I must admit that I associate mummies only with Egypt, until I visited Turkey’s Black Sea region last week and came to a town by the name of Amasya, about 100km south of the coastal city of Samsun. What catches the eye first is a steep mountain cliff dropping some 700M down to the Yesil River below.
The mountain is crowned by a huge castle, which actually consists of seven tiers of solid walls and fortifications which wind around and around. Half way up I saw another stunning site, tombs of the Kings of Pontus, carved into the mountain and magically illuminated at night.
Amasya has a history which goes back to 5500 BC and bears witness to at least seven different cultures, including Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottomans. Ilkhanli rulers, preceding the Seljuk Turks, are actually those who had their bodies embalmed and mummified much in the way as the Egyptians did, with the difference that their organs were not removed but subjected to a complicated drying procedure.
Amasya has an archaeological museum, which is small as far as museums go, but contains treasures much bigger museums would love to have.
Apart from the famous statue of Teshup (Hittite Period 14th to 12th century BC) the museum garden features a mausoleum in which the mummies of Ilkhanli rulers are exhibited. Among them is the baby mummy of a Ilkhanli prince. It’s eerie to look into the baby’s blue eyes.
There is much more to do and see in Amasya, a true insider destination in Turkey. Few tourists visit, which means low prices, museums without waiting in long lines and authentic local dishes. Apart from everything else, Amasaya is famous for it’s apples and pastries filled with poppy seeds.
Inka is German and used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Spain. Retired two years ago because I wanted to be a traveler and writer and now live between Didim, Turkey, and Miami with plenty of travel in between. Next destinations: Istanbul, New York and Petra, Jordan.