Kerasus like most of the other Greek settlements along the Pontic coast was established by Sinope. It was founded around the 6th century BC. In 183 BC it was renamed as Pharnakes in honour of Pharnakes, The King of Pontos at the time, who took Kerasus after capturing Sinope. It fell to Pompey in 64 BC but was not incorporated in the Roman Empire until a century later. The city struck it's own coins.
The often told story that Kerasus was named after the cherry (Grk: kerasi) is quite possibly a myth. Kerasus was and is a major Pontic centre of a highly important hazelnut trade. At the turn of the 7th and 8th centuries, there was an imperial office of commerce in Kerasus which was associated with Trebizond and Lazia.
The victory of Alexios II over the Turkmen ‘Koustoganes" at Kerasus in September 1301 was vitally important. If Kerasus had fallen in 1301, the Turkmen would have obtained major access to the sea and the days of the Trapezuntine Empire would have been numbered. After 1301, Alexios II built a fortress which overlooks the sea.
4.2km east-northeast of Kerasus is a fortified island called Ares (Αρητιας νήσος or Αρεώνησος). It was here according to Apollonius of Rhodes , that the Argonauts encountered both the Amazons and a flock of viscious birds. The Greeks of the island held out against the Ottomans for 7 years after the fall of Trapezus 1461.
With the start of Ottoman rule, many Greeks fled to nearby Russia whilst many also fled to the mountainous interior of Asia Minor.
In 1764 during the ‘Derebey' Wars between 2 Turks, the Greek population was completely devastated with the loss of almost all it's churches, the ransacking of houses and shops, and imprisonment of many citizens.
In 1915 the Armenians are rounded up and massacred.
In 1919 the Turkish forces turn their attention to the Greeks. They assign Topal Osman the task of slaughtering the Greeks of the region, a task he completes with cowardly perfection.
Kerasus High School Kerasus Town Hall
Areas and Districts of Kerasounta
Kerasounta is one of the 37 regions of Pontos. The Centre of Asia Minor Studies
has the Kerasounta region divided up into 10 areas. They are...
The Greek districts of Kerasounta (the town) are as follows...
- Yeni Gkiol
Left: Mausoleum of The Mayor of Kerasus, Captain Georghi Pasha
In 1913, Kersounta had a population of 30,000. This was made up of 17,000 Greeks,
3000 Armenians, 7000 Turks and 3000 of various other ethnicities.
The Byzantine Monuments and Topgraphy of the Pontos by A.Bryer and D.Winfield
The Encyclopaedia of Pontian Hellenism.
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