The surroundings of Tokat include the tiny village of Akça and the small town of Pazar.
Silahter Omer Pasa Camii, Akca, Turkey
10km/7mi to the west of the regional center of Erbaa, close to the border of the neighboring Amasya province and about 70km/43mi north of Tokat lies the tiny village of Akça and its mosque (Silahter ämer Pasa Camii). The interior of this 18th century mosque has been beautifully painted. Some 15km/9mi northwest of the town near the village of Kale, the remains of a castle with some interesting underground passages can be found. The site was formerly known as Magnopolis (Eupatoria).The Pontic fortress of Kainokhorion (also Mahalic Kalesi) lies some 35km/22mi north of Erbaa near the village of Ahretköy but it can only reached along some poor roads. It was here that Mithradetes VI Eupator sought protection in 70 B.C. The most interesting sight in the Erbaa region is without doubt Horoztepe, a short distance to the south. Valuable finds from the Hittite era have been unearthed here including cult rattles, banners and mother figures. These are now displayed in an Ankara Museum.
20km/12mi south of Tokat in the village of Alan stands a caravanserai (1239) endowed by Mahperi Hatun, the mother of Kaichosrev II.
The modern regional center of Almus lies 36km/22mi east of Tokat beside the Almus dam, which forms a barrier across the Yesilirmak. The medieval castle of Akinci Kalesi can be found to the northeast near the village of Akarcay ("White Castle").
Several older caravanserais lie beyond the Kizilnis Geçidi (1,750m/5,740ft) and can be found near the village of Camlibel in the Cekerek valley 60km/37mi south of Tokat. They form part of a series of caravanserais which were built ca. 1238 on the trade route from Sivas to Amasya.
Dazya Hani at the southern edge of the Galut valley east of Turhal was built in 1238/39 by Kaichosrev II. The remains can be found near the village mosque.
Gümenek (Commana Pontica)
10km/7mi northeast of Tokat the scanty remains of Tokat's predecessor, Commana Pontica are visible. Excavated finds are housed in Tokat's Museum. On one hill lie the relics of a Pontic Ma-Artemis temple. The town was the center of a cult which revered the "Great Anatolian Earth-mother" (Cybele), who was known here as Ma. The senior priests ruled like princes, organizing orgiastic feasts, fairs and temple prostitution, but with the spread of Christianity the appeal of this type of worship waned. The inhabitants moved away to settle in Dazimon (Tokat) and Commana Pontica started to decay. All that remains is a tiny village whose name is a distortion of the earlier settlement (Gümenek). Nearby a Seljuk bridge dating from 1250 crosses the Yesilirmak. It is said that it took only two days to build.
On a steep hill near the village of Keslik about 9km/5mi south of Tokat the remains of a medieval citadel can be seen. It has been identified as Dadasa, one of the fortresses built to defend the Pontic Empire. Two rock tombs and a rock tunnel have been preserved.
Niksar, a regional center, lies 57km/35mi northeast of Tokat on the slopes above the Niksar valley. In Roman times it was known as Neocaesarea and also as the Pontic kings' famous fortress Cabeira. Mithradates VI Eupator had a hunting lodge here. The Byzantines and Ottomans transformed the castle into its present structure. The remains stand above the lively old town on a rocky ledge. The castle complex consists of a medrese (1158) and a türbe. The single story medrese with a self-contained hall was badly damaged in the earthquakes of 1939 and 1942. It was in Niksar in 71 B.C. that Lucullus won an important victory over the Pontic rulers. Seven years later the fortress fell to Pompey.The town's prosperity returned after 1071 when the Danishmends established their court here. The founder of the dynasty Melik Gazi is buried in the town. In the district of Bengiler stands a mausoleum with the remains of Bedrettin Sah, one of Kiliç Arslan II's generals.Another interesting collection of tombstones contains that of a woman named Külah (1220), the Kirk Kizlar Türbesi with arabesque decorations and the Seljuk Akyapi Kümbeti which lies alongside the Melik Gazi Türbesi and dates from the 13th century Another Seljuk caravanserai (1224) can be found in the town. Niksar was the birthplace of Gregorius Thaumaturgos (212). To the church fathers he was known as Pontic Gregorius and became the first bishop of Neocaesarea. In Christian times the town was designated as a metropolis and in 314 it was the venue for a Christian Council.Some 2km/1.75mi outside Niksar lie the Ayvas mineral water springs. The waters from this source are well known throughout Turkey and are said to be effective against kidney-, bladder- and gall-stones, arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.
There are three interesting buildings in the small town of Pazar which is situated about 30km/19mi west of Tokat: the Mahperi Hatun Hani, its adjoining bridge over the Yesilirmak at the eastern entrance to the town and a mosque.
Resadiye Çermik (Kaplicasi)
The thermal baths of Çermik (50°C/122°F) are situated about 90km/56mi northeast of Tokat and the water is used in the treatment of rheumatism and skin complaints. A little further up and to the west in a wooded depression lies Zimav Gölü (Zünnav Gölü), a lake with a plentiful supply of fish.
Sulusaray (Sebastopolis), Turkey
The residents of Sulusaray (Water Castle) a tiny village on the Cekerek Irmagi, some 70km/43mi southwest of Tokat, live on top of the remains of the ancient settlement of Sebastopolis. There is scarcely a building in the place which does not contain some stonework salvaged from the ruins. It is intended to re-settle the population on a new site so that the excavations which were started in 1987 can be completed in full. The finds show that the town was important from Hellenistic through to Byzantine times. Those excavations that have already taken place give a good overview of the town. It was encircled by a 17m/55ft high wall with semi-circular towers. In the northeast the remains of an ancient temple are visible. The floor is covered with multicolored marble tiles and its semi-circular east apse indicates that it later became a church. In the east the remains of a bathing complex with a stone basin and supporting pillars have been discovered. The water for the baths was channeled here from the sulfurous thermal spring about 3km/2mi to the southwest. Some of the most interesting finds including lion statues, fragments of pillars and friezes, stelae with inscriptions and epitaphs are on display in an open-air museum.
On a rock above the regional center of Turhal 45km/28mi west of Tokat, stands the town's old fortress, which like other castles in the region were constructed to defend the Pontic kingdom. It was altered in 1068 and again in Ottoman times. Other interesting buildings in the town include the Ulu Cami (1453), the Kesikbas Cami near the Yesilirmak bridge, the Mehmet Dede Türbesi (1312) and the Ahi Yusuf Türbesi (1324).
Yalinyazi (Masat Huyuk), Turkey
The settlement hill of Masat Hüyük rises above the western side of Yalinyazi, a village some 30km/19mi to the south of Zile. A Hittite prince built a palace here on a natural chalk crag. The remains of the town's brick wall and pithoi (storage jars) are still visible. Ask at the village police station for further information. At that time the town was an important frontier post against the Kashkas, marauding semi- nomads from Pontus who sometimes launched raids into Anatolia. Excavations in 1943 and 1973 unearthed some interesting clay tablets which revealed correspondence with the capital Hattusas. It would seem that the palace complex set on a hill, partially flattened by manual labor, consisted of a courtyard enclosed by a colonnade of pillars. About 40 rooms were grouped around the courtyard within a space of about 8,000sq.m/9,520sq.yd. From the three settlement levels within the site, archeologists have deduced that the palace was burnt to the ground after an attack by Kashkas ca. 1400 B.C. It was subsequently rebuilt and then destroyed again ca. 1300 and was laid waste again at the end of the 13th century In the sixth century the place was finally abandoned. The village of Masat is a gem in itself - a village typical of north-central Anatolia with half-timbered houses in an almost urban style.
Zile was an important frontier defense against the semi-nomadic Kashkas and owes its name to the Hittites. It achieved fame in 47 B.C. after the battle between Caesar and the Pontic king Pharnakes who had been installed as provincial governor of Pontus but soon rebelled against Roman rule. The battle raged for only five hours and Caesar quickly prevailed. His brief but now famous report to the Senate when he returned to Rome reflected the short time it had taken to see off his opponent: "Veni, vidi, vici!" ("I came, I saw, I conquered"). Zile is also well known for its handsome Pontic-style town houses. A number of historic buildings in the town are worth viewing. The remains of a Roman theater are visible to the east of the citadel hill, together with some rock tombs. Two Ottoman baths, the Yeni Hamam and the Çifte Hamam, date from the 16th and 17th century and the Hasan Aga Medresesi was built in 1497. The Boyaci Hasan Aga Camii with its stalactiform prayer niche dates from 1479 and the Seyh Musa Fakih Türbesi is also very old - with 1106 or 1305 given as possible dates.