A historical site in Turkey, the 17th century Greek city Argyropolis, at the Gumushane Black Sea province has been left to crumble the last 50 years. The ruins, located about 72 kilometres from Gumushane’s city centre were considered important archaeological sites in 1999, but have not been conserved or taken care of since.

The site was once a vibrant city, with churches and fountains in each street. Between 1700 and 1923 there were many jewellery stores and market centres in the area, with about 5,000 people living there.

After the Russian-Turkish War (1829-30), however, many Pontian Greeks who had collaborated or welcomed the Russian army followed it as it withdrew into Georgia and Southern Russia in fear of retaliation by the Turks. They settled there, joining Greek communities in Caucasus.

During World War I, the Greeks of the area tried to organize armed resistance against the Turks. Guerrilla bands that acted in the mountains of Santa, led by Euklidis Kourtidis, managed to successfully repel a Turkish attack on 6th September 1921.

However, after the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923, the area was deserted and has not been re-inhabited since.

The Pontian Greek civilization is still evident in the area, rendering the site an important natural and cultural touristic centre.

Huseyin Ates, a regional representative, said that the authorities will try to preserve this historical heritage for future generations.