Zonguldak Tourist Attractions
Western Black Sea regionSituationThe Zonguldak mountains 800m/2,620ft high and 50km/32mi long are situated to the northeast of the lower Pontic mountains of Bolu and Akçakoca and extend along the coast from the mouth of the ancient Filyos (Yenice Irmagi). Seams of coal rise to the surface and an important coal-mining industry has grown up in the deep mountain valleys.
The absence of work-place safety regulations means that Zonguldak mine counts as one of the most dangerous mines in the world. The last serious mining disaster occurred in March 1992.Until 1850 Zonguldak was a small village but the coal fields, the steelworks in neighboring Karabük (with a rail link for transporting coal) and Karadeniz Ereglisi and the resulting expansion of the original 1899 harbor have transformed the place into the second-largest town on the Black Sea coast. Nestling in the steep wooded areas to the west and east of the town are the mining communities of Kozlu, Kilimli and Catalagzi. The name Zonguldak derives from "zongalik" meaning reeded marshland. The small port of Sandaraca stood here in antiquity. In the Hittite times it was known as Palla.The coastal region to the east of Zonguldak beyond the Yenice Irmagi offers fine sandy beaches with Karpuz and Inkum (Inkumu) 70km/43mi to the east worth a special mention. Other excellent beaches can be found near Kuzlu (e.g. Iliksu) 18km/11mi west of the town.
This coastal resort with an old town is located in a picturesque spot on a peninsula 60km/37mi northeast of Zonguldak. Established in the sixth century B.C. by Milesian colonists during the third century B.C. renamed Amastris after a niece of Darius III of Persia. She became the regent of Herakleia Pontike (Karadeniz Ereglisi) upon her marriage to Lysimachos the king of Thrace. It is said that she planned to lay out hanging gardens here like those of Semiramis in Babylon.After its destruction, it was rebuilt by the Byzantines, but in the 14th century it fell to Genoese trading companies who extended the citadel. Mehmet II (the Conqueror) acquired Amastris for the Ottomans in 1485. A local museum displays finds of historical interest.The town is a popular seaside resort for nearby city dwellers and the preferred home of wealthy families connected with the Zonguldak mining industry. More recently the steelworks has also grown in importance. Little remains of the old town apart from the ruins of a Roman theater and baths. A castle on a narrow strip of land protected the old town and peninsula, which is still linked to an offshore island by a Roman bridge and an ancient tunnel. Within the fortress site near the West Gate stands the Kilise Mescidi, a small church mosque which served as the chapel for the castle commander. Parts of an ancient cemetery extend above the western beaches (Büyük Liman; 500m/550yds) and below what was once the acropolis.In some fields about 2km/1.25mi inland stands a well-preserved Roman store-house over 100m/110yds long.
The busy administrative town of Bartin on the Kocagrmak 70km/43mi east of Zonguldak is the former Parthenios. Traditional wooden houses help to give the town a pleasant atmosphere.To the northwest near the towns of Inkum, Mugadar and Güzelcihisar (Hisar), other attractive beaches can be found but unfortunately some are not easy to reach.
The longest caves in Turkey are situated just a few kilometers to the southwest of Çatalagazi, a small coastal town about 20km/12mi east of Trabzon. The entrance, Kizilelma Magarasi, can be found by the border with the neighboring district of Gelik, while the northern exit 10km/6mi to the north is known as Cumayani-Magarasi. Because of the long underground siphon within the watercourse, it is not possible to pass through the cave network from one end to the other.Near the exit the cave opens out into a large cavern with travertine terraces and basins similar to those at Pamukkale. The cavern is open to the public.
The village of Çaygr lies 10km/6mi past the village of Güdüllü on the road from Çaycuma to Zonguldak. The 1km/0.5mi long Çaygrköy Magarasi can be found close to the village. The cave was surveyed by a Swedish explorer in 1951.
Situated around 50km/30mi to the southwest of Zonguldak, at first sight there seems to be little of interest for visitors to the coal port and industrial town of Ereglisi (formerly Herakleia Pontike) with steelworks and coalfields to the south and dominated by a ruined Genoese fortress. The old town nestling below, however, has much to commend it.Ca. 558 B.C. the town was founded by colonists from Megara. For a short time it came under Lysimachos and then became a part of the Pontic Empire. The Romans destroyed the town in the war with Mithradates as the townsfolk took sides against the Roman army. It was rebuilt as a Roman garrison. Until 1922 Karandeniz was almost entirely Greek. Few ancient remains can be seen today.
The Caves of Hercules
The Caves of Hercules lie northwest of Eregli in the valley of ancient Acheron about 100m/110yds upstream. According to Xenophon in his "Anabasis", it was here that Hercules, hero and demigod, descended into the underworld and brought out Cerberus the three-headed dog which guarded the entrance to Hades.Plundered ancient stones can be seen at the entrance to the cave. The valley which leads to the mouth of the cave is known in local parlance as the "Valley of the Infidels". This description harks back to Byzantine times when a Christian resurrection cult used the caves and a floor mosaic in the first cave provides some evidence of their existence. The actual entrance to the underworld was believed to be in the second cave as a narrow staircase leads down from there into a dark chamber 50m/55yds wide. There is an underwater lake and also traces of painting and other workings.
A 1km/0.5mi long cave known as Gökgöl Magarasi can be found near the mining town of Üzülmez just a few kilometers southeast of Zonguldak. An underground river flows through the cave.Due to sudden flooding the time to see the cave is limited to the summer and fall seasons.