History goes way back in Amasya, and in fact Amasya claims Strabo, the world’s first historian, as a native son.
The tombs of the kings of Pontus (3rd century BCE), carved right into the sheer rock mountain looming above the town, are what strike you when you first look around Amasya. You can climb up to them for a better view of the tombs and the town.
There’s also the Aynalı Cave Rock Tomb out of the town center 3 km (2 miles), near the district named Ziyaret.
Old Ottoman Houses
Many graceful old Ottoman houses have been preserved, and a few now serve as charming boutique hotels. Others are restaurants, cafés, and museums. Look especially for the Hazeranlar Konağı.
Two fortresses crown the mountains looming over Amasya. The more accessible is Harşena, reached by a narrow road. After paying a small admission fee you can climb right up to the flagpole for panoramic views of Amasya and its dramatic setting.
Gök Medrese (Blue Seminary) & Torumtay Tomb
This 13th-century seminary takes its name from the blue tiles on its façade, some of which are still visible. The tomb of its benefactor is next to it.
Ilkhanid Bimarhane & Medical Museum
The good news about this wonderful old 13th-century Mongol madhouse is that it has been restored and opened as a museum of medical history. The bad news is that the restoration work was poorly done. The building deserved better.
Mosque of the Spiral Minaret
There are few spiral minarets on Turkish mosques, but Amasya has one: the 13th-century Burmalı Minare Camii, worth a visit.
A historic commercial building in the town center, restored and again used for commerce.
Yıldırım Beyazıt Mosque Complex
The largest and most prominent mosque complex in the center of Amasya.
Kapı Ağa Medrese
Again used as a seminary for young Islamic scholars, this unusual octagonal stone Ottoman theological school is not officially open to the public, but you may be able to get a peek inside.
Besides the expected artifacts from Amasya’s rich and deep past, the Amasya Müzesi contains mummies.
This impressive 18-kilometer-long Hellenistic aqueduct is visible on the outskirts of the town.
—by Tom Brosnahan