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An ancient castle  in Port Sinop Turkey

Sinop, Turkey

Sinop’s soaring stone fortifications are the first sight for visitors to this legendary city. These walls illustrate its strategic importance. Perched near Turkey’s northernmost point in the Black Sea on the isthmus of the Boztepe Peninsula, its protected harbor and safe anchorage made Sinop a prime location for trade and a highly sought-after port for history’s greatest empires.

Local legend suggests the city was named after an Amazon queen and inhabited by her band of warrior women. Other historical accounts claim that Sinop was a Hittite port, refounded by the Milesians in the 7th century B.C.E. before becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Pontus (183–70 B.C.E.). Thereafter, the Roman and Byzantine Empires held the fort until the Seljuks invaded the city in the 13th century. Eventually, the Ottoman Empire took control of Sinop while the Russians helped ensure the empire’s demise in a naval battle that annihilated the Ottoman fleet in Sinop in 1853, during the Crimean War. Today, the rich history of these empires—along with Sinop’s natural beauty—is a draw for travelers exploring Turkey’s Black Sea coast.