Occupying the narrow valley of the Yeşilırmak River, and blessed with a super-abundant historical legacy, AMASYA is one of the high points of northern Anatolia. Most visitors come to see the rock tombs hewn into the cliffs above the town by the kings of Pontus, over two thousand years ago, but Amasya also harbours some truly beautiful Selçuk and Ottoman architecture, and a multitude of restored nineteenth-century wooden houses. Many of the latter are now authentic and atmospheric antique shops, pansiyons and restaurants, in keeping with the general Ottoman theme.
Amasya was once part of Pontus, one of several small kingdoms to spring up following the death of Alexander the Great, which survived for two hundred years. Its downfall began when Mithridates VI Eupator reputedly ordered the massacre of eighty thousand Romans in a single day and plunged his kingdom into a series of wars, which culminated in its being absorbed by Pompey into the Roman sphere of influence around 70 BC.
Under the Romans, and through the succeeding centuries of Byzantine rule, the town prospered, and it continued to do so after falling to the Selçuks in 1071. In the late thirteenth century, Amasya became part of the burgeoning Ottoman state. It became a training ground for crown princes, who would serve as governors of the province to prepare them for the rigours of statesmanship at the Sublime Porte. Amasya then became a vital staging post en route to the creation of modern Turkey: it was here that, on June 21, 1919, Atatürk delivered a speech that was in effect a call to arms for the coming War of Independence.