Just east of Samsun, the Black Sea coastal plain, watered by the Yeşilırmak delta, widens to its broadest extent. The area was once thought to be the land of the Amazons, a mythical tribe of women who cauterized their right breasts to facilitate spear-throwing and arrow-shooting, and who only coupled with men – their neighbours the Gagarians – during two months of the year, sending male babies to the Gagarians to rear. Nowadays the delta is home to rather more conventional Black Sea Muslims, who are welcoming enough to members of either sex.

Thanks to a new series of tunnels, the main highway heads well inland, through an especially fertile stretch of Turkey’s interior, and thus bypasses the deathly slow coastal road.

 

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