Giresun is the provincial capital of Giresun Province in the Black Sea Region of northeastern Turkey, about 110 miles (175 km) west of the city of Trabzon.
Giresun was known to the ancient Greeks as Choerades or Pharnacia and later as Kerasous or Cerasus, < Kerason < Kerasounta < Kerasus "horn" (for peninsula) in Greek + ounta "Greek toponomical suffix". The name later mutated into Kerasunt (sometimes written Kérasounde or Kerassunde).
The English word cherry, French cerise, Spanish cereza, and Southern Italian dialect cerasa (standard Italian ciliegia) all come from Classical Greek κέρασος 'cherry', which has been identified with Cerasus. The cherry was first exported to Europe from Cerasus in Roman times.
The surrounding region has a rich agriculture, growing most of Turkey's hazelnuts as well as walnuts, cherries, leather and timber, and the port of Giresun has long handled these products. The harbour was enlarged in the 1960s and the town is still a port and commercial centre for the surrounding districts, but Giresun is not large, basically one avenue of shops leading away from the port.
There is a beach, plenty of bars and in general a more relaxed attitude to alcohol (strictly beer and rakı) and dress code than in most places along the Black Sea coast, so at weekends you will find visitors from nearby Ordu and Trabzon in the the bars and nightclubs. The town has high schools and hospitals, and Giresun University was founded in 2006 although it will take time to become properly established.
The cuisine is typical Turkish dishes such as kebab, pilav and syrupy sweets. The local minced beef pide is very popular.
Like everywhere else on this Black Sea coast it rains in Giresun all the time and the surrounding countryside is lush green hillsides. As soon as you get beyond the city buildings you get into the hazelnut growing area and the high pastures (yayla) further in the mountains are gorgeous.
Aksu stream, GiresunGiresun's history goes back to the 2nd century BCE, when it was founded by Greek colonists from Sinope. The name of the city is first cited in the book Anabasis by Xenophon as Kerasus. Historic records reveal that the city was dominated by the Miletians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines and Empire of Trebizond. The older parts of the city lie on a peninsula crowned by a ruined Byzantine fortress, sheltering the small natural harbour. Nearby is Giresun Island, in ancient times called Aretias, the only major Black Sea island in Turkish territory. According to legend, the island was sacred to the Amazons, who had dedicated a temple to the war god Ares here. Even today, fertility rites are performed here every May, now shrouded as a popular Muslim practice, but really a 4,000 year old celebration. During the medieval period Kerasunt was part of the Byzantine Empire and later the second city of the Empire of Trebizond. From 1244 onwards the Seljuk Turks moved into the area, pursued at times by the Mongol hordes until in 1461 the whole of this coast was brought within the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Mehmet II.
Places of interest
The well preserved Giresun Castle in the city centre.
Giresun Island - Turkey's only Black Sea island.