The town of GIRESUN, founded in the second century BC by the Pontic king Pharnaces, is one of the most pleasant stops between Samsun and Trabzon. About 2km offshore lies Giresun Adası, the only major island in the Black Sea. In pre-Christian times it was called Aretias, and was sacred to the Amazons who dedicated a temple to the war god Ares on it. Jason and his Argonauts supposedly stopped here to offer sacrifice, but were attacked by vicious birds. The island is also associated with ancient fertility rites and still attracts women who wish to concieve during a festival each May. Travel agents in Giresun offer trips to the island.