A culturally rich settlement center in Anatolia, with traces of history all over the land, Tokat lies inland of the middle Black Sea region, 422 kilometers from Ankara. Wandering in the city is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of life at old times, with the many historical buildings at the numerous ancient sites.
The most important figure here, is the Ottoman Citadel of 28 towers, founded on a rocky hill overlooking the town. The Garipler Mosque dating to the 12th century and the Ali Pasa Mosque of 16th century constitute other sights worth visiting.
One of Tokat's finest buildings is the Gök Medrese (Pervane Bey Darussifasi) which was constructed in 1270. It was founded as a school of theology, and is now converted into a museum, housing archaeological finds from the area.
Two other notable monuments in this region, are the Hatuniye Medrese of the 15th century, built by Sultan Beyazit, and a Seljuk bridge spanning the Yesilirmak River, belonging to the 12th century. The Latifoglu Mansion is still another, which is a traditional architecture of a Turkish house of the 19th century, restored recently to its original state.
69 kilometers northeast of Tokat, is Niksar, one of the most beautiful towns of the province, which carries important signs from the history of the country. It was once the capital of the Turkish Danismend Emirs, and among the interesting sights are the well-preserved citadel, the Ulu Mosque, and the 12th century Yagbasan Medrese. Niksar has also a crystal clear and delicious spring water.
Zile is another ancient town, 67 kilometers west of the province, with its fortress and the 13th century Ulu Mosque near it. This district has been the scene of many events of the earliest ages too, and it was here that the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar said his famous words "Veni, Vidi, Vici"; "I came, I saw, I conquered".
Resadiye is well known for its vast pine forests, hot springs, clays and natural beauties. Ballica cave at Pazar is a natural wonder. The Dumanli meadows are the other famous places for resting and refreshing.
Sulusaray (Sebastopolis) is about 68 kilometers from the center of Tokat, and about 30 km from Artova town. The site is situated on a plain surrounded by mountains and the river of Cekerek runs near it.
The foundation of this ancient city is still unknown. Some sources say that it was first established in the first century A.D. during the Roman emperor Trajan's period, and that the city was separated from the Pontus Galaticus Polaminiacus districts and was included in the Cappadocia region. There is an epitaph (inscription rock with several rows of writings carved on it) about this. The epitaph was written as a monument for the Arrian, the Governor of the Cappadocia region.
The word Sebastopolis comes from Greek; Sebasto means huge, great or magnificent, and Polis means city. So Sebastopolis means Great City. In some resources the city was named as Heracleopolis. Heracleopolis means the city of Heracles, a pagan god symbolizing power and strength in the Greek and Roman mythology.
Architectural pieces recovered during the diggings organized by the Directorate of the Tokat Museum in 1987, showed that the city was an important settlement during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. The artifacts recovered at the Comana Pohtica (Old Tokat) are very similar to those recovered from the city of Sebastopolis, probably these two ancient cities had a close relationship in the past.
The ancient city was surrounded by a city wall made of small, neatly cut stones put together without using mortar. A circular shape temple was discovered at the northeast side of the city, it was made of marble floor. The baths are situated at the eastern part of the Sebastopolis, where the water needed was recovered from the thermal spring located about 3 kilometers to the southwest. Many statues and statuettes, friezes, columns, grave steles and epitaphs have been found during excavations.