SINOPE, seaport on the southern coast of the Black Sea, northern Turkey.
It lies on an isthmus linking the Boztepe Peninsula to the mainland and
is shut off from the Anatolian Plateau to the south by high, forest-clad
mountains. Because it has the only safe natural roadstead on the north
coast of Asia Minor, Sinope was in antiquity the foremost port on the
coast, with its land approaches barred by a huge citadel (now in ruins)
and its sea side defended by a strong wall. Its decline was associated
with its lack of easy access to the interior and its rivalry with Inebolu
on the west and with Samsun on the east; the latter has emerged as the
largest Turkish port on the Black Sea.
According to legend, Sinope was founded by
the Amazons, who named it after their queen, Sinova.
The city's ancient inhabitants ascribed its foundation to Autolycus, a
companion of Hercules. Destroyed by the wandering Cimmerians, it was refounded
toward the end of the 7th century BC by a colony of Milesians. It ultimately
became the most flourishing Greek settlement on the Euxine (Black) Sea.
As a terminus of the trade routes from Upper Mesopotamia, it commanded
much of the maritime trade of the Pontic region and by the 5th century
BC had established many colonies on the coast and enjoyed naval supremacy
in the Black Sea. In 183 BC it was taken by Pharnaces I and became the
capital of the Pontic kings. Under Mithridates VI the Great, who was born
there (as was the 4th-century-BC founder of the Cynic sect, Diogenes),
it enjoyed a high degree of prosperity and was embellished with fine buildings,
naval arsenals, and well-built harbours. The Roman Lucius Licinius Lucullus
captured the seaport in 70 BC, and the city was nearly destroyed by fire.
Taken by the Seljuq Turks from the Comneni
of Trebizond (modern Trabzon) in AD 1214, it was incorporated into the
Ottoman Empire in 1458. In November 1853, shortly after the outbreak of
the Crimean War, the Russian navy dramatically attacked Sinop, destroying
the Ottoman fleet and reducing large parts of the city to ashes.
Sinop's extant monuments include a ruined
ancient citadel rebuilt during Byzantine and Seljuq periods, some isolated
columns and inscribed stones built into the old walls and dating from
the early Greek and Roman periods, and the Alâeddin Cami
(a mosque), built in 1214. A 13th-century Alâiye religious school
now houses the local museum. Sinop is linked by road with Samsun and by
sea with Istanbul.
The hinterland around Sinop is drained by
the Gök River and is mountainous and partly forested. Agriculture
employs most of the labour force. Corn (maize), flax, and tobacco are
grown in the valleys and on the fertile coastal strip.
Gerze, situated on a peninsula,
40 kms southeast of Sinop, will provide you with fine beaches, meadows,
restaurants and parks, while Camgolu provides camping facilities
in a large forest sloping to the sea. At Boyabat, the largest
town of the province, there are many rock tombs and a citadel.