A town called Army                           Population: 146,000

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Ordu makes a useful base for exploring the middle part of the Black Sea coast. It doesn’t do perhaps to expect too much of a town named Army (which is what ordu means in Turkish), but this is an interesting place to get a feel for what life is like in a fast-modernizing part of the country.

Around town

The fine Paşaoğlu Konağı, called “the Atatürk Evi” by the locals, houses the town’s small museum (closed Mondays). Built of stone in 1896, the building pays only passing homage to traditional Turkish styles of architecture.

Inside, the museum is in sore need of a good dusting, but the upstairs rooms are set up to show the style in which the upper classes were accustomed to live towards the close of the Ottoman era. Its owner originally fled to Ordu following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.400 DSC01054Nineteenth-century Ordu

The town's most conspicuous architectural adornment is the huge domed church that stands guard over its western approaches.

Until recently this served as a cultural centre although it has now been taken over by Ordu University who use it for administrative purposes.

Photographs on display around town show the church as it was in its late 19th-century heyday when, in the days before the coast road was built on reclaimed land, it stood right at the water’s edge on a platform of solid stone cut with tunnels to allow water flowing down the hillside to find its way safely out to sea.

The streets immediately above the church still contain a number of fine old Ottoman houses, including the stately Sarı Konak (Yellow Mansion) that stands sadly empty for the time being.

Across town and a bit inland another cluster of old Ottoman houses are being given a very belated makeover. With big gardens and sea views, they should have been the city’s pride and joy instead of which they languished unloved until the eleventh hour.200 DSC01081 copyPaşaoğlu Konağı

Since 2012 a funicular has run from the seafront in the town centre to Boztepe (550m) whence it’s possible to look back down on Ordu and out over the Black Sea. It's a great place to grab a glass of tea and a bite to eat on a clear day.

OrtheaOrdu's theatre is housed inside an old churchYou might also like to take a turn along pedestrianized Sırrıpaşa Caddesi, a pleasant modern shopping street where, curiously, you could occasionally think yourself in the UK. Here you’ll find the cool and trendy Jazz Café just round the corner from a second redundant 19th-century church that has found new life as the Ordu playhouse.

Sadly, Ordu does have one big problem, which is the Black Sea Highway that roars its way through town putting paid to what pleasure there might have been in hanging out in the string of sea-facing cafes lining the western side of town. 


Want to be guaranteed a good night’s sleep here? Then be sure to pack the earplugs.

Karlıbel İkizeveler Hotel

Taşbaşı Butik Otel

Transport infoboztepeOrdu from Boztepe

Regular minibuses link Ordu with Ünye and Giresun. To get to Yason Burnu and Bolaman take a minibus to Perşembe or Fatsa and change.

Day trip destinations





Yason Burnu (Jason's Headland)

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=225240 (This article first appeared in Sunday’s Zaman on 24 October 2010)


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