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The maritime region of the port-city    EN


*Assist. Assoc. Professor University of Usak, Usak, Turkey

Sinop, with its harbour, a ship haven, ship building facilities, and sheltered location, has been an important seaport-city from the ancient times [1]. The seaport of Sinop, together with its ship-building yard and historical fortress, as a whole, was so protected that it was almost impossible to either attack the harbor or cause the vessels to be damaged [2]. The ship yard within the Sinop castle was very usable and functional and some twenty five to thirty vessels could be built simultaneously [3]. As Sinop was surrounded with vast forests it was possible to make the wooden vessels of good quality [4]. The seaport of Sinop, besides its above mentioned features, has also been an important seaport for the fishing business [5]. The maritime region of Sinop having abundant fish species has also contributed to the development of the fishing culture of the Turks. As Sinop is surrounded by sea on three sides, people living there were integrated with sea.

Sinop, known as a city of maritime trade from ancient times, has sustained this feature during the Ottoman period until trade routes were changed and were directed to Samsun. The port of Sinop served a reliable and preferable transit port for the merchants who wanted to distribute their goods to the other ports of Black Sea and the interior regions of Anatolia [6]. The sheltered position of Sinop seaport has provided safe refuge to merchant ships. Besides that, Sinop seaport had an exclusive and advantageous position among the ports of Black Sea for the passengers who would travel to Crimea. In this period Sinop seaport has been designated as a customs region by the Ottoman Empire because of its commercial importance [7]. For the transportation of merchandise from Anatolia to Crimea, the route of Konya-Ankara-Çankırı-Kastamonu-Sinop has been used [8]. Besides this route the trade goods coming from Aleppo were also shipped to Sinop seaport via Kayseri [9]. Miscellaneous products of Anatolia have been directed to the international markets thanks to the Sinop seaport.

Sinop seaport, has been not only a regional seaport but has also formed the northern end of international trade from its hinterland [10]. At the same time, merchant ships and warships were built in Sinop shipyard and provided for the transport services of the Ottoman Empire. A comparison based on the types and number of ships built in the Ottoman shipyards, has shown that Sinop shipyard was the third largest shipyard after Galata and Gallipoli [11].

The hemp produced in the neighboring sanjak for the ships being built in Sinop shipyard was very advantageous in the cost of ship production. After a decision was made for the building of a ship, orders for procurement of materials were being sent to the towns nearby, and Kadis (Muslim judges) of Canik Sanjak were being instructed immediately to provide the hemp needed for the hemp fiber at current prices [12].

Although there was a domestic maritime trade within the Black Sea regions of the Ottoman Empire, a peripheral international trade developed between the northern and southern regions of the Black Sea. While the finished fabrics made of cotton, silk, and hemp were being shipped from the southern parts of the Black Sea like Sinop to the North, agricultural and livestock products were imported from the northern ports to the South[13]. The maritime trade that had continued for centuries long, changed with the emergence of Russia in end of 18th century as an important power in the area[14]. On the other hand, the continuous wars between the Ottoman Empire and eastern European states, were among the causes which hindered the development of the international trade of the region. Especially the repetitive assaults by Kazakhs and Abkhasian pirates affected negatively the maritime trade of the Black Sea and Sinop [15].

The southern Black Sea region traded also with the western shore. The political developments that took place in Balkans, influenced the trade relations between the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires, and with the increasing demands of Habsburgs, the importance of the seaport of Sinop doubled. While the products like hardware, rough wool, and tobacco were imported to the seaports of Black Sea from the Balkans, hazelnut, hemp, cotton, cupper, and woolen textile were exported to Balkan states from the coastal cities of Black Sea like Sinop [16].

After the Küçük Kaynarca Treaty signed in 1774, the Ottoman maritime trade of the Black Sea was affected and a period of decline for the maritime trade in all the Ottoman seaports of Black Sea has started. But, after this period, the Black Sea was again opened to international trade. Mainly Russia, Austria in 1784, France and England in 1802 got navigation and commercial privileges and after 1829 all nations could navigate freely in the Black Sea ports. This brought an unprecedented increase in the Russian seaports and the comparative decline of the Ottoman ones like Sinop, Samsun and Trabzon [18].


[1] Mehmet Ali Ünal, “XVI. Yüzyılda Sinop Tersanesi İçin Canik Sancağı’ndan Malzeme Temini”, Geçmişten Geleceğe Samsun Sempozyumu, (Samsun 2006), p. 232.

[2] Ibid, Mehmet Ali Ünal, p. 232.

[3] Ibid, Mehmet Ali Ünal, p. 232.

[4] Ibid, Mehmet Ali Ünal, p. 231.

[5] Süleyman Çiğdem, “Eskiçağ’da Trabzon Limanı: Askeri ve Ekonomik Yönden Gelişimi ve Doğu-Batı İlişkilerindeki Rolü”, Atatürk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 10:2 (2007), pp. 137-138.

[6] Ibid, Süleyman Çiğdem, p. 425.

[7] Zübeyde Güneş Yağcı, “İstanbul Gümrük Defterine Göre Karadeniz öle Ticareti (1606-1607)”, History Studies, 3:2, (2011), p. 374.

[8] Tülay Öcal, “Konya Şehrinin Selçuklulardan Günümüze Ticaret Fonksiyonu”, TÜBAR, Bahar 2006, p. 406.

[9] Koray Özcan, “Anadolu’da Selçuklu Dönemi Yerleşme Tipolojileri I -Pazar ya da Panayır Yerleşimleri-”, Anadolu Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, (Eskişehir 2006/I), p. 209.

[10] Ibid, Koray Özcan, p. 165.

[11] İdris Bostan, Osmanlı Bahriye Teşkilâtı: XVII. Yüzyılda Tersâne-i Âmire, (Ankara: TTK 1992), p. 18.

[12] Ibid, Mehmet Ali Ünal, pp. 242-243.

[13] Halil İnalcık, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Ekonomik ve Sosyal Tarihi 1300-1600, Çev.: Halil Berktay, (İstanbul: 2000), p. 331.

[14] Murat Fidan, “1797-1800 Tarihlerinde Osmanlı-Rusya Arasında Karadeniz Üzerinden Gerçeklesen İhracat ve İthalat (87/5 Numaralı Rusya Ahkam Defterine Göre)”, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Araştırmaları Dergisi, 28:45, (2009), p. 64

[15] Suraiya Faroqhi, Osmanlı’da Kentler ve Kentliler, (İstanbul: 2000), p. 149.

[16] Necmettin Aygün, “Osmanlı Devleti’nin Son Zamanlarında Karadeniz’in Güney Kesiminde İktisadî Faaliyetler”, Karadeniz Araştırmaları, 6:23, (2009), p. 42.

[17] Osman Köse, 1774 Küçük Kaynarca Antlaşması, (Ankara: 2006), p. 114.

[18] Özgür Yılmaz, “Karadeniz’in Uluslararası Ticarete Açılması ve Trabzon”, Uluslararası Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi, 2:7, pp. 368-369.