The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #4 July / August 2013
Where Are You?
by Sonja Krüger
July / August 2013 | 

This month's city dates its foundation back to around 700 BC, when a settlement was formed on a table of land above a harbor. It was under Persian rule for 400 years, until a "great" leader invaded and brought it into his immense empire. Almost fifty-five years later, an independent state was established in the region, and this city served as its harbor port, supplying it with timber and products of its mines and shipyards.

When the Roman Empire was split into two parts, this city fell under the domain of Rome with the Eastern Black Sea region. By the second half of the first century, it had gained importance and started developing quickly. Commercial opportunities were created, and roads connecting Persia to upper Mesopotamia were built. Then it became a Roman state under a new ruler, and later, a new harbor was built, along with a theater, hippodrome, inner fortress, and aqueducts.

All of this lasted only until Goths invaded and looted the city in the middle of the third century. The city was reconstructed, but failed to regain its old beauty. However, it did become a major religious center during the expansion of Christianity (seems like all cities did). Many churches and monasteries were built here, but Muslem Arab armies started attacking the region at the start of the eighth century, and the effects were extensive. The Christian governors of the city tried to protect their independence, but were not successful. When a new fortress was built at the end of the eleventh century, the city was transformed into an important military base. It was fought over constantly from that point on, and changed emperor many times.

By the second half of the thirteenth century, the city was a vital harbor on the trading routes, even as it continued to swap conquerors. In the middle of the fifteenth century, it became an important center on the Black Sea coastal strip, and a soon-to-be sultan became its governor. During World War I, the city was invaded by the Russians, but was returned to its country under an agreement at the end of the war.

Today, the city remains a fantastic historical site. It has a thirteenth century church, which has been restored as a museum. To the east is a fascinating nineteenth century mansion, and to the south are several excellent hiking and picnicking areas. It contains the largest tunnel of its country, and a fantastic national park that contains a fourteenth century monastery, which attracts thousands of foreign visitors every year.

Can you name this city and country?

Last month's answer: Lisbon, Portugal

Where Are You?
Writer: Sonja Krüger

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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