The hinterland of the port-city
Author: İMAMOĞLU HUSEYIN VEHBI
*Assist Assoc. Professor University of Sinop, Sinop, Turkey
The city of Sinop is one of the most scenic port cities of the Black Sea due to its location and geographical features. The position of the city has had important effects on the population and the growth of the port city. Sinop with a natural harbor, was an important port city known for fishing activities, shipbuilding and maritime affairs. During the 19th century, some tax exemptions were introduced to keep the population of the city as the importance of the trade of the city diminished due to the land and sea routes that concentrated in the neighbouring areas. The Sinop shipyards continued their importance due to the Ottoman-Russian wars during the 18th century. During these years, ship-building and ship repairing brought prosperity to the port-city. Sinop began to lose its importance after the Russian raid of Ottoman fleet in the port of Sinop on November 30, 1853. With the Treaty of Paris that was signed in 1853, the Ottoman military bases and shipyards in the Black Sea were closed, and Sinop lost to a great extent its importance after this date. The value of historic port of Sinop was greatly reduced due to the change of land and sea routes of the region, the differentiation of employment and increasing population mobility. It was Samsun and Trabzon that now drew all the products from the hinterland of Sinop .
The Sinop harbor, however, remained of strategic importance throughout its history. Being inside a castle, the Sinop harbor was considerably sheltered and offered safe refuge for both military and commercial vessels . Because it was a natural harbor, it was recommended to the seafarers who wanted to be protected during storms. War, trade and fishing vessels had benefited from the sheltered structure of harbor. Therefore Sinop port served both as a commercial and military base. Until the end of the 19th century, it remained an important base for the caravan routes reaching from the interior of Anatolia to Black Sea for exports .
There was trade route extending from Sinop port to the hinterland towards different regions of Anatolia . Trabzon-Samsun-Sinop-Amasra-Istanbul land route was another trade route apart from the Amasya-Tokat-Sivas-Malatya, Samsun-Sinop caravan route in the region. Goods brought from the hinterland of the region were transported by sea from the ports of Sinop and Samsun to other regions of the Black Sea and particularly Crimea . Also Samsun-Amasya-Tokat line was a acaravan route in direction of north-south; Kastamonu-Sinop/Durağan-Vezirköprü-Havza was a caravan route in direction of east-west . During these years, Sinop shipyards, were an important part of commercial life in the region . Goods brought into the port of Sinop were transported to different regions of Anatolia through caravans. These roads enabled the Ottoman Empire to benefit from the Black Sea trade .
The port of Sinop not only was a natural harbor on the Black Sea but also had the appropriate resources for shipbuilding, an ideal place for a shipyard. Especially timber, hemp, tar and oakum could also be found in Sinop. Imperial Shipyard (Tersane-i Amire) had a monopoly in the right of use of the timber of the Sinop forest. Part of this timber was used in the construction of ships in Sinop and the rest was sent to Istanbul .
 Osman Turan, Anadolu Selçukluları Hakkında Resmi Vesikalar, (Ankara: TTK 1986), pp. 48-49.
 İdris Bostan, “Bir İmparatorluk Donanmasının Teşkili: Osmanlı Denizciliği’nde Savaş ve Organizasyon”, Türk Denizcilik Tarihi, in Bülent Arı (ed.), (Ankara: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Başbakanlık Denizcilik Müsteşarlığı 2002), p. 215.
 Ibid, Özgür Yılmaz, p. 3.
 Kemal Özergin, “Anadolu’da Selçuklu Kervansarayları”, Tarih Dergisi, 15 (1965), pp. 141-170.
 M. Safran, “XIII. ve XIV. Yüzyıllarda Karadeniz Limanlarının Ticari ve Tarihi Önemi”, Birinci Tarih Boyunca Karadeniz Kongresi Bildirileri, 13-17 Ekim 1986, Ondokuz Mayıs Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi Özel Sayısı: 2 (1988), pp. 459-462.
 Mehmet Öz, XV-XVI. Yüzyıllarda Canik Sancağı, (Ankara: TTK 1999), pp. 18-19
 M. A. Ünal, “XVI. Yüzyılda Sinop Tersanesi İçin Canik Sancağı’ndan Malzeme Temini”, Geçmişten Geleceğe Samsun Sempozyumu, 4-6 Mayıs 2006, Geçmişten Geleceğe Samsun-2006, Bildiriler, 1. Kitap, in Cevdet Yılmaz (ed.), (Samsun: Samsun Büyükşehir Belediyesi, 2006), pp. 231-251.
 Ibid, Osman Turan, pp. 48-49.
 Ibid, İdris Bostan, p. 215.