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General view of eastern part of Giresun city
|• Mayor||Kerim Aksu (CHP)|
|• District||295.71 km2 (114.17 sq mi)|
|• District density||420/km2 (1,100/sq mi)|
Giresun (pronounced [ɡiɾeˈsun]; Turkish: Giresun, from Ancient Greek: Κερασούς) is the provincial capital of Giresun Province in the Black Sea Region of northeastern Turkey, about 175 km (109 mi) west of the city of Trabzon.
Giresun was known to the ancient Greeks as Choerades or Pharnacia and later as Kerasous or Cerasus (from Greek Kerason < Kerasounta < Keras, meaning "horn" (for peninsula) + "ounta", a toponomycal suffix). Öztürk claims that Cape Zephyros settlement is older than Kerasus/Pharnakia and its Greek name Giraprinos or Yero Prinos (γέρο πρίνος), is a basic translation of the native Kolchian/Laz name meaning "Old Oak" The toponym later mutated into Kerasunt (sometimes written Kérasounde or Kerassunde).
Giresun was named Pharnacia Pharnaces I of Pontus after he captured the city in 183 BC, and it was called by that name as late as the second century AD. According to A.H.M. Jones, the city officially reverted to its original name in AD 64.
The English word cherry, French cerise, Spanish cereza, and Southern Italian dialect cerasa (standard Italian ciliegia) all come from Classical Greek κερασός "cherry tree", which has been identified with Cerasus. According to Pliny, the cherry was first exported from Cerasus to Europe in Roman times by Lucullus.
The surrounding region has a rich agriculture, growing most of Turkey's hazelnuts as well as walnuts, cherries, leather and timber, and the port of Giresun has long handled these products. The harbour was enlarged in the 1960s and the town is still a port and commercial centre for the surrounding districts, but Giresun is not large, basically one avenue of shops leading away from the port.
Like everywhere else on the Black Sea coast it rains (and often snows in winter) and is very humid throughout the year, with a lack of extreme temperatures both in summer and winter. As a result Giresun and the surrounding countryside is covered by luxuriant flora. As soon as you get beyond the city buildings you get into the hazelnut growing area and the high pastures (yayla) further in the mountains are gorgeous.
Giresun has a borderline oceanic/humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb/Cfa); like most of the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey; with warm and humid summers and cool and damp winters. Giresun has a high and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. Precipitation is heaviest in autumn and spring.
Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two, and it can be heavy once it snows.
The water temperature, like in the rest of the Black Sea coast of Turkey, is always cool and fluctuates between 8° and 20°C throughout the year.
|Climate data for Giresun|
|Record high °C (°F)||24.0
|Average high °C (°F)||10.3
|Average low °C (°F)||4.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−3.9
|Precipitation mm (inches)||120.2
|Avg. rainy days||15.1||14.7||16.0||15.8||14.7||12.3||11.2||10.8||12.9||14.9||14.3||14.8||167.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||74.4||86.8||86.8||114||164.3||192||186||139.5||114||105.4||96||58.9||1,418.1|
|Source: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü |
Giresun's history goes back to the late 6th century BC, when it was founded by Greek colonists from Sinope, 110 km east of the homonymous city founded by Pharnaces I of Pontus, using citizens transferred from Kotyora, ca 180 BC. The name of the city is first cited in the book Anabasis by Xenophon as Kerasus. Historic records reveal that the city was dominated by the Miletians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines and Empire of Trebizond. The older parts of the city lie on a peninsula crowned by a ruined Byzantine fortress, sheltering the small natural harbour. Nearby is Giresun Island, in ancient times called Aretias, the only major Black Sea island in Turkish territory. According to legend, the island was sacred to the Amazons, who had dedicated a temple to the war god Ares here. Even today, fertility rites are performed here every May, now shrouded as a popular practice, but really a 4,000 year old celebration.
Cerasus early became a Christian bishopric, and the names of several of its bishops are preserved in the acts of church councils: Gregorius at the Council of Ephesus in 431, Gratianus at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Theophylactus at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680, Narses at the Trullan Council in 692, Ioannes at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, and Simeon at the Photian Council of Constantinople in 879. An episcopal seal records a Leo of the 9th century, and a Michael was transferred from here to the see of Ancyra at the time of Michael Caerularius. The diocese ceased to be a residential see in the second half of the 17th century. Accordingly, it is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
During the medieval period Kerasunt was part of the Byzantine Empire and later the second city of the Empire of Trebizond. From 1244 onwards the Seljuk Turks moved into the area, pursued at times by the Mongol hordes until in 1461 the whole of this coast was brought within the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Mehmet II. She was shortly occupied by Emirate of Hacıemiroğlu (Emirate of Chalybia) between 1398-1400.
Alexios II defeated the Turkmen "Koustoganes" at Kerasunt in September 1302; after his victory, Alexios II built a fortress which overlooks the sea. Local traditions claim that Kerasunt held out for many months after the fall of Trebizon in 1461, then surrendered on terms that the Christian inhabitants could remain and retain their arms, but must maintain a boat for the use of the Turks on a nearby river.
4.2 km east-northeast of Kerasus is a fortified island called Ares (Αρητιας νήσος or Αρεώνησος). It was here according to Apollonius of Rhodes, that the Argonauts encountered both the Amazons and a flock of vicious birds. The Greeks of the island held out against the Ottomans for 7 years after the fall of Trapezus 1461.
Places of interest
- The well preserved Giresun Castle in the city centre.
- Giresun Island
- Hacı Hüseyin Mosque, Kale Mosque, Seyyid-i Vakkas tomb, Mausoleum of Topal Osman
- Old Ottoman houses of Zeytinlik district
- Highlands (Kümbet, Bektaş, Kulakkaya, Çakrak, Tohumluk, Kurtbeli, Kazıkbeli, Ayıbeli, Beytarla, Buları, Kırkharman)
Twin towns — Sister cities
Giresun is twinned with:
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- William Miller, Trebizond: The last Greek Empire of the Byzantine Era: 1204-1461, 1926 (Chicago: Argonaut, 1969), p. 33
- Miller, Trebizond, p. 107
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- [dead link]
- The Byzantine Monuments and Topgraphy of the Pontos by A. Bryer and D. Winfield
- The Encyclopaedia of Pontian Hellenism.
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