Long used as a Hittite port, which appears in Hittite sources as "Sinuwa", the city proper was re-founded as a Greek colony from the city of Miletus in the 7th century BC. Sinope flourished as the Black Sea port of a caravan route that led from the upper Euphrates valley. It issued its own coinage, founded colonies, and gave its name to a red earth pigment called sinopia, which was mined in Cappadocia for use throughout the ancient world.
Sinope escaped Persian domination until the early 4th century BC. It was ruled by Scydrothemis from 301 to 280 BC. In 183 BC it was captured by Pharnaces I and became capital of the Kingdom of Pontus. The Roman general Lucullus conquered Sinope in 70 BC, and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony there, Colonia Julia Felix, in 47 BC. Mithradates Eupator was born and buried at Sinope, and it was the birthplace of Diogenes, of Diphilus, poet and actor of the New Attic comedy, of the historian Baton, and of the Christian heretic of the 2nd century AD, Marcion.
After the division of the Roman Empire in 395, Sinope remained with the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. Its history in the early Byzantine period is obscure, except for isolated events: it was used by Justinian II as a base from which to reconnoitre Cherson, participated in the rebellion of the Armeniac Theme in 793, was the site of Theophobos' proclamation as emperor by his Khurramite troops in 838, and suffered its only attack by the Arabs in 858.
In 1081, the city was captured by the Seljuk Turks, who found there a sizeable treasury, but Sinope was soon recovered by Alexios I Komnenos, ushering a period of prosperity under the Komnenian dynasty. After the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, it was captured for the Empire of Trebizond by David Komnenos, until the Seljuk Turks of Rûm successfully captured the city in 1214. The city returned briefly to Trapezuntine rule in 1254, but returned to Turkish control in 1265, where it has remained since.
After 1265, Sinop became home to two successive independent emirates following the fall of the Seljuks: the Pervâne and the Jandarids. The Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II overawed Ismail, the emir of Sinope on his march on Trebizond, and forced him to surrender the city to the Sultan late June 1461 without a fight. The emir was exiled to Philippopolis (modern Plovdiv) in northern Thrace.
In 1614 Sinop was targeted by Cossack raiders and extensively looted and burned in an event which shocked Ottoman contemporaries.
In November 1853, at the start of the Crimean War, in the Battle of Sinop, the Russians, under the command of Admiral Nakhimov, destroyed an Ottoman frigate squadron in Sinop, leading Britain and France to declare war on Russia.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Sinop was part of the Kastamonu Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.
As of 1920, Sinop was described as populated mainly by Greeks with an approximate population of 8,000. It was also considered the "safest" port "between Bosphorus and Batum," at the time. During this period, the port was exporting wheat, tobacco, seeds, timber and hides. They imported produce, coal and hardware.
Sinop hosted a US military base and radar that was important for intelligence during the cold war era. The US base was closed in 1992.
Explorer Bob Ballard discovered an ancient ship wreck north west of Sinop in the Black Sea and was shown on National Geographic.
Sinop has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa).
Sinop has warm and humid summers with an average daytime high of 26 °C (78.8 °F) however temperatures rarely exceed 30 °C (86 °F). The highest recorded temperature for Sinop was 34.4 °C (93.92 °F) on 6 July 2000. The winters are cool and wet, the average for winter ranging around 5 °C (41 °F). The lowest recorded temperature for Sinop was -7.5 °C (18.5 °F) on 21 February 1985. Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two.
As of 1920, Sinop was producing embroidered cotton cloth. They also were known for boatbuilding. The British described the boats produced in Sinop as being of "primitive design but sound workmanship."
Sinop is currently slated to be the site of the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant, a $15.8 billion nuclear power plant being developed by Elektrik Üretim, Engie, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Itochu. The plant will consist of four reactors, with construction to begin as early as 2017 and completion by 2028.
Visitor attraction places in Sinop are:
Pasha Bastion (Turkish: Paşa Tabyası) is a half-moon coastal bastion, a semi-circular fortification, situated southeast of Sinop Peninsula. It was constructed to protect the city against attacks coming from the Black Sea during the Russo-Turkish War, Crimean War (1853–1856). It features an artillery battery of eleven cannons, an arsenal and basement. Today, it is used as a place for refreshments premise.
Historic Water Tunnel (Turkish: Tarihi Su Kanalı) is an ancient underground water supply channel situated at Sülüklü Göl (literally: Lake of Leeches. Dug in rock, it is about 230 m (750 ft) long and has a clearance of 1.50 m (4.9 ft). There exists a 20–30 m (66–98 ft) high cylindrical ventilation shaft of 1.50 m (4.9 ft) diameter.
Balatlar Church (Turkish: Balatlar Kilisesi) is a ruined church from the Byzantine Empire period. It is partly preserved as only the chapel vault is in undamaged condition while other parts of the church have no roof any more. Fresco paintings on the chapel's ceiling and on the nave walls are still intact.
Serapeum is a ruined temple dedicated to the combined Hellenistic-Ancient Egyptian deity Serapis, situated in the southwestern corner in the yard of Sinop Archaeokogical Museum.
Alaaddin Mosque is a 13th-century mosque of Seljuk architecture named after its endower Sultan Alaaddin Kayqubad I (1188–1237).
Pervane Medrese is a former Islamic religious school, which was closed down after the proclamation of the Republic. The 13th-century building was used as a depot for archaeological artifacts and ethnographic items from 1932 on, and served as a museum between 1941 and 1970. It hosts souvenir shops today.
Sinop Fortress (Turkish: Sinop Kalesi) is a fortification surrounding the peninsula and the isthmus of Sinop. It was built initially by migrants from Miletus in the 8th century BC. The fortress underwent reparation and expansion to its current extent during the reign of King Mithridates IV of Pontus in the 2nd century BC after its destruction by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC. Some parts of the fortress, especially the north walls, are ruined.
Sinop Fortress Prison (Turkish: Sinop Tarihi Cezaevi) is a defunct state prison situated inside the Sinop Fortress. Served between 1887 and 1997, the prison rose to fame when it featured in many literature works of notable aıthors, who were inmates of the prison for political reasons. It became also a shooting set for many movies and television series. It is a prison museum today.
Sinop Archaeological Museum (Turkish: Sinop Arkeoloji Müzesi) is a 1941-established archaeological museum exhibiting artifacts dating back to Early Bronze Age and from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods as well.
Sinop Ethnographic Museum (Turkish: Sinop Etnografya Müzesi) is a museum of ethnograhic exhibits belonging to the cultural history of the region. It is situated in a large 18th-century mansion.
Statue of Diogenes (Turkish: Diyojen Heykeli) is a monument to the Ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope born in Sinop in about 412 BC.
Sinope has given its name to the outermost satellite of Jupiter. A crater on Mars is named after Sinop.