Formerly a district of Zonguldak Province, Bartın has been made into a province seat in 1991 with the constitution of its province, including four districts: Central Bartın, Amasra, Kurucaşile, and Ulus). The city, with a population of c. 48,000, is situated 14 kilometers inland on the Bartın River that is navigable for vessels between the city and the Black Sea coast. Bartın River is the only navigable river for vessels in Turkey.
The history of the antique Parthenios city (Παρθένιος in Greek) dates back to 1200 BC, when its area was inhabited by the Gasgas tribe. In the following centuries, the region had entered under the dominance of Hittites, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Lydians, Greeks, Persians and Macedonians. Later, it was part of the Roman Empire and then of the Byzantine Empire, until it fell to the Seljuk Turks and the Candaroğulları State between the 11th and the 13th centuries AD. Bartın was conquered by the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I in 1392. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Bartın was part of the Kastamonu Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.
Bartın is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR).
Main sights include the castle, two churches, bedesten, the Kuşkayası Road Monument and İnziva (seclusion) Cave in the city center. Sections of the ancient city like the forum, the council palace, the road of honor, the theatre, the acropolis, and a necropolis are now below the ground.
The wooden Bartın houses display the architectural characteristics of the art movements after the Tanzimat Fermanı (Reforms Decree).
Bartın has an oceanic/humid subtropical transitional climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa/Cfb); and a cool summer oceanic climate (Dob) under the Trewartha classification; with high and evenly distributed rainfall the year round. Summers are very warm and humid, and the average temperature is around 22 °C in July and August. Winters are cool and damp, and the average temperature is around 4 or 5 °C in January and February.
Precipitation is heaviest in autumn and early winter and lightest in spring. Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two, and it can be heavy once it snows.
The city hosts strawberry festivals in spring. The city also has beaches of good quality.