Sinop is a city located in the middle of the Black Sea region. It sits on the narrowest part of a Peninsula. Sinop is 158 km from Samsun. It is historically known as Sinope. The province takes its name from the city. According to Turkstats ( Turkish Statistical Institute ), Sinop is the happiest city in Turkey with a happiness vote of 77.6%. Certainly the people of Sinop seem very happy, hospitable and content.
Sinop is famous as the birthplace of Diogenes, the Greek philosopher and on of the founders of Cynic Philosphy. This sea port is known to have been founded by colonists from the Aegean port of Miletus in 800 BC and today it serves as a busy port and fishing harbour. In 1853 the Imperial Russian Navy attacked the Ottoman fleet here. The damage was so intense and the Russians killed many of the sailors who had stopped fighting in what became known as the massacre of Sinop. A monument in the city harbour is dedicated to the fallen Ottoman sailors.
Legend has it that Sinope was founded by the Amazons, those fearsome one breasted ladies armed with bows and arrows. What we do know is that the Romans, Greeks, Selcuk Turks and the Ottomans have all used Sinop as a port. Recently the city hit the news when the government issued plans for a nuclear plant to be constructed here. There was a public outcry and it got cancelled due to rising costs.
Sinop used to be a field station and listening post for the Americans from the 1950’s until 1992. During the cold war up to 300 American personnel were based here along with a small contingent of British Ministry of Defence engineers. The base, now just with Turkish military personnel, is still present at Sinop.
Whilst in Sinop you can visit the ruined citadel and the castle walls. There are also a couple of old mosques and a vibrant city centre. The harbour area with its bars and restaurants is always a good spot to relax and take in the atmosphere of Sinop. The Sinop Cezaevi ( prison ) is a popular tourist destination and provides an insight into how old prisons in Turkey would have looked and functioned. The prison was closed in 1999 and turned into a museum.
An interesting souvenir to take from Sinop would be one of the small wooden model boats that used to be built by prisoners in Sinop. This craft has continued and tourists can buy the small boat souvenirs at many of the shops in the city centre.
Sinop Archaeological Museum with its collection of statues and artifacts is also worth a visit. There are many coins from the Selcuk era and Byzantine artifacts. There are also three tombs and a pleasant garden on site.
The Ethnography Museum in Sinop is housed in a mansion which used to belong to an affluent family of Sinop. It is not far from the Archaeological Museum and it has a large garden and illustrates what life would have been like during Ottoman times. There are plenty of clothes, tools, furniture and photographs.
If you have a car then you might want to visit the Inceburun Lighthouse. It is 25 km away from Sinop and was built in 1863. It is situated in the most northern point of Turkey. The views and surrounding countryside makes it ideal for hikers and nature lovers.
Sinop does have its own beaches but the waters of the Black Sea are a lot cooler than the Aegean or Mediterranean and bathers are normally only seen during the hottest months in July and August.