History of Gumushane

The origins of the ancient settlement are steeped in mystery. During the Roman and Byzantine periods the city was known as Argyropolis; literally translated as City of silver. Later on it was ruled by Emevis, Abbasids and Seljuks, and finally the Ottomans.

Gumushane was founded on the historical trade road between Trabzon and Iran. There is no doubt that Gumushane was rich with silver mines. Gumus in Turkish means silver, and that's most likely where the name has been derived from. The existence of silver has even been mentioned by Marco Polo and the medieval North African traveler Ibn Battutah. Once the mines were depleted, Gumushane had to dependant upon the export of fruits (chiefly apples and pears) from its orchards for its survival, and upon its position as a transit station between the port of Trabzon and western Iran.

During the Ottoman Empire, Gumushane was a satellite of Erzurum and then Trabzon, but after the Republic, it became a province of Turkey. Russian occupation during World War I ruined most of the ancient city; a few ruins are a poignant reminder of the riches that once was existent. The new city built since then is now the commercial and administrative centre of the province.