Şebinkarahisar is a town and a district of Giresun Province
Giresun Province
Giresun Province is a province of Turkey on the Black Sea coast. Its adjacent provinces are Trabzon to the east, Gümüşhane to the south-west, Erzincan to the south, Sivas to the south-east, and Ordu to the west. The provincial capital is Giresun....

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



The 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

 writes that the Roman general Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 captured the then ancient fortress and renamed it Colonia
Colonia (Roman)
A Roman colonia was originally a Roman outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of Roman city.-History:...

, in Greek Koloneia (Κολώνεια). A Greek
Medieval Greek
Medieval Greek, also known as Byzantine Greek, is the stage of the Greek language between the beginning of the Middle Ages around 600 and the Ottoman conquest of the city of Constantinople in 1453. The latter date marked the end of the Middle Ages in Southeast Europe...

 inscription of the ninth or tenth century found in the fortress securely identifies Şebinkarahisar with Koloneia. Curiously, the Seljuk
Sultanate of Rûm
The Sultanate of Rum , also known as the Anatolian Seljuk State , was a Turkic state centered in in Anatolia, with capitals first at İznik and then at Konya. Since the court of the sultanate was highly mobile, cities like Kayseri and Sivas also functioned at times as capitals...

 historian Ibn Bibi
Ibn Bibi
Ibn Bibi is author of the primary source for the history of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rum during the 13th century. He served as head of the chancellery of the Sultanate in Konya and reported on contemporary events....

 and 14th century coins minted by the Eretnids record an Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 variation of the name, Koğoniya.

In the 11th century, a second name becomes associated with the place: the town retains the name Koloneia but the fortress above is called Mavrokastron, Greek for "Black Fortress". The Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 toponym Karahisar (Γαράσαρη), appearing first in the 14th century, is a translation of Mavrokastron. The town was later called Şapkarahisar ("Black Fortress of Alum
Alum is both a specific chemical compound and a class of chemical compounds. The specific compound is the hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate with the formula KAl2.12H2O. The wider class of compounds known as alums have the related empirical formula, AB2.12H2O.-Chemical properties:Alums are...

") or Kara Hisar-ı Şarkî/Şarkî Kara Hisar ("Black Fortress of the East") to differentiate it from Afyonkarahisar
Afyonkarahisar is a city in western Turkey, the capital of Afyon Province. Afyon is in mountainous countryside inland from the Aegean coast, south-west of Ankara along the Akarçay River. Elevation...

 farther to the west. The place has been known as Şebinkarahisar since the 19th century and both names were used. On 11 October 1924 Mustafa Kemal
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....

 visited this town and proposed to be used the name Şebin Karahisar. The Armenians still call this city Nikopoli (Greek: Νικόπολη).


The recorded history of Şebinkarahisar begins with the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

. After the defeat of Mithridates VI
Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI or Mithradates VI Mithradates , from Old Persian Mithradatha, "gift of Mithra"; 134 BC – 63 BC, also known as Mithradates the Great and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120 BC to 63 BC...

, Pompey strengthened the town's fortifications and founded a Roman colony (colonia).

In the Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 period, the city was rebuilt by Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 (r. 527–565). In the 7th century, it became part of the Armeniac Theme
Armeniac Theme
The Armeniac Theme , more properly the Theme of the Armeniacs was a Byzantine theme located in northeastern Asia Minor .-History:...

, and later of Chaldia
Chaldia was a historical region located in the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor . Its name was derived from a people called the Chaldoi that inhabited the region in Antiquity. Chaldia was used throughout the Byzantine period and was established as a formal theme, known as the Theme of Chaldia , in...

, before finally becoming the seat of a separate theme
Koloneia (theme)
The Theme of Koloneia was a small military-civilian province of the Byzantine Empire located in northern Cappadocia and the southern Pontus, in modern Turkey...

 by 863. It was attacked by Arab raids in 778 and in 940.

Şebinkarahisar fell to the Seljuk Turks soon after the Battle of Manzikert
Battle of Manzikert
The Battle of Manzikert , was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuq Turks led by Alp Arslan on August 26, 1071 near Manzikert...

 in 1071. It remained in Turkish hands since, with the excetion of a short-lived Byzantine recovery ca. 1106. Through the following centuries, the fortress occupied a strategic position on the frontier between the Turkish-controlled interior and the Byzantine Empire of Trebizond
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine successor states of the Byzantine Empire. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire...

 in the 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...

. The Danishmends
The Danishmend dynasty was a Turcoman dynasty that ruled in north-central and eastern Anatolia in the 11th and 12th centuries. The centered originally around Sivas, Tokat, and Niksar in central-northeastern Anatolia, they extended as far west as Ankara and Kastamonu for a time, and as far south as...

 held the fortress until the 1170s, when it passed into the hands of the Saltukids of Erzurum
Erzurum is a city in Turkey. It is the largest city, the capital of Erzurum Province. The city is situated 1757 meters above sea level. Erzurum had a population of 361,235 in the 2000 census. .Erzurum, known as "The Rock" in NATO code, served as NATO's southeastern-most air force post during the...

. In 1201/1202 the Mengujekids , vassals of the Seljuks of Rum
Sultanate of Rûm
The Sultanate of Rum , also known as the Anatolian Seljuk State , was a Turkic state centered in in Anatolia, with capitals first at İznik and then at Konya. Since the court of the sultanate was highly mobile, cities like Kayseri and Sivas also functioned at times as capitals...

, took over. Following the Mongol invasion of the mid-13th century, the fortress was under command of the Eretnids, who minted coins in the town. A succession of petty Turkmen warlords controlled the town until Uzun Hasan of the Ak Koyunlu
Ak Koyunlu
The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans , was an Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and Iran from 1378 to 1508.-History:According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu...

 took over in 1459, perhaps believing that the place constituted part of the dowry of his new Greek wife, the daughter of John IV of Trebizond
John IV of Trebizond
John IV Megas Komnenos , was Emperor of Trebizond from 1429 to 1459. He was a son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene....


Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

 took the town for the Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1473 following his defeat of Uzun Hasan at the Battle of Otluk Beli. From Şebinkarahisar he sent a series of letters announcing his victory, including an unusual missive in the Uyghur language
Uyghur language
Uyghur , formerly known as Eastern Turk, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other...

 addressed to the Turkmen of Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...


The Shabin-Karahisar uprising

Şebinkarahisar was one of the few locations where Armenians actively resisted the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...


As news of deportations and massacres in other parts of the Ottoman Empire reached the town, its Armenian population decided to make preparations for self-defence. On June 15, 1915 some 300 Armenians, mostly wealthy merchants, were arrested. On the following day, after further attempted arrests, fighting erupted and barricades were erected in the town's Armenian districts. By June 18 most of those districts had fallen or been abandoned. Some 5,000 Armenians from the town and nearby villages, 75% of them women and children, retreated into Şebinkarahisar's medieval fortress. It was then surrounded by Turkish troops, who directed heavy artillery at its walls. On the night of July 11, with food, water, and ammunition almost exhausted, the Armenians decided to secretly evacuate the fortress. However, the attempt was discovered and all who had left were killed. On July 12 those still inside the fortress surrendered. A massacre then followed in which all Armenian men were killed. Women and children survivors were held prisoner in the town before being deported like those of other towns.

The Republic of Turkey

When the republic was founded in 1923 the 10th Army was garrisoned here, bringing a boost to the local economy. Atatürk visited in 1924, on his way from seeing earthquake damage in Erzurum
Erzurum is a city in Turkey. It is the largest city, the capital of Erzurum Province. The city is situated 1757 meters above sea level. Erzurum had a population of 361,235 in the 2000 census. .Erzurum, known as "The Rock" in NATO code, served as NATO's southeastern-most air force post during the...

. It was a province between 1924–1933 and had districts of Alucra
Alucra is a town and a district of Giresun Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, from the city of Giresun. She was the district of Şebinkarahisar between 1924-1933.-Etymology:...

, Suşehri
Suşehri is a town and a district of Sivas Province of Turkey. The mayor is Sedat Sel .Suşehri is one of country sides of Sivas.-Name:The first localization of Suşehri is 2 km from east of city centre...

, Koyulhisar
Koyulhisar is a town and a district of Sivas Province of Turkey. The mayor is İlhan Eren .The ancient city of Nicopolis stood at this place....

 and Mesudiye.


Şebinkarahisar itself is a quiet town of 13,200 (TÜİK 2008) people, 40 km from the provincial city of Giresun
Giresun is the provincial capital of Giresun Province in the Black Sea Region of northeastern Turkey, about west of the city of Trabzon.-Etymology:...

, standing on the north side of the valley of the river Avutmuş in the Giresun Mountains.

The town is hard to reach, the road along the riverbank is windy and narrow, and services are hard to provide. The surrounding rural district is even more remote and many generations have left to jobs in cities like İstanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 and 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....

, although in summer the villages of Şebinkarahisar are busy with returning families on holiday.

The Şebin walnut is a particular variety of walnut, grown on the valley sides, another local delicacies include a helva made from hazelnuts, Hoşmerim a kind of cheese pudding, small bread loaves called gilik, the corn and chick pea soup toyga çorbası, dolma
Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions such as Russia, Middle East and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma. Common vegetables to stuff include onion, zucchini, eggplant,...

 made from the leaves of Curled Dock
Curled Dock
Curled Dock , also known as Curly Dock, Yellow Dock, Sour Dock, Narrow Dock, sometimes as "narrow-leaved dock" , and ambiguously as "garden patience", is a perennial flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae, native to Europe and Western Asia.The mature plant is a reddish brown colour, and...

 evelik, stewed nettles and most of all the mulberry
Morus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae. The 10–16 species of deciduous trees it contains are commonly known as Mulberries....

 syrup, pekmez
Pekmez or dibs is amolasses-like syrup obtained after condensing juices of fruit must, especially grape, fig or mulberry, by boiling it with a coagulant agent. It is used as a syrup or mixed with tahini for breakfast....


Places of interest

  • Şebinkarahisar castle
  • Beyramşah Camii - mosque built by the Seljuk Turks, in the neighbourhood of Avutmuş.
  • Taşhanlar - Ottoman-period stone caravanserai
    A caravanserai, or khan, also known as caravansary, caravansera, or caravansara in English was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey...

    , at the entrance to the castle
  • Fatih Camii - Ottoman mosque next to the castle

Notable natives

  • Rahşan Ecevit
    Rahsan Ecevit
    Rahşan Ecevit is the spouse of the late Turkish politician and former prime minister Bülent Ecevit.She was born in Bursa, Turkey to a family from Şebinkarahisar, a town in the northeastern Giresun Province. Her father was Namık Zeki Aral, and her mother Zahide Aral. Their family came from...

    , political leader and wife of former Prime Minister of Turkey
    Prime Minister of Turkey
    The Prime Minister of the Turkey is the head of government in Turkish politics. The prime minister is the leader of a political coalition in the Turkish parliament and the leader of the cabinet....

     Bülent Ecevit
    Bülent Ecevit
    Mustafa Bülent Ecevit was a Turkish politician, poet, writer and journalist, who was the leader of Republican People's Party , later of the Democratic Left Party and four-time Prime Minister of Turkey.- Personal life :...

  • Andranik Toros Ozanian
    Andranik Toros Ozanian
    Andranik Ozanian , Andranik Toros Ozanian , General Andranik , also as Antranik or Antranig was an Armenian general, political and public activist and freedom fighter, greatly admired as a national hero.-Early Age:Antranik Toros Ozanian was born in the church...

    , an Armenian
    Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

     general and national hero
  • Toros Toramanian
    Toros Toramanian
    Toros Toramanian was a prominent Armenian architect. He is considered "the father of Armenian architectural historiography."-Biography:Toramanian was born in 1864, in the town of Şebinkarahisar, Ottoman Empire...

    , an Armenian architect
  • Ara Güler
    Ara Güler
    Ara Güler is a Turkish photojournalist of Armenian descent, nicknamed "the Eye of Istanbul" or "the Photographer of Istanbul".- Early life :...

     - photographer, was born to a Şebinkarahisar family,
  • Aziz Nesin
    Aziz Nesin
    Aziz Nesin was a famous Turkish writer and humorist of Crimean Tatar origin and author of more than 100 books.-Pseudonyms:...

     - writer, was born to a Şebinkarahisar family and at one stage campaigned for Şebinkarahisar to be made again into a province in its own right
  • Kemal Tahir
    Kemal Tahir
    Kemal Tahir was a prominent Turkish novelist and intellectual. Tahir spent 13 years of his life imprisoned due to political reasons and wrote some of his most important novels during this time...

     - author, his father was from Şebinkarahisar
  • Mehmet Emin Yurdakul
    Mehmet Emin Yurdakul
    Mehmet Emin Yurdakul was a Turkish writer.-Notable works:*Türkçe Şiirler *Fazilet ve Adalet *Türk Sazı *Ey Türk Uyan...

     (1869–1944), writer, former member of parliament for Şebinkarahisar
  • Idil Biret
    Idil Biret
    İdil Biret is a Turkish concert pianist, renowned for her interpretations of the Romantic repertoire.-Education:...

     (1941-), pianist. Her mother is from a Şebinkarahisar family
  • Başar Sabuncu
    Başar Sabuncu
    Başar Sabuncu , is a Turkish film director, screenwriter, cinematographer and occasional actor.-Early life:Sabuncu started acting when he was a student at the St. Joseph High School.-Filmography:-External links:...

     (1943-), theatre and film director. His father is from a Şebinkarahisar family
  • Erdal Eren (1969-...),
  • Donik Chilingirian (He was a big landowner.)

External links

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