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Giresun Island (Turkish: Giresun Adası) is a small island that has an area of 4 hectares and lies 1.2 km from the Turkish city of Giresun on the southeastern coast of Black Sea. It is the largest island on the Turkish Black Sea coast. The ruins of a roofless stone temple, fortifications, and two wine or oil presses stand on the island.
The island's ancient names are Aretias, Ares, Areos Nesos and Puga. A large, black, spherical stone, located on the island and called Hamza Taşı in Turkish, is said to have magical properties. The roofless temple was in ancient times attributed to the Amazons.
It has 40000 m² land area. While the dominant plants of the island are laurels (Laurus nobilis) and black locusts (Robinia pseudoacacia), it has been reported that the island has 71 wild and introduced species of trees and herbs. It is also a wild habitat for cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae sp.) and seagulls (Laridae sp.). For a long time it has been preserved as a Class II historical and natural site by the Turkish government. Thus it is not allowed to be used as a residential area. Tourist visits to the island are possible on small and medium-sized fishing and cruise boats which can be provided by tourism agencies in Giresun.
Myths about the island
There are many myths about the island. It is believed that the temple on it was built and used by Amazons, the warrior women of ancient times. For this reason, the island is also called Amazon Adası ("Amazon Island" or "Island of the Amazons"). Athamus, the king of Thessaly, had two sons with his wife, Nephele. When his kingdom suffers a serious food shortage, the king was advised to kill his two sons as a magical remedy for the famine. But Nephele hears Athamus' plan and hides her sons by wrapping them in a golden fleece, and sending them to Caucasia. Years later, a navy troop commanded by Hercules arrives on this island to capture the golden fleece. But when they arrive, dragon birds, cast out from Greece by Hercules, fight against Hercules's soldiers. Argonauts kill the birds and continue their voyage to Caucasia to search for the golden fleece.