Here is a tidbit of info (we can’t really call it a fact) that may come as a surprise. Amazon warriors came from Turkey! (Or so one version of the story goes; others place them slightly north, in Ukraine.) Archaeologists, scholars and hopeful fantasy lovers have struggled for centuries to place this infamous society of female warriors within the Black Sea region–a total surprise for someone like me who thought they must have come the jungle in South America.
The Samsun province in northern Turkey considers itself to be the home of the Amazons, claiming they lived in the region between 2000 and 1000 BC. It’s said that these Amazons fought under the command of Agamemnon in the Battle of Troy in 1200 BC, defending Anatolia under the command of Queen Penthesileia, who was later killed by Achilles.
To hammer down this claim the city government has created Amazon Island, a well-manicured and theme park-esque shrine to the female warrior. Located on the shores of the Black Sea in the city’s Batı Park, the monument features a towering statue of a snarling Amazon warrior flanked, inexplicably, by two golden lions, and an Amazon village where visitors can check out candid moments in Amazonian life. As well as having been erected to lure in tourists and drum up some hype about Amazons in the academic world, the monument is boldly dedicated as “a gift to women” from the Samsun government. Mook was therefore the odd one out as, accompanied by two local ladies, we went to go check out this awesome gift.
Accompanied by their modern-day man slaves, there were a number of women at the park enjoying the awesome gift. And who wouldn’t enjoy climbing into the mouth of a giant gold lion?
The Amazon Village itself was even better, though. Entering through a thick wooden door, you’re suddenly immersed into the world of these fierce female warriors à la Madame Tussauds, with creepy life-like models illustrating the Amazons in a variety of daily activities.
The first exhibit was everyone’s favourite: the sex slaves. These shaggy dudes were incredibly popular, and everyone from young children to hijabbed women jumped at the chance to have their photos taken with real Amazon man meat. The guys themselves look like they had seen better days, though, and could really use a visit to the clinic and the local barber.
Inside we learned more about life as an Amazon.
The Amazon Village is completely free of charge, possibly the best gift of all.
Samsun isn’t the hottest destination in Turkey, but nearby the Amazon Village is also an awesome park full of life-sized cartoon characters. As if your trip to Turkey couldn’t get more exotic.