Medieval Sinop is
city perched on a promontory
overlooking the dark, chill waters
of the Black
Founded by colonists from the Aegean port
of Miletus in the
800s BC, Sinop (SEE-nohp,
pop. 38,000) became a major port because
of its fine natural harbor.
Today it's still a port, and the capital
of the province of the same name.
Besides its medieval city walls,
Sinop offers the Alaettin Mosque (1267)
and its medrese (seminary);
the ruined Balatlar Kilisesi,
a Roman temple converted into a Byzantine
church; and the Cezayirli Ali Pasha
A few remains of
an ancient Temple of Serapis stand
beside the Sinop Museum.
On November 30, 1853, the Imperial
Russian Navy crossed the Black
Sea to Sinop, attacked the Ottoman fleet
which was in port there, and utterly destroyed it.
The Russian bombardment went on long
past when it was clear the Ottomans
were defeated, killing many Ottoman
sailors who were no longer combatants.
The "massacre of Sinope"
was one of the events precipitating
the Crimean War (1853-1854)
in which Great Britain and France fought
with the Ottoman
Empire against the
By the harbor in Sinop you'll see
a small monument built
to commemorate the deaths of the Ottoman
sailors, paid for with the coins collected
from the pockets of the fallen.
Sinop has a few beaches,
though the Black
is chilly except on the hottest days.
Diogenes (c. 412-323
BC), the Cynic philosopher who carried
around a lantern "looking
for a good man" (and
not finding one), was born
He later moved to Athens, where he
sought to live the simplest life possible,
even throwing away his only possession—his
drinking cup—when he realized he could
drink from his cupped hands.
Alexander the Great met the
famous philosopher and wanted to reward
"What can I do for you?" the
"Stand aside. You're blocking
my sunlight," Diogenes replied.
of the river god Asopus, outwitted Zeus.
He wanted to marry her, and promised
she could have "anything she wanted."
She requested eternal virginity,
and Zeus, outwitted,
allowed her to enjoy it here on this
promontory—or so the legend says—giving
the town its name.
—by Tom Brosnahan