AMASRA brazenly flaunts its charms to new arrivals. Approached from any direction, the town suddenly appears below you, swarming up onto a rocky headland sheltering two bays. A narrow stone bridge links the main town to the island of Boztepe further out, while the headland shelters the east-facing Büyük Liman (Big Harbour) on one side and the west-facing Küçük Liman (Little Harbour) on the other. As the beaches at both are at best average, it’s best to regard Amasra as a base for forays to better beaches further east.

Amasra’s historical pedigree and colourful atmosphere make it worth at least an overnight stop. During the day it is a quiet place, full of shady corners to sit and contemplate. By night it’s much livelier, and the old walls are lit up attractively, but it doesn’t lose its small-town charm.

Brief history

Mentioned as Sesamus in the Iliad, Amasra was colonized by Miletus in the sixth century BC. The name derived from Queen Amastris, a lady of the court of Alexander the Great, who, after the death of her husband, acted as regent for her young son, only to be repaid with murder at his hands. Avid letter-writer Pliny the Younger was appointed Rome’s special commissioner to this region in 110 AD. After the ninth century, following a barbarian attack, the town declined in importance, though the Byzantines maintained a garrison here. The Genoese took over when Byzantine strength declined, and held the city until the Ottomans assumed control in 1460.


Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Turkey features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right