Giresun / History

The earliest historical information about the Eastern Black Sea and Giresun is found in the works of Greek geographers and travelers. In these works, we observe that the people who lived in this area were the Kolhs, Drills, Mossinoiks, Halibs, Tibarens, Gaskas, Scythians, Kimmers, Amazonians,  Huns, Kumans, Patzinaks, Akhuns,  Sabirs, Khazars, Bulgarian Turks, and Oghuz Turks.

The Hitits who established a state in Anatolia around 1800’s A.D., couldn’t capture the sea shores of the Black Sea.  Gashqars lived in this area during this period who were a tribe which couldn’t be specified exactly.  Apart from Gashqars, we see Kimmers in the region. Kimmers of Central Asian origin, settled down in the Northern Black Sea  and in between the North of The Caspian Sea and Danube River between  the beginnings of 2000 B.C. and 8th century B.C.

In the first half of  7th Century B.C. , Anatolia was exposed to raids coming from the Northern Black Sea. When the Scythians coming from the Central Asia captured the territories where the Kimmers lived, the Kimmers left the area and moved to the South and entered Anatolia passing through  Caucasus. The Kimmer warriors arrived at the shores of Kızılırmak in the first half of 7th century B.C. and fought with Firiks.

According to Hasan Tahsin Okutan, a researcher and writer from Şebinkarahisar, works belonging to the Kimmers are encountered in Şebinkarahisar. According to Okutan, the Karahisar town was located in today’s Isola village at the age of Hittites, Amazonians and Kimmers as well. During the consecutive starvation and famine of 7 years some of the residents of this town, governed with feudalism, left their living area and immigrated while others took refuge on Karagöl Mountain’s Kırklar cap 3040 meter high, located between Ordu and Şebinkarahisar and spend those famine years there.

It is still assumed that the caves and inns in the sites of Bozbayır, Akaya, Güneytepesi and Dişkaya of Şebinkarahisar belong to the Kimmers.

After kimmers, Scythians’ dominance is observed in the region. In 6th century B.C , Scythians spread to the entire small Asia by dismissing the Kimmers  and ending the Meds’ dominance in the Eastern Anatolia. We also know that  even in the beginning of the 4th century B.C., Scythians were dominant in Eastern Anatolia.

The female warrior tribe called as Amazons are mentioned both as Kimmers’ female group and also of Scythian origin.  According to Armenian writer Minas Bijişkyan from Trabzon, Amazons were brave, combatant women and according to what the old historiographers say, by establishing a free State near Terme they  possessed the Black Sea shores as far as Farnia (Poti). They were of Scythian origin and came from two kings in exile in Terme called İğin and Skologit, and their numbers grew over time.  According to the Greek mythology the Greeks who left Terme came to the Aretias Island located infront of Giresun. They met here three Amazon tribes under the command of Queen Antiege. In the end of the struggles with them, they took the Amzons they caught with them and took sail. It is stated in the Herodotus history that the Amazon women socialized and lived together with the Scythian youngsters.

In the 6th century B.C. the Hittites called the whereabouts of Giresun the Azzi land.  Azzis lived here. This area is named Pontus in the old Greek sources and monitored as the residential area of the Khalibs, Tibarens and Mosineks.

In 670 B.C. the Milatos’ coming from the Aegean shores owned significant trade centers stretching from Sinop up to Trabzon (670 – 546 B.C.). They established about 90 cities in the area. One of those were Kerasus.  It is believed that Kerasus was located where now Giresun  or Çıtlakkale is. Some allocation units developed rapidly and came to be centers of trade and fishing.  Giresun and Tirebolu are two of those. Milatos’ who settled around Giresun and whereabouts socialized with the local Tibarels, Mosineks and Halips.

During the Persian Empire period 546 – 332 B.C., Giresun was captured by the Persian Emperor Dareios. 332 -323 B.C. the Persian Empire was  ultimately defeated and scattered by Alexander. Meanwhile the Cappadocia Kingdom was born and Giresun remained within the territory of the Cappadocia Kingdom. (323 – 301 B.C.) the Macedonians ruled the region after the death of Alexander. During the Pontus era 301 – 66 B.C. Giresun remained under the dominance of Pontus.

Kerasus is called Farnakeia in the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. The reason for this is the falling of Kerasus under the hands of the Pontus King Farnakes the 1st. Kerasus took the name Kerasunda when it fell under the rule of the Romans.

The city lived its brightest era with Mithridates IV who put the Roman Senate in a hole. The borders of the state extended up to Greece during the Mithrades era. Rome was restless. The Roman army sent under the command of General Lucullus conquered the territories of the kingdom (76 B.C.). While returning to Rome Lucullus took with him cherry saplings widespread in the area, yet not beknown yet to the west.

With the return of General Lucullus the territories lost were recaptured. The Senate commissioned General Pompeius this time.  Anatolia was joint to Rome. While Pompeius was in Palestine, Pharnaces II managed to recapture some of the territories. After Pompeius returned to Rome, they proceeded up to Cappadocia. During that time Cesar was in Egypt. He entered Anatolia to end the Pontus invasion. Cesar united the Pontus and Bithinia kingdoms and joint them to the Rome as a state. After the death of Cesar the Pontus state divided into three regions. Pharnacia remained in the Pont Polemonyak land.

With the dimidiation of the Roman Empire in 395, Giresun remained within the territories of the East Roman Empire. İstanbul was conquered by Latins in 1204. East Roman Emperor Alesios Kommenos who fled to Trabzon established a new Rum Empire. Giresun also went under the reign of the Rum Empire.

Ordu’s Emir Hacı Emir Bey marched with its forces till Maçka in 1358 and launched an expedition to Giresun in 1361. Süleyman Bey, who took the place of his father Hacı Emir Bey after his death, conquered Giresun in 1397.

During the reign of Ottoman Sultan Yıldırım Beyazıt, unity of Turks in Anatolia was established and Süleyman Bey also participated in this unity. Giresun became a part of the Ottoman State in 1398. After the invasion of Anatolia by Timur in 1402, the Trebizon Roman Empire regained Giresun in 1404. 

After the conquest of İstanbul by the Ottoman Sultan Fatih Mehmet Han, Trebizon Roman Empire came to an end in 1461. Thus, Giresun became completely tied to the Ottoman Empire.


During the Imperial era, Trebizon was the centre of province and Giresun was tied to Trebizon. After the declaration of Ottoman Sultan’s Decree for Reform, Giresun was tied to Şebinkarahisar administratively. Afterwards, it turned into a lieutenant governor in 1920 while it was tied to Trebizon as a district and became a city with the proclamation of Republic.

Giresun is a coastal province in the Black Sea Region; bordered by Trebizon and Gümüşhane in the east; Ordu in the west; Erzincan in the south; Sivas in the southwest and Black Sea in the north.

Historical periods experienced by Giresun until now are as follows: Giresun has been established as a colony state in B.C VIII. Giresun fell under the domination of Pontos in 183 B.C. The city was refounded by Pontus King Phamakes in the current site of the Castle and its surroundings. The name of the city was changed as  Pharnakia.

The city fell under the domination of the Roman Empire in 63 B.C. and was tied to Trebizon Roman Empire in 1204.

With the conquest of Trebizon in 1461 by Ottoman Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the city became a territory of the Ottoman Empire.

It became a city in 1923 after the proclamation of the Republic. According to the data of 2002, Giresun has 16 districts including the city centre, 17 towns and 536 villages.

The Roots of Giresun’s Name

Giresun is the homeland of cherry and the city took its name from the words Kerasus and Keresea which meant cherry at older periods.