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Geography    EN

The hinterland of the port-city EN
The maritime region of the port-city EN
The maritime environment of the region
The fish population of the Azov Sea
The fish population of the Azov Sea: The Kuban estuary
The fish population of the Azov Sea: The Don estuary
The fish population of the Azov Sea: Caviar and other side products
The fish population of the Azov Sea: Sturgeons
The fish population of the Azov Sea: The Strait of Kerch – environmental
The fish population of the northern shore of the Black Sea: Crimea

During the Ottoman period, the Canik area consisted of several regional centers along the coastline: the Alacham, Bafra, Arım, Terme, Unye and Fatsa towns were located along the coastline of the Black Sea; meanwhile the Ayvacık, Niksar and Kavak regions formed the inland areas of the Canik (Samsun) sub-province[1]. Samsun has the richest arable lands and the best soil in the Trabzon province. The two valleys of the river Yeshil (Green River) or Iris by its ancient name and of the river Kizil (Red River) or Halys are included within the sovereignty of Samsun. The town of Samsun lies along the coastline, about 60 miles in length and about 20 miles in depth[2]. It has a mountain called Devrend, 3 miles from the town center. Its other highest mountain, called Nebiye, is situated about 8 miles to the northwest and is being used as a signature land spot for the ships coming from Crimea[3]. Samsun placed on a 41o 20o latitude and on a 36o 20o longitute, according to the Greenwich standards. Its distance is about 180 miles west of Trabzon by coastline and about 430 miles east of the Bosphorus. Samsun was a little town in 1868, occupying the base of a wide bay, which was sheltered by a promontory to the west, and to some degree by the low and distant headland of Chalti-Boroun to the east, but left open to all W-NW and E-NE winds, whereas the sea often rolls in with extreme violence[4]. The city centre of Samsun was located along the coastline between the Mert River and the Kürtün Creek and was the centre of the Canik region. In addition, many streams flowed to the direction of the sea, filling the coastline with sand. For this reason, the merchant ships approached only to in Samsun. This pier was not preferred due to its swampy and mountainous land area between Kalyon Burnu and Samsun.The Samsun city centre did not possess a suitable pier for the approach of large ships due to its wide beaches and shallow waters, a water depth of less than one meter for at least 200 meters towards the sea.There was a pier in Samsun, named Dakik=Flour (or Yalı), where small sea vessels, such as barges, could approach. The mountainous elevations of Nebiyan Mount, Koca Dagh (Big Mountain) and Akdagh (White Mount) in Ladik prevented land transportation to the coastline; rivers were used for transportation. It could be argued that the presence of a great number of creeks which divided settlement areas in half, flowing in the South-North direction, in addition to the river Kızıl, the river Yeshil and the Terme Creek, was the reason for the formation of the regional areas. Bafra, located on the delta where Kızıl River pours into the sea, had fertile lands but of swampy nature. The Bafra region, in particular, where hemp and tobacco was produced, converted to the new product thanks to the tobacco seeds imported from Cuba in the last quarter of the 19th century[5]. Bafra, which benefited from the Black Sea transports, also had a river transportation network because of the Kızıl River stretching to the inland of Anatolia towards Kayseri[6]. More crowded places like Asar Castle could be seen along Kızıl river which extended to the inland of Anatolia. Many smaller or larger islands on the Kızıl river delta provided a shelter, particularly for fishermen. The only transportation means for Alacham, located further to the west in the Canik region, was through the sea, as it did not have an adequate pier, apart from the Kumcagız jetty[7]. Sea transport took place along the coastline over Bafra, because the land transport connection of this region with inland places was prohibited by dense forests occupying mountainous and hilly areas.

Bafra is located on the right bank of the Kızıl river and was served by a ferry. It had unhealthy marshlands, but most fertile - a low alluvial plain, rich in rice and tobacco, with woods surrounding large freshwater lakes. The fishing at the coasts was good[8]. Fatsa was located to the east of the Canik region along the coastline. Wooded heights to the south prevented the transportation to inland places. Fatsa, however, had a seaport with a tolerable road network, situated in a deep bay, but exposed to north winds[9]. There was a pier close to city centre along the coastline in the Unye district, which was intensively used until 1853. Unye had a port where steamers touched four times a week. The surrounding land was especially productive in hemp and flax, besides the customary maize and tobacco[10]. Due to the fact that the footpath extending from Unye to Niksar was the only route of transportation from Samsun to the inland places, Unye was an important commercial centre in the Canik region until 1853 with adequate port infrastructure and iron deposits. Terme, after the ancient Greek name Thermae, located on the Terme Creek, had a geomorphology which permitted fishing in small and big lakes and a swampy area for cultivating rice along with hemp too. Terme was also linked to another site towards the inland, the Salıpazarı sub-district, which was cut by rocky mountainous, forested and hilly areas. Both towns had Greek ruins and were situated near the shore of Thermae [11]. The district of Çarşamba located on Yeşil river on the coastline that follows Terme, had important agricultural lands, that were possible to be approached by river transport. The transportation vessels coming from the Black sea entered the river from Çarşamba and reached the inland places, such as Erbaa-Niksar and Amasya by passing Ayvacık[12]. According to the British consulate reports, dated in 1868, Çarşamba was situated on the right bank of the Yeshil river, in a wooded valley. The commerce of Tokat and Niksar, in the inland, followed the same route towards the sea. The main products of the Çarşamba district were tobacco, rice, silk and maiz[13]. Densely wooded and mountainous areas prohibited land transportation between Çarşamba and the hinterland.


[1] Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi (Ottoman Annual Books dated 1869 onwards)

[2] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014,p.330.

[3] P.Minas Bıjışkyan, Karadeniz Kıyıları Tarihi ve Coğrafyası (1817-1819), Translated by Hrand D. Andreasyan, published by İstanbul Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1969, p.33.

[4] Şaşmaz, ibid, p.356.

[5] Mehmet Yavuz Erler & Kerim Edinsel, “Samsun’da Tütün Üretimi (1788-1919)” (Tabacco Production in Samsun (1788-1919) , The Journal of International Social Research, Volume.4, Issue. 18, Summer 2011, p.233.

[6] BOA (Pryministrial Archive in Istanbul), HRT. Nr. 0144.

[7] P.Minas Bıjışkyan, Karadeniz Kıyıları Tarihi ve Coğrafyası (1817-1819), Translated by Hrand D. Andreasyan, published by İstanbul Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1969, p.32.

[8] Musa Şaşmaz, Trade Reports of the Trebizond Province on British Documents (1830-1914), Vol. I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2014, p. 331.

[9] Şaşmaz, ibid, p.331.

[10] Şaşmaz, ibid, p. 331.

[11] Şaşmaz, ibid, p.330.

[12] P.Minas Bıjışkyan, Karadeniz Kıyıları Tarihi ve Coğrafyası (1817-1819), Translated by Hrand D. Andreasyan, published by İstanbul Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1969, p.33.

[13] Şaşmaz, ibid, p.330.