The History Sightseeing in Tokat City Turkey

 ABOUT THE HISTORY & SIGHTSEEING IN TOKAT CITY, TURKEY 

900 YEARS OF HISTORY IN 900 STEPS

Tokat is a unique city where, in 900 steps, you can witness the 900 years of adventure of Turks in Anatolia and the way they architected the history here.


When speaking of Tokat, the image of a yellow, hot and a boring place in the middle of nowhere pops up in peoples’ minds for no reason.

 

Tokat has a quite balanced climate as it is not as rainy and humid as the Black Sea Coast and Tokat is neither as dry, too hot nor too cold as Central Anatolia.

 

Tokat has three fruitful plains that are parallel to each other and three different tributaries of Yesil Irmak (the Green River), Kelkit, Tozanli and Cekerek that irrigate Kelkit Plain with an elevation of 200 meters, Kazova Plain with an elevation of 600 meters and Artova Plain with an elevation 1000 meters respectively. 

 

The far north of Tokat and the Black Sea Region are remarkably similar in terms of climate, flora, architecture and communities. 


And also it is likewise when the far south of Tokat and Central Anatolia are considered.

 

These plains with different elevations host the complete flora and endemic species of Anatolia except the ones with the characteristics of the Mediterranean region. And last but not the least, four of the top twelve ranking plant gene centers are in Turkey and two of these are located in Tokat.  

 

Besides the rich variety of its flora, due to its strong commercial activities, the city already had a diverse population that was even enriched by Armenians, Romans, Jews, craftsman and workforce who migrated to Tokat from different regions. And as a result of the war between The Ottomans & Russians on 1877, the city welcomed even more migrants and communities such as Circassians, Georgians, Laz, Karapapaks, Karacays, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Selanik Communities, as well as other communities from Balkan Area and from Kars, Artvin, Erzurum and Gumushane regions.   

 

And although the population hosted so many different cultures and beliefs the people still lived in peace and harmony all through the ages. 

 

So what is the reason behind this then? If we quote from the Mukkaddime, one of the masterpieces of Ibn-i Haldun, and from the narrations of Evliya Celebi, one of the greatest travelers of its time, it will enable us to explain the beauty of it all. 

 

The father of the Sociology Science, Ibn-i Haldun, states that the geography and the climate that the people live in have a major influence on one’s character.

 

In his masterpiece, Book of Travels, Evliya Celebi refers to Tokat as follows;

 

In the all four corners of this city with a pleasant atmosphere, water flows through the gardens and orchards. Each vineyard has a mansion, a pool and fountains, and fruits of various types within. The people of the city are pleasant. They are friends with the poor, they don’t hold grudges, they don’t cheat. The city’s mosques, palaces, mansions and almshouses are so solid and beautiful that every visitor admires these places.

With the auspicious and fruitful prayers of Haci Bektas-i Veli, this old and historical city is the land of virtues and the home of many scholars and poets.

 

Tokat was an important city before the arrival of Turks to Anatolia as well. 

 

Scientific excavations revealed that early settlements in the city starts from the end of chalcolithic / copper ages which date back to 5500 – 3000 BC. 

 

As we move ahead in time we see that the war between Roman Empire and Pontus Kingdom took place in Tokat where the Summer Palaces of Pontus Kingdom were located. The glorious Roman Empire was defeated by Pontus Kingdom several times but in the end Julius Caesar wins victory against Farnakes II and makes his famous statement in Tokat; “Vene Vidi Vici”.

 

Tokat had been one of the major centers on the intersecting trade routes from Tebriz, Baghdad, Mesopotamia (in the east) to the Black Sea Region, Bursa and Istanbul (in the south) and even in routes between Helens, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans.

Briefly, Tokat was a very rich city in terms of culture and trade during the period between the Hittite Era and the time when the significance of the Silk Road diminished.  

 

As well as being an important commercial center, at the same time Tokat was the religious center of the region in Byzantine era.

 

Until 4th century A.D. Tokat was just a Roman Castle on trade routes. Later on, a small Christian community had to move to Tokat from Komana City as there was too much pressure coming from the Pagans. Therefore a new settlement in Tokat started under the shelter of Empress Eudoksi. The early names for the city is believed to have derived from Doksi as Doksiya, Dukkiye, Duket and eventually the name of the city was Tokat.


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Unknown Facts about Tokat

 

Tokat is a unique city where, in 900 steps, you can witness the 900 years of adventure of Turks in Anatolia and the way they architected the history here.

 

The capital city of Danismend City State back in 11th century was Niksar which is a town bound to Tokat at present. 

 

Tokat was one of the six most important cities of Selcuklu Kingdom and one of the ten most important cities of Ottoman Empire.

 

Hz.Mevlana complimented Tokat by saying “One needs to go to Tokat as the climate and the community of the city is moderate” 

 

11th century – Tokat hosts Garipler Mosque, the second oldest mosque in post Malazgirt Era in Anatolia after Degeron Mosque in Buhara Hazar dated 1040. This mosque is a beautiful example of early Mosque Architecture with multiple domes. 

 

12th century – The oldest madrasa of Anatolia, Yagibasan Madrasa which influenced the madrasas that was built after itself is in Tokat. 

 

13th century – Gok Madrasa is a unique example of its kind as it has an open courtyard that is completely covered with classic Ottoman tiles. 

 

14th century – Two Tombs and a Dervish Lodge. 

 

15th century – During the given timeline architectural activities were pretty busy in Tokat and magnificent structures were built in the city such as; Han (one of the oldest caravanserai in Anatolia), hamam, Hatuniye Mosque (one of the late era examples of mosques with a dervish lodge), prayer rooms, bedesten (one of the most beautiful covered bazaars in Anatolia) and a facility that existed in nowhere (at the given time) but in Tokat, public toilets! 

 

16th century – Tokat was not ignored in 16th century either. Ali Pasha Mosque & its Hamam that can be related with Mimar Sinan (Sinan the Architect) is a good example of this era. Tokat was a popular stop on important trade routes and also land customs were present here in 17th century. Significance of the city continued as the well-known production centers of its time could not compete with Tokat’s high quality textile, copper and leather production. 

 

17th century – Tokat was the city who was praised many times by the well-known travelers of its time such as Evliya Celebi. And also, in this century many outstanding structures were built in Tokat besides the biggest City Han (caravanserai) of Anatolia.

 

18th century – Despite a decline in Tokat’s trade life due to the customs being moved to Samsun, the city was still capable of exporting a massive amount of cotton fabric and silk yarn to Crimea, South Russia and Caucasia between the years 1754 and 1758.

 

19th and 20th century – Tokat is an exhausted city and is running out of breath. 

 

 

Now let’s read what the travelers and wise men said about Tokat after visiting the city: 

 

Montesguieu, Persian Letters, Letter 19: Between Tokat and Izmir we did not see a single place that worth to mention.

 

Donald Quataert: “Manchester of Asia Minor”.

 

Evliya Celebi: “The bazaars and agoras of the city are so beautiful, magnificent and in such a good order that they can easily compete with their kinds in Bursa and Aleppo.”

 

Joseph de Tornefort: Tokat City is way too bigger and more attractive than Erzurum. The houses most of which are two-storied are all fine constructed. The city does not only cover the land between the two hills but also it lays on the amphitheater shaped cliffs of the same hills. It is so nice that there is no other city on earth with such a special location. And also it is so intimidating that they have not left the two very steep marble rocks intact and they built a castle on top of each. The streets of Tokat have good sidewalks which is quite rare in the east. I guess the wealthy people had to construct sidewalks in order to stop the water from flooding into their basements during the storms. People of Tokat also have small water channels in the streets for the fthe water to flow. There are so many water sources up on the hills where the city is located that each house has its own fountain.

Professor Suheyl Unver, one of the most distinguished professors of 20th century states the following in his Tokat Report. 

 

Let me tell you about my impressions of the antiques that I saw in Tokat after wandering all around the city in detail. Believe me there are so many artifacts in Tokat that are so special that you don’t even see such items neither in Istanbul, Konya, Bursa nor Edirne. I am amazed with Tokat City which is the home of many wise elder people such as İbn-i Kemal, Molla Hüsrev, Molla Lütfi, Plevne War Hero Osman Pasha and Sheikh Emin Efendi. An amazing city in Anatolia with the outmost monuments. Here in Tokat it is like Selcuklu Kingdom and Ottoman Empire had a competition in terms of special artifacts and yes one of them is the winner by a small margin but i couldn’t figure out who won. To be honest with you all these artifacts are between 300 to 800 years old and each every one of them is a Saint of Tokat. So many years they have nationalized Tokat and touched our souls.

 

Sulu Sokak (the Watery Street), that has been the historical center of the city since Danismend Dynasty, has not been under the risk of new construction sites and therefore it was well preserved. And all through the years it is a unique place that reflects the traditional urbanism of Tokat and Anatolia.

 

All these lesser known distinguished entities are waiting for you to discover them.

 

 

With the auspicious and fruitful prayers of Haci Bektas-i Veli, this old and historical city is the land of virtues and the home of many scholars and poets.

 

Tokat was an important city before the arrival of Turks to Anatolia as well. 

 

Niksar, one of the Turkish Capital Cities, Erbaa with its 6000 years old Horoztepe Tumulus and with its cultural and natural diversity, Resadiye with its hot springs, Almus, a beautiful lake and Basciftlik centre of population are only a few of the remarkable places in Tokat.

 

Tokat was the only city that Timur, the King of Timurid Empire, could not occupy during the invasion of Anatolia. Another interesting fact about the city is that the prince of Moldavia and Wallachia who is also known as Vlad the Impaler or Dracula was imprisoned in the dungeons of Tokat Castle. Only these two historical facts by themselves can easily emphasize the colorful history of Tokat.

 

Besides so many places mentioned above, Tokat still has lots more to see, such as Sulu Sokak (Watery Street), Halit Street, Mesnevihane (a school and a ceremonial place where the philosophy of Mevlana is taught) and historical mansions of Tokat. And speaking of that one of the best Mesnevihanes of Anatolia is in our city, Tokat.  

 

In addition to the above attractive features of Tokat, the archeological excavations in Komana Ancient Site is being carried on with great attention. Ancient city Komana which hosted many civilizations all through the history is considered to be the Second Troya of Turkey. The archeological site is only six kilometers away from city center and is open to visitors.

 

This is the geography where the briefest letter that the history ever seen was recorded. “Veni Vidi Vici” is what Ceaser said after conquering Zile Castle. 

 

Sebastapolis, located in Sulusaray, is another ancient site and is well known with its significance related to Byzantine and Roman Era. In addition to this, in Sulusaray, there are the hot springs and a hotel waiting for visitors.

 

World’s first watermill with a vertical shaft is in Niksar which underlines the commercial significance of Niksar.

 

Niksar is also well known with its scenic Camici Plain. In this natural wonder there is a camping area for caravans and campers welcoming many visitors. Photography Contests are also being held here.

 

Another interesting structure in Tokat is Silahtar Omer Pasha Mosque. During the construction of the mosque nails were not used and instead, an old technique of matching the pieces tightly was applied to the structure.

 

 

When visiting Tokat one of the places that we cannot afford to miss is Ballica Cave. The cave consists of eight amazing saloons and is one of the most spectacular caves in the world with a depth of 75 meters under the ground and with a length of 680 meters.



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