Amasra

Welcome to Amasra, a pretty little town off by itself, set on a fortified promontory jutting northward into the Black Sea.

The coastal roads to east and west are not well maintained which makes Amasra a perfect holiday place for those who seek tranquillity as this little town only gets a moderate number of summer visitors. This helps keeping it pleasant and relatively undeveloped, although there are some hotels for vacationers. The place is ideal for sea lovers who do not require a nightlife, but rather want to enjoy seaside relaxation and take a dip in the chilly black sea. This cozy holiday district also has two islands, one of which is rowing distance in a small boat, while the other is connected to the main-land with a Roman vault used as a bridge.

There are various activities you can enjoy once you get off from your port of call in Amasra. First of all, you can rent a boat and explore the coastal environs. You can climb to the summit of the Rabbit Island where a population of gray, black and white rabbits, hop around the caves and enjoy the view of Amasra from the sea. Among the other sites are Fatih mosque - which was previously a church - the hamam and the theater. Remnants of Amasra's long and interesting history are displayed in the Amasra Museum. You can purchase hand-carved wood souvenirs on Çekiciler Street. Check of the toy helicopters fashioned from nutshells, the ships from seashells, and other curiosities from fish bones. Local craftsmen produce a "wish table" in the shape of a heart with a turtle model on for export to Italy.

It is also a fisherman district and there are several local fish restaurants that serve very nice fish dishes, including fish sandwiches. A lot of them are located near where you enjoy looking at the sea while having your meal. The most famous ones are Balık and Çeşm-i Cihan for their fresh fish and cosy ambience. Don't miss their fried mussels and salad!

Continuing eastward along the coast, you arrive at Cakraz, a typical fishing village with excellent beaches, friendly accommodations and restaurants. The winding road between Cakraz and İnebolu has steep mountainsides and offers a spectacular panoramic view. The eastern Amasra enjoys a reputation for good swimming besides Çakraz and Bozköy and Akkonak offer the best beaches.

Walking around old town is wonderful. This includes an island portion and mainland portion, connected by an old stone bridge with stone fortifications. The area is hilly and includes old houses and fortifications crammed together in the small area along the sea with narrow streets.

The portion of the old town on the mainland connects right to the newer area on the mainland, from which modern developments spreads along the shore and further inland, but the real core of the city starts at the plaza area near the harbour and includes the old town. The mainland portion of the old town then connects to the island via the bridge. It is charming, very scenic, and atmospheric.

At the top of the hill in the citadel area of the old town is the Fatih Camii, a small but attractive mosque that apparently used to be a church in the Byzantine and Geneose periods. It is attractive and interesting with nice details and because of its history and the local architectural styles it is a bit different from other mosques.

Another important architecture in this sweet little town is the castle of Amasra. It is an important relic that reflects the middle ages and was built during the Roman period. The walls of the castle were built by the Byzantines. The front walls and gates were built by the Goenese in the 14th and 15th centuries to guarantee defence. The city walls surround the Boztepe and Zindan district which together form 2 island masses which were joined by the Kemere bridge built during the Roman period. The city walls were made of large stone blocks. They were reinforced with turrets, arranged in square formations.

Check out their museum too. The studies and research for a museum in Amasra started in 1884 (during the reign of the Ottomans) and it took almost a century to officially declare it as a museum. It was opened in 1982. There are a lot of archeological pieces from the Roman, Byzantine, Genoese and Ottoman times. It is surely worth visiting while you are off from your ship.

At the end of the day, grab a seat at one of the pretty benches lining up the neat pavement, this is the front row to watch the most beautiful sunset. Or you can choose to dine at the alfresco restaurant near the benches - and watch the daylight turn into dusk. What a great way to end the day in such a quiet little town for a shore excursion..