The city of Amasya (Turkish pronunciation: [aˈmasja]), the Amaseia or Amasia of antiquity, stands in the mountains above the Black Sea coast, set apart from the rest of Anatolia in a narrow valley along the banks of the Yeşilırmak River. Although near the Black Sea, this area is high above the coast and has an inland climate, well-suited to growing apples, for which Amasya province, one of the provinces in north-central Anatolia Turkey, is famed. It was the home of the geographer Strabo and the birthplace of the 15th century scholar and physician Amirdovlat Amasiatsi. Located in a narrow cleft of the Yeşilırmak (Iris) river, it has a history of 7,500 years which has left many traces still evident today.
In antiquity, Amaseia was a fortified city high on the cliffs above the river. It has a long history as a wealthy provincial capital, producing kings and princes, artists, scientists, poets and thinkers, from the kings of Pontus, through Strabo the geographer, to many generations of the Ottoman imperial dynasty. With its Ottoman-period wooden houses and the tombs of the Pontus kings carved into the cliffs overhead, Amasya is attractive to visitors. In recent years, there has been much investment in tourism, and therefore more foreign and Turkish tourists have visited the city.
During the early Ottoman rule, it was customary for young Ottoman princes to be sent to Amasya to govern and gain experience. Amasya was also the birthplace of the Ottoman sultans Murad I and Selim I. It is thus of great importance in terms of Ottoman history. Traditional Ottoman houses near the Yeşilırmak and the other main historical buildings have been restored; these traditional Yalıboyu houses are now used as cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels. Behind the Ottoman wooden houses one can see the rock tombs of the Pontic kings.