Ünye is a coastal town which is considered the entry gate to Eastern Black Sea. It is a district of Ordu province. It has nearly 120.000 inhabitants. Subsistence mainly depends on agriculture. Ünye is a major producer of hazelnuts. With its hazelnut dehulling, packaging and processing facilities and trading centers, bentonite production and processing plants, fisheries, Ünye Port and the historical Silk Road connection to Anatolia, it is a vibrant tourism and trade destination. The town dates back to the Ancient Age.
The citadel is near the Ünye-Niksar road and it is 5 km from the town center. It is situated on a steel hill which is almost insurmountable. The hill is a sedimentary rock composed of limestone. The citadel which consists of four arrays of walls have been historically used by the Pontic State, Romans and Turks. The Ottomans had troops there until the end of the Empire. The central part of the citadel consisted of the living quarters. This area includes relics of winemaking tanks, baths, toilets and a place of worship. This sacrosanct space which was later used as a chapel includes an altar and prayer area as well as tombs carved in rock. The entrance to the citadel is ornamented by an eagle figure on the tomb of Mithridates II, Pontic King. Prof. Dr. Freely suggests that the Castle of the Hawk in the Mélusine, the first novel in the world by Jean D'Arras, is the Citadel of Ünye. The citadel was once used as a necropolis. The surface cleaning in 2011 unveiled several graves carved in the rocks and including human bones. There are water channels, galleries, tunnels and cisterns inside the citadel. The tunnels which reach down to the river by the citadel were ordered to be filled in by Roman Commander in the 1st century BC.
Other than those inside the citadel, there are other rock tombs in Tozkoparan, Balavuz and Kadavat areas.
The Saint Nicholas quarter is named after the ruins of the Saint Nicholas Church on an islet in Atatürk District west of Ünye. The islet is connected to the land via a stone bridge. Today, only part of the walls of the Church which surround the islet are remaining. A picture from 1930s shows a structure which resembles a chapel. This relic on the islet belongs to a pre-Ottoman church as indicated in the Journals of Panaretos the Historian and the Travelogues of Per Minas Bidjikjian. It was repaired several times in the Ottoman period. Recent research suggests that Saint Nicholas who is known as "Santa" had lived in this area and the church was named after him.
STRUCTURES ALONG THE ÜNYE CULTURE PATH
Ünye Municipality launched the Culture Path Project to restore and renovate several historical structures.
The year 1871 is engraved on the portal of the inn. The upper floors were used as an inn and the lower floors as shops. It is the only surviving structure among aother Ünye inns.
THE SLOPE OF JUDGES (KADILAR SLOPE)
Ünye raised many prominent judges in the Ottoman times. The judges were known to build residences on this slope which was later called the Slope of Judges. Several of these mansions have survived. The whole area resembles an open air museum with its stone paved roads and porticoed structures which represents excellent examples of stone masonry. The street descends vertically to the shore from the town center and connects to the square from the edge of the Old Bath. Under the Culture Path Project of Ünye Municipality, the Street of the Judges was illuminated and improved. Some of the houses were renovated and facades of some others were rehabilitated.
OLD ÜNYE HOUSES AND ÜNYE MUNICIPAL MUSEUM
Ünye houses are beautiful examples of the Black Sea architecture. A total of 60 historical houses have survived. Some of the houses with peculiar architectural features and decorations are being renovated. The Museum House, one such example on Hacı Emin Street, reflects the cultural life of Ünye.
HAZİNEDAR COURT AND THE COURT WALLS
Hazinedar Süleyman Pasha, governor of Ünye in early 19th century, commissioned a mansion on the walls by the sea. The architecture followed the example of the courts of Crimean Khans. However, the mansion was burned to the ground in several fires after 1850. The information on the mansion is based on travelers and authors who visited Ünye in those days. French painter Jules Laurens drafted notes about Ünye in August 1847 and painted the Ünye Citadel and Hazinedar Court. His painting which is now possessed by Paris Academy of Fine Arts informs us in detail about the Süleyman Pasha Court which was burned down 160 years ago.
There are three historical baths in the town center. One of them is still open. These include the New Bath on Saray Street, the Old Bath on Cumhuriyet Street and the Çifte Bath behind the Copperware Bazaar.
The Old Bath is still open. It has been renovated several times. It was build in mid-16th century. But the exact year is not known. However, it is clear that it was build before the others.
The Court bath, i.e. the New Bath, was built as an extension of the Süleyman Pasha Court in early 19th century and it served as the New Bath until 1980s. After long years of neglect, it was renovated in 2017. There are plans to reopen it.
The Çifte Bath was built in late 19th century and was functional until 1940s. It is in ruins today. The architecture of Çifte Bath resembles the style of Architect Sinan. It consists of two symmetrical chambers. Thus, women and men could use it at the same time without sighting the other chamber.
VIRGIN MARY PANAYA CHURCH
It was built during the Ottoman reorganization. The construction started in 1840. It is a typical example of the Orthodox church architecture in the region.
It was renovated in 2015. Today, it is used for cultural meetings and exhibitions. It is the only surviving church in Ünye. One of the other known churches is located on the Church Hill on the northern slope of the same district. It was demolished in 1956 and the Meçhul Asker (Unknown Soldier) School was built in its place. The other known church is Saint Nicholas. Only the external walls of this church are remaining.
Saray (Court) Mosque
The inscription on the entrance gate states that it was commissioned for construction in 1721 by Kondoroğlu Ahmet. It was built of Ünye stones. It is the oldest surviving mosque in the town center. It was called the Court Mosque as it was often used by the members of the Haznedar Court which was built 80 years after the mosque.
The mosque was commissioned by Fatma hanım, daughter of Alemdar Mustafa Ağa in 1819.
Minaret and Tombstones of Hacıosman Ağa Mosque
Built in 1697, the Hacı Osman Ağa Mosque was demolished in 1988 for a road expansion project and rebuilt later at a nearby location.
Orta Yeni Mosque
The construction started in 1891 with financial support from shop owners in the area and completed in 1896.
There are several wooden mosques in and around Ünye. These represent the rooted nail-free architecture of Turks. Wooden mosques built using this granary (serander) style date back to 500 years.
The most prominent examples include Laleli, Kabadirek, Yeni Cuma and Çayır mosques.
YUNUS EMRE TOMB
A tomb attributed to Yunus Emre, famous Sufi poet highlighting love and peace, is in Ünye. It was built in Saca area 2 km from the town center.
ÜNYE STONE and POTTERY
Natural Ünye stones (yellow, white and red) have been used since the Ottoman time. Ünye stones were used in the construction of Saray (Court), Orta and Çömlekçi mosques and all stone works of Old Ünye buildings including cisterns, grinds, wells and stone ovens. These stones have been historically used in building some of the İstanbul palaces and they are currently used in the construction of Yeditepe University (yellow and red Ünye stone) and Çamlıca Mosque (white Ünye stone). The black Ünye stone is used in building stone ovens. Ünye stones are processed in facilities in the town and shipped across the country.
Pottery was extensively practiced in Ünye in 1950s. The practice continued until 1980s. Today, there are only one functional and two defunct pottery furnaces left in the area.
NATURAL SIGHTS IN ÜNYE
Sites close to town center and accessible by public transportation:
Yazkonağı Cave, Pine Forest, Çakırtepe Hill, Çınarsuyu River, Asarkaya, Kızılkaya, Mount Çet Dağı and Karaarmut Plateau