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Coordinates: 40°52′30″N35°27′48″E / 40.87500°N 35.46333°E / 40.87500; 35.46333 Coordinates: 40°52′30″N35°27′48″E / 40.87500°N 35.46333°E / 40.87500; 35.46333
Country Turkey
Province Amasya
  MayorAlp Kargı (CHP)
   Kaymakam Mehmet Fatih Geyim
Area [1]
  District972.24 km2 (375.38 sq mi)
Elevation750 m (2,460 ft)
Population (2012) [2]
   Urban 54,709
  District density72/km2 (190/sq mi)
Post code05300

Merzifon (Armenian : Մարզուան, translit.  Marzvan, Old Persian: Merzban; Ancient Greek : Μυρσυφων, translit.  Mersyphòn) is a town and district in Amasya Province in the central Black Sea region of Turkey. It covers an area of 970 square kilometres (370 sq mi), and the population (2010) is 69,237 of which 52,947 live in the town of Merzifon, the remainder spread throughout the surrounding countryside. The mayor is Alp Kargı (CHP).

Armenian language Indo-European language

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken primarily by Armenians. It is the official language of Armenia. Historically being spoken throughout the Armenian Highlands, today, Armenian is widely spoken throughout the Armenian diaspora. Armenian is written in its own writing system, the Armenian alphabet, introduced in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots.

There are various systems of romanization of the Armenian alphabet.

Romanization of Persian or Latinization of Persian is the representation of the Persian language with the Latin script. Several different romanization schemes exist, each with its own set of rules driven by its own set of ideological goals.



Former variants of its name include Marzifūn, Mersivan, Marsovan, Marsiwān, Mersuvan, Merzpond and Merzban. The name apparently comes from Marzban, the Persian title for a "march lord" or a district governor, although the exact connection is not clear. Scholar Özhan Öztürk claims that original terms Marsıvan (Mers "border" in Persian + van "town" in Armenian) and it means "Border town" [3]

Özhan Öztürk Turkish writer

Özhan Öztürk is a Turkish writer and researcher. He wrote a Turkish Folklore Encyclopaedia and an encyclopaedic dictionary of the culture and folklore of the peoples of the Black Sea region of Turkey.


Standing on a plain, watered by a river, Merzifon is on the road between the capital city of Ankara and Samsun on the Black Sea coast, 109km from Samsun, 325km from Ankara and 40km west of the city of Amasya. The weather is moderately cold in winter, warm in summer.

Ankara Metropolitan municipality in Central Anatolia, Turkey

Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora, is the capital of Turkey. With a population of 4,587,558 in the urban center (2014) and 5,150,072 in its province (2015), it is Turkey's second largest city after Istanbul, having outranked İzmir in the 20th century.

Samsun Metropolitan municipality in Black Sea, Turkey

Samsun is a city on the north coast of Turkey with a population over half a million people. It is the provincial capital of Samsun Province and a major Black Sea port. The growing city has two universities, several hospitals, shopping malls, a lot of light manufacturing industry, sports facilities and an opera.

Black Sea Marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and Asia

The Black Sea is a body of water and marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean between the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Western Asia. It is supplied by a number of major rivers, such as the Danube, Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, Don, and the Rioni. Many countries drain into the Black Sea, including Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.


Merzifon has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csb)

Köppen climate classification widely used climate classification system

The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by the Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist Rudolf Geiger introduced some changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system.

Climate data for Merzifon
Daily mean °C (°F)0.9
Average precipitation mm (inches)38
Source: [4]


Far antiquity

Archaeological evidence (hundreds of burial mounds höyük) indicate settlement of this well-watered farmland since the stone age at least 5500 BC. The first fortifications were built by the Hittites, who were pushed out around 1200BC by invaders coming in from the nearby Black Sea. From 700BC the fortifications were rebuilt by the Phrygians, who left a number of burial mounds and other architecture. From 600BC the Phrygians were pushed out by more invasions from the east, this time Cimmerians from over the Caucasus mountains; graves from this period have been excavated and their contents displayed in the museum in Amasya. Merzifon then became a trading post of the kings of Pontus, whose ruled the Black Sea coast from their capital in Amasya.

Hittites ancient Anatolian people who established an empire

The Hittites were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia.


The Phrygians were an ancient Indo-European people, initially dwelling in the southern Balkans – according to Herodotus – under the name of Bryges (Briges), changing it to Phryges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the Hellespont.

Cimmerians people

The Cimmerians were a nomadic Indo-European people, who appeared about 1000 BC and are mentioned later in 8th century BC in Assyrian records.

Rome and Byzantium

The district of Amasya was destroyed during civil wars of the Romans and, including Merzifon, was restored by command of the emperor Hadrian. Remains of Roman temples from Merzifon are also on display in Amasya today. The city grew in importance under Roman rule as walls and fortifications were strengthened, and remained strong under Byzantine rule (following the division of the Roman empire in 395), although it was held briefly by Arab armies during the 8th century expansion of Islam. Following which the castle of Bulak was built as a defence.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Hadrian 2nd-century Roman Emperor

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus in Italica, near Santiponce, Spain into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death.

Turks and Ottomans

Islam was finally established by the Danishmend lords in the 11th century and the Byzantines never regained control. The Danishmend were followed by Seljuk Turks, Ilkhan, and from 1393 onwards the Ottomans. Merzifon remained an important city for the Ottomans, because of its proximity to Amasya (where Ottoman princes were raised and schooled for the throne). Evliya Çelebi records a well-fortified trading city. Merzifon was home to one of the last communities of Armenian Zoroastrians - known as Arewordik ( children of the sun ), who are believed to have been killed in the Armenian genocide between 1915 - 17 . Merzifon became a center of European trading and missionary activity by the 19th century. American missionaries established a seminary in 1862. In 1886, a boarding school, Anatolia College in Merzifon was founded (and expanded to also serve girls in 1893). By the 1920s, the schools had over 200 boarding students, mostly ethnic Greeks and Armenians. The complex also had one of the largest hospitals in Asia Minor, and an orphanage housed 2000 children. However, the town also became a focal point for both Armenian nationalism (Armenians comprised half of the population of what they called Marsovan in 1915) and anti-Western sentiment. It suffered at least two riots in the 1890s, but the damage was rebuilt. In 1916, over 11,000 Armenians were deported from the city (which had approximately 30,000 inhabitants the previous year); others were killed and their property confiscated and sold to Turkish insiders, supposedly to benefit the Ottoman war effort, as documented by missionary George E. White. Anatolia College in Merzifon was closed in 1924 and all remaining Christians were forced to leave.

Turkish Republic

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, unrest continued. British troops deployed in formerly Ottoman lands to ensure the terms of surrender; some arrived in Merzifon in 1919 as American missionary White returned and reopened the college and orphanage, as well as a new "baby house" for displaced Armenian mothers and infants. However, the British troops soon withdrew and unrest continued in Merzifon.


Merzifon is now a typical large but quiet Anatolian town providing schools, hospitals, courts and other important infrastructure in concrete buildings, but offering few cultural amenities. Few travellers stop here, preferring to press on to reach the Black Sea coast. The best-known dish is the boiled wheat, chick-pea and meat stew called keşkek; there are also a number of well-known kebab houses and a famous köfte restaurant called Ciloşoğlu. And at weekends there is plenty of attractive countryside around for a picnic or other escapes.

There is a large airbase nearby. Merzifon is twinned with the city of Pleasant Hill, California.

Administrative structure



Notable natives

See also

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  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. Özhan Öztürk. Pontus: Antik Çağ’dan Günümüze Karadeniz’in Etnik ve Siyasi Tarihi. Genesis Yayınları. Ankara, 2011. p.440. ISBN   978-605-54-1017-9.
  4. "Climate in Merzifon". Retrieved 9 April 2014.