Şebinkarahisar is a town in and the administrative seat for Şebinkarahisar District, Giresun Province in the Black Sea region of northeastern Turkey.

Coordinates: 40°17′19″N 38°25′24″E
Country Turkey
  MayorŞahin Yılancı (AKP)
  KaymakamBilal Bozdemir
  District1,381.80 km2 (533.52 sq mi)
  District density16/km2 (42/sq mi)


The 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius writes that the Roman general Pompey captured the then ancient fortress and renamed it Colonia, in Greek Koloneia (Κολώνεια).[3] A Greek inscription of the ninth or tenth century found in the fortress securely identifies Şebinkarahisar with Koloneia. Curiously, the Seljuk historian Ibn Bibi and 14th-century coins minted by the Eretnids record an Armenian variation of the name, Koğoniya.[4]

In the 11th century, a second name becomes associated with the place: the town retains the name Koloneia but the fortress above is called Mavrokastron, Greek for "Black Fortress". The Turkish toponym Karahisar (Greek: Γαράσαρη, actual Turkish name of the district: Gareysar), appearing first in the 14th century, is a translation of Mavrokastron.[5] The town was later called Şapkarahisar ("Black Fortress of Alum") or Kara Hisar-ı Şarkî/Şarkî Kara Hisar ("Black Fortress of the East") to differentiate it from Afyonkarahisar farther to the west. The place has been known as Şebinkarahisar since the 19th century and both names were used. On 11 October 1924 Mustafa Kemal visited this town and proposed to be used the name Şebin Karahisar. The geographical historian Ramsay, indicated that the Armenians still call this city Nikopoli (Greek: Νικόπολη);,[6] so do the Pontic Greeks till nowadays. It should not be confused with the nearby Koyulhisar, where the ruins of ancient roman Nikopoli lie.[7]


The recorded history of Şebinkarahisar begins with the Third Mithridatic War. After the defeat of Mithridates VI, Pompey strengthened the town's fortifications and founded a Roman colony (colonia).

In the Byzantine period, the city was rebuilt by Justinian I (r. 527–565). In the 7th century, it became part of the Armeniac Theme, and later of Chaldia, before finally becoming the seat of a separate theme by 863. It was attacked by Arab raids in 778 and in 940.[8]

Şebinkarahisar fell to the Seljuk Turks soon after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. It remained in Turkish hands since, with the exception of a short-lived Byzantine recovery ca. 1106.[8] Through the following centuries, the fortress occupied a strategic position on the frontier between the Turkish-controlled interior and the Empire of Trebizond. The Danishmends held the fortress until the 1170s, when it passed into the hands of the Saltukids of Erzurum. In 1201/1202 the Mengujekids, vassals of the Seljuks of Rum, took over. Following the Mongol invasion of the mid-13th century, the fortress was under command of the Eretnids, who minted coins in the town. A succession of petty Turkmen warlords controlled the town until Uzun Hasan of the Ak Koyunlu took over in 1459, perhaps believing that the place constituted part of the dowry of his new Greek wife, the daughter of John IV of Trebizond.[9]

Mehmed II took the town for the Ottomans from Ak Koyunlu in 1461,[10] and consolidated his rule over the area in 1473 following his defeat of Uzun Hasan at the Battle of Otluk Beli. From Şebinkarahisar he sent a series of letters announcing his victory, including an unusual missive in the Uyghur language addressed to the Turkmen of Anatolia.[11] A careful survey of the fortifications above the town has revealed that the Ottomans invested heavily in repairs to the original Late Antique-Byzantine-Seljuk walls and, in addition, constructed an impressive “citadel complex” at the summit.[12] It became a sanjak centre as "Karahisar-I Şarki", initially in Rum Eyalet (1473-1514 and again 1520-1555), Bayburt Eyalet (1514-1516), Diyarbekir Eyalet (1516-1520), Erzurum Eyalet (1555-1805), Trabzon Eyalet (1805-1865) and Sivas Vilayet (1865-1923).

According to the Ottoman General Census of 1881/82-1893, the kaza of Şebinkarahisar (Karahisar-i Şarki) had a total population of 35.051, consisting of 19.421 Muslims, 8.512 Greeks and 7.118 Armenians.[13]

The Shabin-Karahisar uprising

Şebinkarahisar was one of the few locations where Armenians actively resisted the Armenian Genocide.[14][15]

As news of deportations and massacres in other parts of the Ottoman Empire reached the town, its Armenian population decided to make preparations for self-defence. On June 15, 1915 some 300 Armenians, mostly wealthy merchants, were arrested. On the following day, after further attempted arrests, fighting erupted and barricades were erected in the town's Armenian districts. By June 18 most of those districts had fallen or been abandoned. Some 5,000 Armenians from the town and nearby villages, 75% of them women and children, retreated into Şebinkarahisar's medieval fortress. It was then surrounded by Turkish troops, who directed heavy artillery at its walls. On the night of July 11, with food, water, and ammunition almost exhausted, the Armenians decided to secretly evacuate the fortress. However, the attempt was discovered and all who had left were killed. On July 12 those still inside the fortress surrendered. A massacre then followed in which all Armenian men were killed. Women and children survivors were held prisoner in the town before being deported like those of other towns.[16] According to official Turkish records, during the revolt the Armenian rebels killed 403 civilian Turkish villagers.[17]

The Republic of Turkey

When the republic was founded in 1923 the 10th Army was garrisoned here, bringing a boost to the local economy. Atatürk visited in 1924, on his way from seeing earthquake damage in Erzurum.


Şebinkarahisar itself is a quiet town of 13,200 (TÜİK 2008) people, 40 km from the provincial city of Giresun, standing on the north side of the valley of the river Avutmuş in the Giresun Mountains.

The town is hard to reach, the road along the riverbank is windy and narrow, and services are hard to provide.

The Şebin walnut' is a particular variety of walnut, grown on the valley sides,[18] another local delicacies include a helva made from hazelnuts, Hoşmerim a kind of cheese pudding, small bread loaves called gilik, the corn and chick pea soup toyga çorbası, dolma made from the leaves of Curled Dock evelik, stewed nettles and most of all the mulberry syrup, pekmez.

Places of interest

  • Şebinkarahisar castle
  • Behramşah Camii - mosque built by the Seljuk Turks, in the neighbourhood of Avutmuş.
  • Taşhanlar - Ottoman-period stone caravanserai, at the entrance to the castle
  • Fatih Camii - Ottoman mosque next to the castle

Notable natives


  1. "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  3. Procopius De Aedificiis 3.4.6-7
  4. Bryer, Anthony; Winfield, David (1985). Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontos. 1. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. p. 146. ISBN 0-88402-122-X.
  5. Bryer and Winfield, p. 146
  6. W. M. Ramsay, The Historical Geography of Asia Minor, Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-108-01453-3, p. 57.
  7. Presenting Nikopolis (Garasari) region in greek
  8. Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. p. 1138. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  9. Bryer and Winfield, p. 148
  10. Winfield, David (1977). "The Northern Routes across Anatolia". Anatolian Studies. 27: 151–166. doi:10.2307/3642660.
  11. Babinger, Franz (1978). Mehmed the Conqueror and his Time. Bollingen Series XCVI. ed. by William C. Hickman, trans. by Ralph Manheim. Princeton University Press. p. 316. ISBN 0-691-09900-6.
  12. Robert W. Edwards, “The Fortress of Şebinkarahisar (Koloneia),” Corso di Cultura sull' Arte Ravennate e Bizantina 32 (1985), pp. 23-64.
  13. Kemal Karpat (1985), Ottoman Population, 1830-1914, Demographic and Social Characteristics, The University of Wisconsin Press, p. 136-137
  14. Richard G. Hovannisian, "The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics" Published 1992 Palgrave Macmillan, p. 289, ISBN 0-312-04847-5
  15. Edmund Herzig, Marina Kurkichayan, "The Armenians: Past and Present in the Making of National Identity", Published 2005 Routledge, pg. 93, ISBN 0-7007-0639-9
  16. Payaslian, Simon (2004). "The Armenian Resistance at Shabin-Karahisar in 1915". In Hovannisian, Richard G. (ed.). Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publishers. pp. 399–426.
  17. Öztürk, Özhan (2011). Pontus: Antik Çağ’dan Günümüze Karadeniz’in Etnik ve Siyasi Tarihi (Pontus: The Ethnic and Political History of the Black Sea Region from Antiquity to Today) (in Turkish). Ankara: Genesis Yayınları. pp. 543–544. ISBN 978-605-54-1017-9. book description Archived 2012-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  18. Þebin Cevizi.Net - Anasayfa
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