The ancient city called Comana Pontica (Greek: Κόμανα Ποντική) belonged to the kingdom of Pontus. Located on the Iris River (now Yeşilırmak), it was therefore of strategic commercial importance. Comana Pontica is classified by scholars as one of the so-called "temple states". These temples were distinguished from other religious buildings by their great independence. These were self-governing units, with their own authorities, subordinate territories, and sources of revenue.
The first "temple states" appeared in Anatolia already during the reign of the Hittites. They most likely arrived there thanks to the influences from Mesopotamia. In the area of Comana Pontica, then called Kummami, there was a temple dedicated to the sun goddess Hepat. At that time, the temple was not fully independent, but had certain power structures, subordinate to the king and Hittite governors.
In the times of the Pontic rulers, the moon goddess Ma was worshipped in Comana Pontica, having reportedly been served by as many as 6,000 temple slaves. At the same time, Comana was an important trading city, especially for Armenian merchants. The location on the Yeşilırmak River provided both fertile farmland and a trade route for traders. From the inscriptions placed on the bridge dating back to the Roman times, we know that Comana had the status of an asylum and that it was "sacred and inviolable".
The temple located there was probably a building with a four-column portico, in which stood a statue of the goddess Ma. Most likely, it was surrounded by a fortress and a city where the goddess's servants and priests lived. Because of the prostitutes who provided services there on behalf of the goddess, Comana had a reputation as "little Corinth". The goddess Ma herself was described as "invincible" and as the "goddess of victory". Coins minted in Comana during the reigns of the Roman emperors Caligula, Trajan, and Septimius Severus show the goddess Ma holding a spear and a shield.
In the history of Christianity, Comana Pontica is remembered as the place where, on the way from exile in the Antitaurus Mountains to further exile in Picunda on the Black Sea (now in Georgia), Saint John Chrysostom died of exhaustion in 407.
The latest round of archaeological works have been carried out in the area of Comana Pontica since 2004, aimed at thoroughly understanding its remains, including the settlement area and the necropolis.
By car: travelling from Tokat towards Niksar (road 850), after driving 9 km from the centre of Tokat, stop at a gas station and go under the viaduct to the other side of the road.