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Samsun | Turkey

Samsun is a city on the north coast of Turkey with a population over half a million people. It is the provincial capital of Samsun Province and a major Black Sea port. The growing city has two universities, several hospitals, shopping malls, a lot of light manufacturing industry, sports facilities and an opera.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began the Turkish War of Independence here in 1919.

Paleolithic artifacts found in the Tekkeköy Caves can be seen in Samsun Archaeology Museum.

The earliest layer excavated of the höyük of Dündartepe revealed a Chalcolithic settlement. Early Bronze Age and Hittite settlements were also found there and at Tekkeköy.

Samsun (then known as Amisos, alternative spelling Amisus) was settled between the years of 760–750 BC by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. The city's ideal combination of fertile ground and shallow waters attracted numerous traders.

Around the time Amisus was settled by the Milesians in the 6th century BCE, it is believed that there was significant Greek activity along the coast of the Black Sea, although the archaeological evidence for this is very fragmentary. The only archaeological evidence we have as early as the 6th century is a fragment of wild goat style Greek pottery, in the Louvre.

The city was captured by the Persians in 550 BC and became part of Cappadocia (satrapy). In the 5th century BC, Amisus became a free state and one of the members of the Delian League led by the Athenians; it was then renamed Peiraeus under Pericles. In the 4th century BC the city came under the control of the Kingdom of Pontus. The Amisos treasure may have belonged to one of the kings. Tumuli, containing tombs dated between 300 BC and 30 BC, can be seen at Amisos Hill but unfortunately Toraman Tepe was mostly flattened during construction of the 20th century radar base.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established the Turkish national movement against the Allies in Samsun on May 19, 1919, the date which traditionally marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence. Atatürk, appointed by the Ottoman government as Inspector of the Ninth Army Troops Inspectorate of the Empire in eastern Anatolia, left Constantinople aboard the now-famous SS Bandırma May 16 for Samsun. Instead of obeying the orders of the Ottoman government, then under the control of the occupying Allies, he and a number of colleagues declared the beginning of the Turkish national movement. As a result of this, the Greek population of Samsun was subject to looting, massacre and deportation by Turkish irregular groups, as noted by representatives of the American Near East Relief. However these groups couldn't operate freely in Samsun as they did in adjacent region of Merzifon and Bafra due to the presence of the Allied fleet. Being alarmed due to the presence of Greek warships in the vicinity of Samsun the Turkish national movement undertook the deportation of 21,000 local Greeks to the interior of Anatolia. Later, at early June 1922 the city was bombarded by the Allied navy.

By 1920, Samsun's population totaled about 36,000.

Samsun is a port city. In the early 20th century, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey funded the building of a harbor. Before the building of the harbor, ships had to anchor to deliver goods, approximately 1 mile or more from shore. Trade and transportation was focused around a road to and from Sivas. The privately operated port fronting the city centre handles freight, including RORO ferries to Novorossiysk, whereas fishing boats land their catches in a separate harbour slightly further east. A ship building yard is under construction at the eastern city limit. Road and rail freight connections with central Anatolia can be used to send inland both the agricultural produce of the surrounding well rained upon and fertile land, and also imports from overseas.

In ancient Roman times gladiator sword fighting apparently took place in Amisos, as depicted on a tombstone dating from the 2nd or 3rd century CE.

Tekkeköy Yaşar Doğu Arena opened in 2013.

Football is the most popular sport: in the older districts above the city center children often kick balls around in the evenings in the smallest streets. The city's football club is Samsunspor, which plays its games at the Samsun 19 Mayıs Stadium.

Basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, cable skiing (in summer), horse riding, go karting, paintballing, martial arts and many other sports are played. Cycling and jogging are only common along the sea front, where recreational fishing is also popular.

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