. Pliny obtained the emperor's permission to cover over this sewer. On a coin of the time of Trajan, Amastris has the title Metropolis. It continued to be a town of some note to the seventh century of our era. From Amasra got its name an important place of Constantinople, the Amastrianum.

The city was not abandoned in the Byzantine Era, when the acropolis was transformed into a fortress and the still surviving church was built. It was sacked by the Rus during the First Russo-Byzantine War in the 830s. Speros Vryonis states that in the 9th century a "combination of local industry, trade, and the produce of its soil made Amastris one of the more prosperous towns on the Black Sea."[13] In the 13th century Amasra exchanged hands several times, first becoming a possession of the Empire of Trebizond in 1204,[14] then at some point in the next ten years being captured by the Seljuk Turks, until finally in 1261, in her bid to monopolize the Black Sea trade, the town came under the control of the Republic of Genoa. Genoese domination ended when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered the whole Anatolian shores of the Black Sea.[15]

Ecclesiastical history

The bishopric of Amastris was established early: according to Eusebius, its congregation received a letter from the second-century bishop, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, wherein he names their bishop, one Palmas.[16] The see was initially a suffragan of the metropolitan of Gangra, capital of the Roman province of Paphlagonia.

In the late 8th century its bishop obtained from the Byzantine Emperor its elevation to the rank of autocephalous archeparchy. It is listed as such in the Notitia Episcopatuum attributed to Basil the Armenian (c. 840) and in that of Leo VI the Wise (early 10th century).

In the middle of the 10th century it obtained the rank of Metropolitan see without suffragans, a rank it held until, due to the diminution in the number of Christians in the area, it was suppressed.

From the 14th century to the second half of the 15th, the town was also the seat of a bishopric of the Latin Church.[17][18][19]

Latin titular see

No longer a residential bishopric, Amastris (Curiate Italian Amastri) is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[20]

The diocese was nominally restored in the 19th century as a Latin Catholic titular bishopric and had the following incumbents of the episcopal (lowest) rank :

  • Titular Michael Francis Howley (1892.04.28 – 1895.01.05) as Apostolic Vicar of Western Newfoundland (Canada) (1892.04.28 – 1895.01.05), later Bishop of Saint John’s, Newfoundland (Canada) (1895.01.05 – 1904.02.08), promoted first Metropolitan Archbishop of Saint John’s, Newfoundland (1904.02.08 – 1914.10.15)
  • Titular Bishop Antonio Maria Roveggio, Comboni Missionaries (F.S.C.I.) (1895.02.08 – 1902.05.02), Apostolic Vicar of Central Africa (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan) (1895.02.08 – death 1902.05.02)
  • Titular Bishop John Joseph O’Gorman, Holy Ghost Fathers (C.S.Sp.) (1903.09.14 – death 1935.04.13), as Apostolic Vicar of Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone) (1903.11.09 – 1932)

In 1929 it was promoted to titular archbishopric. It is vacant as such since decades, having had the following incumbents of the archiepiscopal (intermediary) rank :

  • Titular Archbishop Efrem Hykary (1936.07.22 – death 1958.02.09), as Patriarchal Vicar of Antioch of the Syriacs (Lebanon) (1936.07.22 – 1958.02.09)
  • Titular Archbishop Teopisto Valderrama Alberto (1959.09.07 – 1965.04.06), as Coadjutor Archbishop of Caceres (Philippines) (1959.09.07 – 1965.04.06), later succeeded as Metropolitan Archbishop of Caceres (1965.04.06 – retired 1983.10.20)

Main sights

With its architectural heritage, Amasra is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions.[21]

Archaeological Museum: there is a fine medium-sized archaeological museum by the sea with remains from both land and underwater. Of particular interest is a statue of the snake god Glykon, a fraudulent creation of a local entrepreneur during Roman imperial times.

Panoramic view of the town
Panoramic view of the town

Amasra Castle

Amasra Castle was built during the Roman period. The walls of the castle were built by the Byzantines. The front walls and gates were built by the Genoese in the 14th and 15th centuries.[22] Though located on a narrow peninsula, a tunnel under the castle leads to a fresh water pool.

Church Mosque

Built as a Byzantine church in the 9th century AD. The church is a small chapel and its narthex section consists of three parts. After Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Amasra in 1460, it was converted to a mosque. The church mosque was closed to prayer in 1930.[22]

Amasra church mosque

Bird's Rock Road Monument

Bird's Rock Road Monument was created between AD 41-54 by order of Bithynia et Pontus Governor Gaius Julius Aquila. It was a resting place and monument. At the time when Claudius was Rome's Emperor, Aguila was the commander of the building army in the eastern provinces.[22] It is located a little outside Amasra on the road in, it is easily accessed by steps leading from the roadside.

Bird's Rock Road Monument

Power Station

In 2009, a coal-fired power station of 2640 MWe (or 1200 MWe) was proposed.[23] It will have a super critical boiler, will utilise a nearby bituminous coal mine and is to be seawater cooled. An application has been made to acquire 49-year long-term concession rights for exploitation of local bituminous proven coal reserves of approximately 573 million metric tons.[24] Concerns have been raised about the effect on air quality,[25] marine ecology,[26] and ash.[27]


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  3. ^ Homer, Iliad, ii. 853
  4. ^ Stephanus, Ethnica, s.v. "Amastris"
  5. ^ Stephanus, Ethnica, s.v. "Cromna"
  6. ^ Homer, ii. 855
  7. ^ Memnon, History of Heraclea, 5, 9
  8. ^ Strabo, Geography, xii. 3
  9. ^ Pomponius Mela, De chorographia, i. 93
  10. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History, vi. 2
  11. ^ Appian, The Foreign Wars, "The Mithridatic Wars", 82
  12. ^ Pliny the Younger, Letters, x. 99
  13. ^ Vryonis, The decline of medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor: and the process of Islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century, (Berkeley: University of California, 1971), p. 14
  14. ^ Anthony Bryer, "David Komnenos and Saint Eleutherios", Archeion Pontou, 42 (1988-1989), p. 179
  15. ^ Franz Babinger dates the conquest to autumn of 1460, although Halil İnalcık would date its capture to A.H. 863 (AD 1458/1459). Babinger, Mehmed the Conqueror and his Time (Princeton: University Press, 1978), p. 181 and note.
  16. ^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, 4.23
  17. ^ Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. I, coll. 561-566
  18. ^ Jean Richard, La Papauté et les missions d'Orient au Moyen Age (XIII-XV siècles), École Française de Rome, 1977, pp. 236 and 246
  19. ^ Siméon Vailhé, v. Amastris, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. XII, Paris 1953, coll. 971-973
  20. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 830
  21. ^ "Turkey". European Association of Historic Towns and Regions. Archived from the original on 10 September 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  22. ^ a b c Local signage
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-07. Retrieved 2010-07-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2010-07-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2010-07-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

Ahatlar, Amasra

Ahatlar is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010, it had a population of 315 people.

Amasra Museum

Amasra Museum (Turkish: Amasra Müzesi) is a museum in Amasra district of Bartın Province, northwestern Turkey. Established in 1982, it exhibits archaeological artifacts and ethnographic items.

The museum is visited by more than 50,000 tourists yearly.


For the medieval Pomeranian emporium Bartin or Bartin-Zwillipp, see Bardy-ŚwielubieBartın is a city in northern Turkey and the central district of the province of Bartın.

Formerly a district of Zonguldak Province, Bartın has been made into a province seat in 1991 with the constitution of its province, including four districts: Central Bartın, Amasra, Kurucaşile, and Ulus). The city, with a population of c. 48,000, is situated 14 kilometers inland on the Bartın River (Bartın Çayı) that is navigable for vessels between the city and the Black Sea coast. Bartın River is the only navigable river for vessels in Turkey.

Bartın Province

Bartın Province (Turkish: Bartın ili), a small province in northern Turkey on the Black Sea, surrounds the city of Bartın. It lies to the east of Zonguldak Province.

The town of Bartın contains a number of very old wooden houses in a style no longer extant in other places.

Bartın province includes the ancient port town of Amasra (Amastris). This town stands on two small fortified islands and contains many interesting old buildings and restaurants.

Cromna (Paphlagonia)

Cromna or Kromna (Ancient Greek: Κρῶμνα) was a town on the Paphlagonian coast, now in modern Turkey. It is mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. It was 60 stadia east of Erythini and 90 west of Cytorus. There are autonomous coins of Cromna.

The site of Cromna has been the subject of some disagreement among sources: Amasra and Kurucaşile both being suggested. However, modern scholars place its site near modern Tekeönü.

George of Amastris

George of Amastris (Greek: Γεώργιος ὁ Ἀμάστριδος; died 802/807) was a Byzantine monk who was made bishop of Amastris against his will.

Gömü, Amasra

Gömü is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010 it had a population of 504 people.

HMAS Pirie (J189)

HMAS Pirie (J189/B249/A123), named for the city of Port Pirie, South Australia, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II and one of 20 built on Admiralty order but manned by personnel of and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).Early in her career, Pirie operated as an escort in the South West Pacific Area, and in April 1943, was damaged off Oro Bay by Japanese aircraft. Tensions between the corvette's commanding officer and the rest of the ship's company, excaberated by the lack of leave, mail, and pay, boiled over during the repair period, and led to a strike-like mutiny by the junior sailors shortly after Pirie returned to service. The mutiny was poorly handled, and the commander was replaced at the end of 1943. During 1944, the ship continued to operate as a convoy escort, and undertook minesweeping duties until she was attached to the British Pacific Fleet. Pirie was the third RAN ship to enter Japanese waters, and was present at Japan's surrender.

After the war, the corvette returned to Australia, and was decommissioned before being sold to Turkey. Renamed TCG Amasra, the ship remained in service with the Turkish Navy until 26 March 1984.

Kalaycı, Amasra

Kalaycı is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010 it had a population of 217 people.

Karabük Province

Karabük Province (Turkish: Karabük ili) is a landlocked province in the northern part of Anatolia (northern central Turkey), located about 200 km (124 mi) north of Ankara, 115 km (71 mi) away from Zonguldak and 113 km (70 mi) away from Kastamonu. In 2010 it had a population of 227,610. The main city is Karabük which is located about 100 km (62 mi) south of the Black Sea coast.

Karabük Province is one of the newest provinces of Turkey. Until 1995 it was a district of Zonguldak, when it became an il (provincial center) in its own right. Established in 1995, it comprises Karabük, Eflani, Safranbolu and Yenice districts which were formerly part of Zonguldak Province and Eskipazar and Ovacık districts which were previously part of Çankırı Province.

Karabük is located on the highway between Bartın and Ankara, which was in ancient times an important route between Amasra on the coast and central Anatolia. The railway between Ankara and Zonguldak passes through Karabük.

Safranbolu, a historically important city, which is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, is located in Karabük Province.

Kemere Bridge

Kemere Bridge (Turkish: Kemere Köprüsü) is a historical bridge in Turkey.

The bridge is in Amasra ilçe (district) of Bartın Province at 41°45′01″N 32°23′05″E. It is over a Black Sea channel connecting two neighborhoods of Amasra. It is between Anatolia mainland and Boztepe Island.

The bridge was constructed in the 9th century, i.e., during the Byzantine Empire era probably together with the Amasra Castle. Kemere is a one-arch bridge. Up until recently, the bridge was over a pebble embankment area. After dredging, now the channel has been opened to sea traffic. The width of the sea channel between the mainland and the island is only about 35 metres (115 ft). Currently the abutment of the bridge is being repaired by the governorate of Bartın.

List of populated places in Bartın Province

Below is the list of populated places in Bartın Province, Turkey by the districts. In the following lists first place in each list is the administrative center of the district.

Tavşan Islet

Tavşan Islet (literally "Rabbit Islet" ) is a Black Sea islet in Turkey. It is named after the rabbits of the island.

The islet is situated to the north of Amasra ilçe (district) of Bartın Province at 41°45′06″N 32°23′03″E. Its distance to coast is less than 200 metres (660 ft). Its area is about 25,000 square metres (270,000 sq ft).

There are ruins of a cross shaped-plan church in the island from Republic of Genoa occupation era in the Medieval age. Currently the island is uninhabited. But there are frequent visitors from the main land because of a belief that the sick people who pass through a rock gap in the north eastern part of the island soon get well.

Topallar, Amasra

Topallar is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010 it had a population of 90 people.

Yahyayazıcılar, Amasra

Yahyayazıcılar is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010 it had a population of 292 people.

Yukarısal, Amasra

Yukarısal is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010, it had a population of 337 people.

Çakrazboz, Amasra

Çakrazboz is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010, it had a population of 190 people.

Çanakçılar, Amasra

Çanakçılar is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010, it had a population of 464 people.

İnciğez, Amasra

İnciğez is a village in the District of Amasra, Bartın Province, Turkey. As of 2010 it had a population of 246 people.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia

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