The City of Princes
Amasya is a beautiful town with ancient origins, straddling the banks of the Yeşilırmak river in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
Set within a natural amphitheatre, the town has made great use of its natural advantages, built between imposing cliff faces that bear the markings of its Hittite, Greek and Ottoman heritage.
Continually occupied for over 7500 years, Amasya is rich in history and tradition. You can still can a sense of what life must have been like hundreds of years ago as you gaze down from 2500 year old tombs built by the Pontic Kings over well-preserved Ottoman mansions along the banks of its green river
Amasya has long been known as The City of Princes. In the early Ottoman era, the sons of the ruling elite were sent here to receive their education.
In the mid 14th century, Sultana Uduz Hatun (wife of Sultan Mehmet Olcaytu) built a mental asylum and hospital here dedicated to sound healing. The hospital employed a progressive approach to the management of mental illness, exploring the impact that sound can have on psychological wellbeing
Patients were treated using classical Ottoman music linked to their astrological signs. Whilst we know nothing of its effectiveness, the hospital was a shining example of philanthropy and innovation, and became a centre of learning for many Islamic physicians through the Middle Ages
The most well known of these was a physician named Serefeddin Sabuncuolglu.
The Saboncuoglu History of Medicine Museum
Sabuncuoglu made major advances in the development of surgery. He was one of the first physicians prepared to intervene in human suffering through surgical intervention and added invaluable evidence to the developing knowledge of human physiology.
Sabuncuoglu wrote a number of extremely important medical texts, documenting the surgical and herbal knowledge of his day.
Today what remains is a museum dedicated to Sabuncuoglu’s contribution to Islamic medicine. You will see many examples of fairly gruesome surgical techniques on display, and have the chance to imagine how the facility might have worked in its day.
Most importantly, the museum is an extremely important resource for anyone interested in the history of pharmacology and integrative medicine. It provides a window on the knowledge contained within ancient cultures, and offers a repository of knowledge that could prove extremely beneficial to our understanding of nature’s pharmacopoeia
A Herbal Treasure Trove
There is an amazing collection of herbal remedies and medicinal garden which is a useful reference point for anyone interested in the history of natural medicines. Over 50 plant species are grown here, and there medicinal uses described in limited detail.
For those of us who love astrology, there is also some fascinating information available linking the twelve Zodiac Signs with the structures of classical Turkish music. Whilst the descriptions of each sign are basic the links between planetary patterns, music and mental health are worth consideration
It is easy to dismiss these ideas as primitive when compared to the scientific methods available to us today. But this serves only to negate the idea that other cultures have as much relevance as our own. A far more productive attitude would be to entertain the idea that perhaps there is more to learn
Let’s be open to the idea that ancient cultures knew some things that we don’t today. It is essential that we don’t dismiss the worldview of historical cultures simply because we do not understand the premises upon which their conclusions were made.
Why come here?
Amasya is a very romantic town, filled with unique examples of Ottoman heritage
It’s an opportunity to escape the bustle of many other Turkish towns and get a sense of perspective on Turkey’s impressive history – away from the tourist hordes.
Amasya is a unique and well-preserved hidden gem in Central Anatolia.
The best way to get here is to fly to the nearby airport of Merzifon, then take a charter bus into downtown Amasya (approx 65kms). Bus from Samsun is also available (about 2.5 hours)
Most of the attractions can be reached on foot, and if you decide to hire a car there is a lot more to see in the surrounding area
There are many accomodation options to choose from, including several restored Ottoman villas. We stayed at here, right on the banks of the river and next to to the seriously impressive Sultan Beyazid II mosque. If the thought of an early morning call to prayer bothers you then you might choose a spot on the opposite side of the river, away from the central bustle
Come to Amasya for kits amazing beauty, if you love Ottoman architecture or if you want are open to the idea that there is more to discover about life, nature and the cosmos, especially when we look to clues left in the past
Stars-Travel Rating – 8 /10
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I’m a professional astrologer, coach, and Ayurvedic consultant, originally from Australia but now travelling the world. At Stars Like You, the focus is on happiness. We publish great astrology articles, as well as well-researched pieces on nutrition, wellness and Ayurveda drawn from years of clinical experience.