The name of "cherry" in many languages (including English) derives from its ancient name—Kerasos in Greek, Cerasus in Latin—as the city was where cherries were first exported to Europe, during Roman times.
Historic records reveal that the city was dominated by the Miletians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines and Empire of Trebizond. The older parts of the city lie on a peninsula crowned by a ruined Byzantine fortress, sheltering the small natural harbour. Nearby is Giresun Island, in ancient times called Aretias, the only major Black Sea island in Turkish territory. According to legend, the island was sacred to the Amazons, who had dedicated a temple to the war god Ares here. Even today, fertility rites are performed there every May, usually involving the famed boulder named the Hamza Stone on the east side of the island, now shrouded as a popular practice but in reality a 4,000-year-old celebration.
Giresun today has a population of about 115,000, and has a relatively liberal culture compared with its neighbours in Eastern Karadeniz.
Giresun lies on the coastal highway D010, about 175 km west of Trabzon, the major city of Eastern Karadeniz.
- 1 Giresum Museum (Giresun Müzesi), Atatürk Bulv. 62 (below the citadel, close to the waterfront), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 8AM-5PM. Housed in a Greek cathedral dating back to 18th century, overlooking the sea and with a view of the island. 3 TL; under 17 and over 65 yrs free.
- 2 Citadel (Giresun Kalesi) (at the city centre). 24/7. A well-preserved citadel, built on the order of Pharnaces I of Pontus, son of king Mithridates III of Pontus. At the highest point of the castle, there is the tomb of Atatürk’s personal guard, Topal Osman. On the northern side, there is the Martyr’s Cemetery and the tomb of Kurbande, a follower of Haci Bektash Veli. Free.
- 3 Giresun Island (Giresun Adası). Except for tiny rocks, this is the only Turkish island in the Black Sea. Situated 1.2 km offshore, it is possible to rent a boat to the island from the city. Surrounded by verdant bushes and trees of the island are the ruins of a roofless temple and some fortifications, which are believed to be used by Amazons, a legendary clan of all-female warriors who terrorized the lands around the Black Sea in ancient times.
- Ada Otel, Osmanağa Cad. Çapulacılar Sok 8, ☏ . Check-out: noon. Central, no-frills one-star hotel in a side street. Very good value, with buffet breakfast, wi-fi and free parking at adjacent garage.
- Otel Kale (up a steep cobblestoned street leading to the university). Basic, no-star, clean, free wi-fi, cheapest option.
- Hotel Kit-Tur (on the main shopping street leading 100 m uphill from the harbor). 3-star, but with low prices, very good value.
Telephone code of Giresun is (+90) 454.
|Routes through Giresun|
|Samsun ← Ordu ←||W E||→ Trabzon → Rize|