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Merzifon

Merzifon

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Merzifon is a town and district in Amasya Province
Amasya Province
Amasya Province is a province of Turkey, situated on the Yeşil River in the Black Sea Region to the north of the country. Area 5,520 km². Population 334,786....

 in the central Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 region of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. It covers an area of 970 km², and the population (2010) is 69,237 of which 52,947 live in the town of Merzifon, the remainder spread throughout the surrounding countryside. The mayor is Mehmet Kadri Aydınlı (AKP
Justice and Development Party (Turkey)
The Justice and Development Party , abbreviated JDP in English and AK PARTİ or AKP in Turkish, is a centre-right political party in Turkey. The party is the largest in Turkey, with 327 members of parliament...

).

Etymology


Former variants of its name include Marzifūn, Mersivan, Marsovan, Marsiwān, Mersuvan, Merzpond and Merzban. The name apparently comes from Marzban, the Persian title for a "march lord" or a district governor, although the exact connection is not clear.

Geography


Standing on a plain, watered by a river, Merzifon is on the road between the capital city of Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

 and Samsun
Samsun
Samsun is a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey. It is the provincial capital of Samsun Province and a major Black Sea port.-Name:...

 on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast, 109km from Samsun, 325km from Ankara and 40km west of the city of Amasya
Amasya
- History :Its location in this steep valley makes the city a mountain stronghold, easy to defend, and thus Amasya has had a long and prominent history.-Antiquity:...

. The weather is cold in winter, hot in summer.

Far antiquity


Archaeological evidence (hundreds of burial mounds höyük) indicate settlement of this well-watered farmland since the stone age at least 5500 BC. The first fortifications were built by the Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

, who were pushed out around 1200BC by invaders coming in from the nearby Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. From 700BC the fortifications were rebuilt by the Phrygians, who left a number of burial mounds and other architecture. From 600BC the Phrygians were pushed out by more invasions from the east, this time Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

 from over the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 mountains; graves from this period have been excavated and their contents displayed in the museum in Amasya. Merzifon then became a trading post of the kings of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, whose ruled the Black Sea coast from their capital in Amasya.

Rome and Byzantium


The district of Amasya was destroyed during civil wars of the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and, including Merzifon, was restored by command of the emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

. Remains of Roman temples from Merzifon are also on display in Amasya today. The city grew in importance under Roman rule as walls and fortifications were strengthened, and remained strong under Byzantine rule (following the division of the Roman empire in 395), although it was held briefly by Arab armies during the 8th century expansion of Islam. Following which the castle of Bulak was built as a defence.

Turks


Islam was finally established by the Danishmend lords in the 11th century and the Byzantines never regained control. The Danishmend were followed by Seljuk Turks, Ilkhan, and from 1393 onwards the Ottomans. Merzifon remained an important city for the Ottomans, being so close to Amasya where the Ottoman princes were raised and schooled for the throne. Evliya Çelebi
Evliya Çelebi
Evliya Çelebi was an Ottoman traveler who journeyed through the territory of the Ottoman Empire and neighboring lands over a period of forty years.- Life :...

 records a well-fortified trading city

The Turkish Republic


Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, British troops were deployed in the Ottoman lands to ensure the terms of surrender. The Black Sea arm of this operation penetrated inland as far as Merzifon in 1919. By this time a Turkish army was being rebuilt under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

, who was based in nearby Amasya. The British troops withdrew in the autumn of 1919, when they saw the local people were arming for resistance. There was no fighting.

Merzifon today


Merzifon is now a typical large but quiet Anatolian town providing schools, hospitals, courts and other important infrastructure in dull concrete buildings, but offering few cultural amenities. Few travellers stop here, preferring to press on to reach the Black Sea coast. The best-known dish is the boiled wheat, chick-pea and meat stew called keşkek; there are also a number of well-known kebab houses and a famous köfte restaurant called Ciloşoğlu. And at weekends there is plenty of attractive countryside around for a picnic or other escapes.

There is a large airbase nearby. Merzifon is twinned with the city of Pleasant Hill, California
Pleasant Hill, California
Pleasant Hill is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 33,152 at the 2010 census. It was incorporated in 1961...

.

Notable natives

  • Kara Mustafa Pasha (1634-1683) Ottoman statesman held responsible for the failure to conquer Vienna
    Battle of Vienna
    The Battle of Vienna took place on 11 and 12 September 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months...

    . The report of his failure to capture Vienna was received by the Sultan, who ordered Kara Mustafa Pasha to have himself beheaded. Being the obedient servant of the Ottoman Empire, he complied.

External links