Erzurum, Turkey

Arzrum is revered as the main city in Asiatic Turkey. <…> The climate of Arzrum is harsh. The city is built in a hollow that rises 7,000 feet above the sea. The mountains surrounding it are covered with snow most of the year. The land is treeless, but fruitful. It is watered by many springs and crossed by aqueducts from everywhere. Arzrum is famous for its water. The Euphrates flows three versts from the city. But there are a lot of fountains everywhere. Everyone has a tin ladle on a chain, and good Muslims drink and do not boast.

S. Pushkin “Journey to Arzrum during the campaign of 1829”

The capital of the largest province of the same name in Eastern Anatolia is located 880 km east of Ankara at an altitude of more than 1700 m above sea level. The name of the city comes from the Persian arz-i rum, which means “the border of Rome.” A railway from Anatolia to Iran passes through Erzurum, built along the path of the trade caravan route that ran here in antiquity.

How to get there

By plane – Erzurum Airport is located 12 km from the city center to the northwest. It receives flights from the following Turkish cities: Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, Izmir, Trabzon.

By train from Ankara, Istanbul, Sivas, Kars and Kayseri.

The journey by bus from Ankara will take 13 hours, from Istanbul – 19 hours, from Trabzon – 6.

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A bit of history

Erzurum came under the control of the Ottoman Empire in 1515, and until that time the Byzantines, Arabs, Armenians, Seljuks disputed the right to possess the ancient Armenian city of Karin; the city was renamed Karano, Kalikalo, Theodosiopolis, and then Arz-al Rum. In 1829, Russian troops entered the city, later this will happen twice more – in 1878 and 1916. A. S. Pushkin was also a participant in that first campaign, later writing “Journey to Arzrum during the campaign of 1829”.

In modern Turkish history, Erzurum is known as the site of the 1923 congress with the participation of Kemal Atatürk, which adopted the doctrine of national borders, which determined the territories that now belong to the Republic of Turkey.

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Weather in Erzurum

The climate is continental with large fluctuations in daily temperature. Erzurum, located high above sea level, is one of the coldest cities in Turkey.

Entertainment and attractions of Erzurum


A stunning view of the city and its surroundings opens from the walls of the city citadel. The inner fortress was built at the beginning of the 5th century at an altitude of almost 2000 m above sea level. A small mosque of the 12th century with a conical roof and a minaret clock tower (beginning of the 12th century), the clock for which was presented by Queen Victoria, have been preserved in the fortress.

Chifte minareli madrasah

In Erzurum there is one of the largest educational institutions in Anatolia – Chifte minareli madrasah (XIII century). The madrasah owes its name to two twin minarets (chifte in the translation from Turkish “twins”). On the territory of the religious school, there was also a place for a small mosque, rooms for students and a mausoleum, which may have belonged to the daughter of Sultan Keykubad I.

Ulu Mosque

The central street of Erzurum – Cumhuriyet – most of the city’s attractions are concentrated on it, including the mosques of Lala Mustafa Pasha, Jaferiye and the impressive Ulu Mosque, built in 1179. Since that moment, Ulu has been reconstructed 5 times, and only the central nave and the wall facing Mecca, with three mihrabs, have survived from the mosque of the 12th century.

Museums of Erzurum

The ethnographic museum of Turkish and Islamic art exhibits samples of weapons, clothes of pilgrims to Mecca, dervish accessories and handmade jewelry and crafts made from obsidian, a mineral that is mined 150 km from Erzurum in mines near the city of Oltu.

The exposition of the Erzurum Museum presents archaeological finds relating to different historical periods: ancient Greek jewelry, glassware from the Roman era, ancient coins.


5 km south of Erzurum is the Palandöken ski center with slopes of different difficulty levels. The most favorable time for skiing is from December to May. The area for active winter recreation is located at an altitude of 2200-3100 m above sea level. The pleasant climate and well-developed tourist infrastructure make Palandöken very attractive in the eyes of tourists and sportsmen. This is confirmed by the fact that in February 2011 the XXV Winter Universiade was held in Erzurum.

Erzurum, Turkey