which is located on a plateau at an altitude of
1,950 m/ 6,400 ft, is the largest city in Eastern
Anatolia. Erzurum has very old origins extending
back to about 4000 BC. Since antiquity Erzurum has
been located on a caravan route from Anatolia to
Persia, and has also been an important strategic
centre. The region was conquered by the Urartians,
Cimmerians, Scyths, Medes,
the Persians, the Romans.
However, it actually gained importance after it
became a Byzantine
stronghold and the fortress of Theodosiopolis
was built. The religious divergence between the
Armenians and Greeks often gave rise to clashes
between the two populations. Taking advantage of
the situation, the Sassanids temporarily occupied
the city in the early 6th century. In 632, the Byzantines
held a synod to impose on the Armenian Church
to join the principles of the Greek orthodoxy.
In 651, the place fell to the Arabs who called it
(the land of the Romans) or Arz-er Rum
from which its present name is derived. Erzurum
was in turn occupied by the Arabs and the Byzantines
who made many attempts to take back the city. From
923, Byzantine general John Kurkuas defeated the
Arabs on several fronts. The city was then handed
to the governorship of the Armenians, and
978, under the
it was incorporated into the Armenian Bagratid Kingdom.
From 1049, the region was invaded by
the Seljuks and
the city fell
into their hands in 1071 after the Battle
of Manzikert where they defeated the Byzantines.
city, which had become very prosperous under the
Seljuk rulers, came under the domination of
in the mid 13th century and
was finally united to the Ottoman
Empire in 1514 by Sultan Selim I.
Erzurum was occupied in 1828, 1878, and 1916-18
by the Russians. It was returned to the Ottomans
with the Peace Treaty
of Brest-Litovsk (March 3, 1918). On July 23,
1919 the Congress was held in Erzurum under the
chairmanship of de Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk).
During this congress, the foundations of national
unity and independence movements were laid.
Erzurum has the bad reputation of beeing the second
coldest city (after Kars)
in Turkey. Located only a few kilometers away from
Erzurum at an altitude of 2,150 m/ 7,053 ft to 3,100
m/ 10,170 ft, Palandöken is a very well equiped
and successfull ski resort due to long-lasting winters
(ski season lasts from early December till May)
and beautiful pistes.
The speciality of the region is the "oltu taşı"
or Erzurum stone, a black or brown-veined
volcanic glass (obsidian) used in the making of
jewels and other hand crafted articles.
Erzurum is linked by daily flights to Ankara and
Places of interest
in the city:
Cami, the oldest mosque in Erzurum (1179),
has a beautiful wooden dome and seven wide
the old school of theology with two minarets
covered with tiles, has a finely sculpted
portal. It is a beautiful example of 13th
century architecture, however its date of
construction is not well defined because it
is attributed either to Hande Hatun, the daughter
of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat I (1220-1236),
or to Padisha Hatun, the wife of IlKhanid
Sultan Gaykhatu (1291-1295)..
The Yakutiye Medresesi, built in 1310 by Cemaleddin
Hoca Yakut Gazani in the name of Gazanhan and Bolugan
Hatun in the time of Sultan Olcayto, is one of the
rare monuments of the Ilkanid Period left in Anatolia.
It houses the Turkish - Islamic Works and Ethnographical
Lala Mustafa Paşa Mosque is a 16th century
mosque built by the great architect Sinan.
: Üc Kümbetler (the three tombs) : the largest
tomb, Emir Sultan Türbesi, belongs to Emir Sultan
who was the founder of the Saltukid
emirate. The identity of the other two is unknown.
Further down stands the Hatuniye Türbesi (1255),
the tomb of Alaeddin Keykubat's daughter. These
two türbes are the best examples of domed tombs.
The Castle which Byzantine origins date back
to the 5th century, was rebuilt by the Seljuks (1124-1132)
and used as military barracks until recently. The
mosque is a good architectural example from that
period. The Clock Tower was built in the
19th century on the bases of a Seljuk watchtower.
Rüstem Pasa Caravanserai and the Bedesten (covered
Aziziye monument commemorates the Turko-Russian
the building were the congress was held also serves
as Fine Arts School.
: The Atatürk Museum, installed in a late 19th
century mansion, is located in Çaykara Avenue.
Kemal Pasha, Hüseyin Rauf Bey and his companions
settled in the Governors residence on 9 July 1919
for 52 days until 29 August 1919 for the preparation
and during the Erzurum Congress.
Hasankale is an old Armenian citadel restored
by Uzun Hasan (1435-1478), the famest
leader of the White Sheep (Akkoyunlular),
a Turcoman tribe which settled in the mid
14 th century in south-eastern Anatolia, ruling
the region from Diyarbakır.
Çobandede, the 13th century Seljuk
bridge that spans over the Arax (Aras)
river, was restored by famous architect Sinan
in the 16th century.
The city of Kars is located at an altitude of
1,750 meters (5,741 ft), to the northeast of Erzurum
close to the borders of Georgia and Armenia. Although
it is not the highest city in Turkey, Kars has
the bad reputation of being the coldest city in
the country with temperatures dropping to minus
30 degrees Celsius (- 22 F) during the winter
season. Situated 55 km/ 34 miles southwest of
Kars at an altitude of 2,634 m/ 8,641 ft is Sarıkamış,
a ski center with ideal snow qualified with international
standards, set in a scenic pine forest (ski season
lasts from mid December till the end of April).
After different periods of occupations, at the
beginning of the 10th century, Kars became the
seat of the Armenian Bagratid Kingdom until
it was supplanted by Ani as the capital. Later
it fell into the hands of the Seljuks
and the Georgians. After the Ottoman
conquest in 1514, Kars became an important
fortified place near the Russian border. It was
besieged many times by the Russians and was conquered
by them during the Crimean
War (1853-56), becoming the center of the
Turko-Russian war. Given back to the Turks, it
was again occupied between 1878 and 1920, when
it was granted to Turkey by the Treaty of Andrinople.
The town, built on a grid plan, reveals a stereotyped
architecture left the Russians.
Because of its location amid green pastures, the
region of Kars produces an excellent cheese. Kars
is also reputed for folk
Kars is linked to Ankara by daily flights.
founded by the Armenians, has a double wall which
delimits an inner citadel.
The Church of the Apostles
(10th century) is now a museum.
located in the lower town at the foot of the citadel,
is a good example of Ottoman stone bridge. Next
to it, there is an old hammam.
The Archaeological and
the ancient capital of the Bagratids,
is located on a plateau near the gorges
of the Arpa Çayı,
whose course has delimited the border between
Armenia and Turkey. Due to the proximity
of the border, an authorization for the
visit must be obtained from the Kars Tourism
Office, and countersigned by the police
The Armenian people who, at the time, was a prey to
civil wars, had to split into two kingdoms: the
Southern Kingdom in the region of Van,
and the Northern Kingdom in the hands of the Bagratids.
Ani was founded by Ashot Msaker (806-827) who
was a prince of the Bagratid family, but it was
made the Bagratid capital by Ashot III only in
961. In 993, during the construction of the cathedral,
the See of the Armenian Catholicos was transferred
here. This prosperous city owed to Sembat II its
double walls with four gates and round towers
still visible today. Weakened by fratricide wars,
Ani was also assaulted by the Georgians and threatened
by the Seljuks.
Hovhannes Sembat asked for the protection of the
in compensation of what, he bequeathed his kingdom
to them. Gagik II who did not hold his Uncles
word (who died in 1040) was forced to give it
up in 1045. Only a few years later, Ani was taken
by the Seljuks led by Alparslan.
The place came under the power of emirs then was
taken from Muslim hands by the Georgians. The
Armenian governors remained under their sovereignty
until the time of the devastating Mongol invasion
towards the middle of the 13th century. Trade
with the oriental countries was completely ruined
and Ani was depopulated and finally deserted.