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 Erzurum is built at an altitude of over six thousand feet on a hill, which is surrounded by mountains of some ten thousand feet in height. The climate is healthful, but rigorous. Winter lasts eight and summer only four months.


Erzurum, the regional capital with a population of 400.000 and the leading mountain resort in Eastern Anatolia, is situated in a very high valley with an altitude of 2000 meters from sea level. Today, the city is a popular tourist haven for skiing and winter sports. Palandöken Mountain, just on the edge of the city, offers some of the best winter recreational activities in all of Turkey, allowing skiing until mid April.

The history of Erzurum dates as far back as 4000 BC. Excavations in and around the city have proven that many ancient civilizations were present such as the Urartians, Kimers, Scythians, Meds, Persians, Parts, Romans, Byzantines, Sasans, Arabs, Seljuks, Mongolians, Ilkhanids and Safas.

Having become the capital city of Eastern Anatolia under the leadership of the Seljuk Empire in the 12th century, Erzurum has undergone many name changes during the different dynasties. For centuries the city of Erzurum has played a very significant role as a crossroads where so many routes and civilizations converge as one.

Today, the city is characterized by many historical sites, which provide a unique appearance to the surroundings. Of these historical sites, the Double Minaret Medrese (or Çifte Minare) dating back to the 13th century is the most famous attraction of the area.  In the shadow of the Double Minaret Medrese, stands the Yakutiye Medrese, this was built in the 14th century, and served in the Ottoman Empire as a theological school. Today it stands as a Turkish and Islamic work of art and Ethnographic Museum where various ethnographic objects of the region are exhibited.

From 1514 until the forming of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 the Ottoman Empire ruled the City and its surroundings.   We can include the great Alexander and Timor amongst the important rulers who had control over the city and its surroundings.  The city’s function in the defense of the region has a close relation to its geographic structure.  The city has been established in a place where it can easily defend against any possible attack, which may come from the east.  The resistance movement against the west’s alliances at the beginning of the 20th Century started in Erzurum under the leadership of Atatürk.  Atatürk had gathered here the congress in which he laid the foundation of the national unity and independence movement on 23rd July 1919.

Historical work of art belonging to the ethnic groups and nationals mentioned above can be found in the City.  Most of these have been preserved to date, without being spoilt.  Along with these work of arts, which add to the natural beauty of our city there are many other natural beauties in existence to be discovered.

There is also a castle, built around the 5th century AD, which stands out as one of the relics of the Byzantium civilization. Added to these three main historical sites are the three tombs, the Lalapasa Mosque, Rustempasa Karawansaray, Atatürk House, the Congress Building and the Archaeological Museums.  Just outside the city of Erzurum lies many additional attractions. There are other beautiful places to visit such as the Tortum Waterfalls, the Çobandede Bridge and Narman Fairy Chimneys. Some thirty kilometers to the East is the ancient town of Hasankale with its magnificent Castle. The city is also surrounded by attractive towns, villages and many public natural hot spring baths.



From the point of altitude Erzurum is the only largest settlement in Anatolia where it is 1959 meters above sea level and is situated on a high plateau on the south west part of the region.  The settlement is on a plain that rises up to 2000 meters in some parts.  The region is surrounded by Mount Dumlu in the north and Mount Palandöken in the south.  The Silk Road and productive plains have played an important role in the preferring of this region as a settlement throughout history.  The city and its surroundings fall into an earthquake zone.  Turkey’s most rough climate effects this region, the spring and autumn are rainy, summers pass by hot and dry,  and the winters are cold and snowy.  The average temperature for the year is 6 degrees Celsius and the coldest month average is -8.3 degrees.  The average temperature for about 220 days of the year precedes under 8 degrees and the yearly average rainfall is noted as 460.5 m2 and is irregular.  The relative humidity is 60.3%.  The province’s total population according to the census in 1990 is 848,201 and the population living in the city and suburbs is around 362 thousand.   Twenty percent of the land is suitable for agriculture and the population’s main source of living is raising livestock.  Due to Erzurum’s geological structure, there are many hot spring baths in the region. Out of all the spring baths, Ilıca (15 km) Hasankale (38 km) and Soğukçermik (60 km) are the most important.  These hot spring baths are recommended for the treatment of rheumatism, sciatica and various gynecological illnesses.  Accommodation is available at the spring bath centers.

Traditional Dishes:

All regions of Eastern Anatolia have traditional dishes.  Erzurum owns a wide range of food culture.  The main dishes of this culture are, stuffed cabbage, stuffed kadayif (sweet), Su böreği (special thin layers of pastry) , yogurt soup with coriander and cağ kebab.

Folk Dances:

The folk dances in Erzurum are called “Bar”.  The Bar’s history dates back to the old middle Asian Altay tribes.  Men and Women dance separately in Erzurum’s folk dances. 

The Bar group of Atatürk University and Erzurum’s Folk Dance and Song Club have gained many medals from various international folk dance festivals.  The Bar dance is a symbol of honesty and bravery.  Erzurum also owns wide resources of folk songs.

Erzurum hand crafts/Oltu stone

Erzurum is famous for its jewelry and Oltu stone craftsmanship. Oltu stone which is semi valuable in grade, also known as Kehribar (amber) is unique to Erzurum. While bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings, hair grips and combs are made for women along with gold and silver, prayer beads, mouth pieces and rings etc are made for men.  These products are sold at the Rüstem Pasha bazaar.  This bazaar, which is a work of art is also called Tashan and was built upon the request of Rüstem Pasha who was the grand vizier of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror.  The two floor building which carries the specialties of the Ottoman architecture is still in use as a bazaar.

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