Legends of mythological island off Giresun’s Black Sea coast welcome tourists
GİRESUN – Anadolu Agency
Giresun Island, an archaeological and ecological island off the Black Sea coast, takes its visitors to a journey in time with theater shows in the summer months.
The island, where “Amazonian” women once lived, is mostly known for mythological stories like how Hercules came to the island to find golden fur.
On the island, Giresun Municipality City Theater actors depict Hercules and Amazonian women as well as the encounter of the Greek sailors Argonauts and Saka Turks.
The island, covering an area of 39,000 square meters, has historical ruins, such as a monastery building and wine barrels, and is home to about 30 species of birds. Tourists are told of these features of the island by guides during their travel.
Tourists on the island have the chance to see the nests of cormorants, black cormorants, freckled cormorants, silver gulls and small silver gulls.
The island has been nominated by local officials to register it as a UNESCO World Heritage site. As part of the nomination, the Giresun Governor’s Office and the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism submitted a report to UNESCO outlining the island’s ecological, cultural and historical treasures.
Giresun tourism director Tamer Uzuner said the island has a history of 3,500 years.
Known as Aretias and Ares in history, Giresun Island is home to many mythological stories, said Uzuner, adding that it is also rich in terms of culture.
He said that the best-known among them is that the Amazonian women used the island as their base, adding: “Using the island as a base, they protected the surrounding areas, the sea voyages and the dangers coming from the sea.”
He said that during his travel to find the golden fur, Hercules also went to the island. “On the island, Hercules fights with birds that shoot arrows from their wing. The crested cormorants live on Giresun Island and the engravings of birds that shoot arrows from their wings are very similar to these crested cormorants.”
Stating that the Giresun Island is a tourism island, Uzuner said: “This is the only island in the eastern Black Sea region where people can live; there are historical ruins. Boat tours are organized to the island and these mythological legends also revive. The Giresun Municipality City Theater team performs for tourist groups on the island. The show on the island has a theatrical effect, which of course attracts tourists.”
The results of the archaeological excavations reveal that settlement on the island began in around 300 B.C., with the castle having functioned as a monastery during the Byzantine period in the Middle Ages.