The legendary female warriors, the Amazons, often mentioned in Homer's “Iliad” and almost all documents written by ancient Greek writers such as Plato and Socrates, are known throughout the world as powerful symbols of female virility and the ancient goddess sects. The Black Sea coastal city of Samsun, known as the city where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began the Turkey's 1919 War of Independence, also happens to be the home of the extraordinary Amazons, who were a nucleus of fear and fascination in ancient texts.
Work has begun in Samsun to highlight the Amazons as yet another of Turkey's ancient cultural assets. The Samsun Metropolitan Municipality plans to construct a miniature city reflecting the time of the Amazons in the city's Batı Park, reported the Anatolia news agency.
The Samsun Metropolitan Municipality Governor Kenan Şara said they would be building a miniature Amazon city on a 40,000 square meter area in Batı Park. He said they were currently working on the project and that a 12-meter tall Amazon statue that will be erected in the park was under construction.
Noting that they aimed to make Samsun a tourist city by highlighting its cultural and historical heritage, Şara said, “It is acknowledged that the Amazons lived in an area between the Kızılırmak and Yeşilırmak deltas around Çorum. That is why we will create an area in Batı Park representing the geography they lived in and including streams symbolizing Yeşilırmak and Kızılırmak on both sides of the city. We will build a miniature Amazon city and people visiting the park will be able to see Amazon statues and relief work.”
Şara said they believed that the miniature city would attract the interest of tourists, adding that the project would gradually be developed and all things related to the Amazons would be included.
Şara also said that Samsun was the city of Atatürk and work would always continue in order to develop the city in that regard as well.
The Amazons were an ancient nation of women warriors who lived in the city of Themiskyra, located near the Terme (Thermedon) River in modern day Samsun. Tales of these fierce warriors abound in ancient Greek literature and mythology, even though the Amazon tribes indeed existed. Amazons were thought to remove one of their breasts in order to use their bow and arrow more effectively, however visual data from paintings and carvings demonstrate otherwise. The Amazons are known to have settled in the Black Sea region in 1200 B.C. and each year a festival is held in their honor in the Terme district of Samsun.
... which reminds me ... t'other day I was reading a back issue of Fortean Times and was reminded that back in 2002 there were plans to carve a giant Mt. Rushmore-like thing of Alexander the Great. Does anyone recall if that project ever began?
Brandon Green writes:
I'm not sure about any modern plans, but back in the 4th Century there was a plan to do just that. A couple authors tell the story, with distinctly different spins; Vitruvius De Architectura 2.2-3 and Plutarch Moralia 335c
Maybe that's been confused with some sort of modern attempt?
I don't think so ... the Kathimerini version of the story is still available here; there's also a brief item from Reason. The project has an official website, which suggests work was to start in 2005. I suspect funding is the big issue ...