Amasya, wrote a visitor at the turn of this century, is “the most picturesque town of all Anatolia, the Baghdad of Rûm”. Another called the city “l'Oxford de l'Anatolie”. One of its principal charms is the River Iris, the Yeşil Irmak, which runs through the town. Beautiful but not potable: “Tokat dumps in it, Amasya drinks it” is a Turkish proverb at least as old as Evliye Çelebi, who visited the town in the first half of the seventeenth century.
In ancient times the city would seem to have taken its water from a source in the neighbouring hills. It was carried along an aqueduct cut, for the most part, into the face of the cliffs which form the side of the river valley south and west of the town and on the right bank of the river (Fig. 1). The castle of Amasya, on the left bank, had its own arrangements for water supply described by the geographer Strabo, a native of the city, and these should not be confused with the aqueduct on the right bank.