Zonguldak, the capital city of Zonguldak Province on the Black Sea coast, is famous for its coal production. It was a small village until 1849 when it became a port town for the coal mines around Ereğli. Even today the coal trade is the main economy for Zonguldak. The city is 323 km from Istanbul, 158 km from Bolu and 500 km from Samsun. The capital city of Ankara is 273 km away.
Interestingly, the name Zonguldak probably comes from the words Zone Geul-Dagh, which was the name the Belgian and French mining companies gave to the area. This is derived from the Turkish words Göl and Dağ ( Lake and Mountain ) At the time there were many foreign miners and foreign mining companies present in Zonguldak. They came from Europe and the United Kingdom for the most part. In its prime, Zonguldak was a very important industrial centre. During Ottoman times it expanded rapidly and it became one of the workshop industrial cities of the Turkish Republic. This area around Eregli and Zonguldak is often referred to as the Zonguldak coal basin.
Zonguldak has good transport links with the rest of Turkey. By road, rail and with its own airport, it is well connnected. The huge new port at Filyos will be a massive logistics centre and a natural gas trading port. As a thriving industrial centre, the city has some excellent hotels and restaurants. For shopping, you should visit the main shopping mall at Esas 67 Burda. There is an element of local tourism and a few foreign tourists. Zonguldak does have beaches but it is not really known as a cool holiday destination, despite the fact that the surrounding countryside is certainly worth exploring.
Gökgöl Mağarası, or Gokgol Caves, are a real hidden gem. Just a 5km south east of the city and right on the main highwway you should add this one to your itinerary. The cave is well illuminated and has some impressive stalactites and stalagmites and an underground river. This is Turkey’s 5th largest cave and probably one of the most impressive.
For those looking for something different you might like to take a look at the Zonguldak Mining Museum. Opened in 2016 it tells the history of mining in this region. There are plenty of exhibits and many mining tools and transport vehicles. This really is an interesting museum that pays tribute to the miners who have lost their lives in mining accidents over the years.