Giresun is an agricultural region of great natural beauty, especially in the highlands. The lower areas near the Black Sea coast are Turkey’s largest producer of hazelnuts, indeed a Giresun folk song tells “I will not eat a single hazelnut, unless you are by my side” , while another tells of a lover shot dead under a hazelnut tree  The higher mountain areas are forest and pasture and in places there is mining of copper, zinc, iron and other metals. The mountain villages are remote, with poor roads and little else in the way of infrastructure. And the hillsides are too steep for agriculture also, so for example cornbread is the traditional meal, as they cannot grow wheat. Life here is hard and in the past many people have left to find jobs in Turkey’s larger cities or abroad.
The climate is typical of this stretch of the Black Sea coast i.e. very wet. Local flora includes bilberries (Turkish “taflan”).
Giresun province is divided into 16 districts (capital district in bold):
Places of interest
Kümbet, Karagöl and Bektaş – areas of attractive mountain pasture in the district of Dereli, where people can enjoy walks and picnics. Annual folklore festivals are held here in summer.
* Topal Osman – (1883, Giresun – 2 Nisan 1923, Ankara), soldier and commander in the Turkish War of Independence
* Mustafa Suphi – (1883, Giresun – 1921) founder of the Communist Party of Turkey
* Hasan Âli Yücel (1897, İstanbul – 1961) poet, thinker and politician, former minister of education, born to a Görele family.
* İdris Küçükömer (1925, Giresun – 1987) economist and thinker
* Rahşan Ecevit (1923, Bursa – ) wife of former Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, born to a Şebinkarahisar family
* Naim Tirali (1925, Giresun – ), journalist and politician
* Hayrettin Erkmen (b Tirebolu – ) former foreign minister,
* Harun Karadeniz (1942, Alucra-1975) writer and student activist leader of the 1968 generation
Writers and artists
* Ergin Günçe (1938, Giresun – 1983) poet
* Fethi Naci (1927, Giresun – ) writer and critic
* Aziz Nesin – (1915, Şebinkarahisar – 1995), writer and journalist
* Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu (1913, Görele – 1975, Istanbul), painter and poet
* Ahmet Yalçınkaya (b 1963, Giresun ) poet,
* Hamit Görele (1903, Görele – 1980, Istanbul), painter
* Yaman Okay (b 1951, Giresun -), actor and film director
* İlyas İlbey actor, husband of Yasemin Yalçın
* İlker Yasin Kanal Ds football commentator
* Hulki Cevizoğlu (b 1958, Giresun – ), journalist, TV presenter and producer, specialises in political debate
* Kadir Çelik (b Görele )TV producer and presenter,
* Şafak Karaman (b 1967, Trabzon – ) minor celebrity and TV presenter, born to a Tirebolu family
* Öztürk Serengil well-known film actor, father of Seren Serengil, grew up in Giresun
* Salih Memecan (1952, Giresun – ), cartoonist of Sabah (newspaper).
Giresun shares the folk music of the Black Sea region and is the birthplace of:
* Katip Şadi (b 1932, Görele -) folk musician, player of the Kemençe, a local version of the violin.
Other musicians include:
* Teoman (1967, Alucra – ), rock singer
* Ozan Arif (1949, Alucra – ), poet, lyricist, balladeer of the extreme right MHP.
* Bahadır Aydoğan Arabesk style singer
* Mustafa Küçük folk-arabesk musician
* Gökhan Semiz(1968, Istanbul- 1998 İstanbul) member of the pop music group Group Vitamin, family from Giresun
* Şenes Erzik (1942, Giresun -) Businessman and vice president of UEFA
* Footballers Tolga Seyhan (b 1977 -) and Gokdeniz Karadeniz (b 1980 Giresun, currently with Trabzonspor)
* Hasan Gemici – 1952 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling
Giresunspor are a minor league football team.
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.
Giresun’s history goes back to the 2nd century BCE, when it was founded by Greek colonists from Sinope. 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.
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