Erzurum is accessible by rail and air as well as by road. THY offers scheduled flights both from Istanbul and from Ankara. The airport is only 5 km from the city centre. Erzurum-Ankara highway is 895 km. The findings from the excavations around Erzurum claim that the first settlements go as far back as the Neolithic and Calcolithic ages. 2000 BC Hittites first, and then by order the Urartians, the Persians, saw Alexander The Great and Roman rules here. After Byzantines it was Arabs. Then Seljuks took aver in 1080. Then it was the capital city of the Saltuk Emirates for some time from 1080 till 1201, and the name Erzurum was given then. Its being added into Ottoman boundaries is in 1517. Russians ruled it for numerous times until 1918. We can start from the Castle of Erzurum to get to know the city. The castle was built in the V century AD by the Byzantines. Surrounded by three circles of walls, and with 110 towers. The outer walls are not there today, but the square shaped inner castle is still there. The centre of the city is run by the Cumhuriyet Caddesi (Republic Street). Most of the historical buildings are located there. Ulu Mosque (1179) is a rectangular palled structure; on its south is the Tomb of Cimcime Sultan, a work from XIII century AD. Next to the Ulu Mosque is the Cifte Minareli Medresseh (Two Minaret Medresseh) that was arranged to be a Museum in 1942. It is one of the largest medressehs in Anatolia. Behind it is a cylindrical shaped tomb. The largest of the nearby toms is of Emir Saltuk. Another medresseh on the street is the Yakutiye Medresseh. The military governor Cemalettin Yakut had it built in 1310. The workmanship of the crown gate should not be missed to adore. One of the two minarets has fallen down. Down by the street are the Caferiye Mosque (1645) and the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque (1562) and the other mosques and the medressehs of the town; Murat Pasha (1574) and the Ahmediye Medresseh (1324) nearby, Kurlsunlu (1700s) and Pervizogiu (1716)and Seyhler (1760) medressehs. Erzurum is a large university city today.

The main tombs (kümbet) are the Karanlık Kümbet in Tahtacılar Street, the Gümüşlü Kümbet outside the Kars Gate, Rabia Hatun Kümbet at Hasan Basri Mahallesi, Ane Hatun Kümbet near Murat Pasha Mosque and the Mahmut Pasha Kümbet from 1794. There are also quite a few historical baths. Erzurum is also important in view of the history of the independence war and the republic. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the national liberationists held a congress in Erzurum between 23 July – 5 August. One another important location of the recent history is Aziziye Tabya 10 km away from the city. The Turkish army was retreating before the Russian forces on 27 October 1877, but with the support of the public they have shown a great resistance against them and they so succeeded in defeating the Russian army out of the country. The building that housed the commanding office is still there. The 1293 Monument and the grave of Nene Hatun are also there. Erzurum is a city of severe winters, and of man height snow falls that do not melt away before the summer.

Palandöken Mountains and the Skiing Centre

Palandöken has for long been a skiing centre for the local sportsmen.

Now it is a winter sports centre of international standards. It is only 15 minutes from Erzurum airport. It is now “so near” to you that you can start your skiing only 2:30 hours after you have boarded your flight at Istanbul airport. The longest skiing trail in Turkey is there with its full length of 7200 m. The elevation at its starting point is 3100-m and 2200-m at the finishing point. There are several connections from this trail to the others, which offer 20- km skiing trail possibility altogether. The skiing season is from October – November almost until end of May – June. The quality modern hotels, chair-lift, suitable snow quality make this spot a highlight for winter sports lovers.

Lake Tortum and the Waterfall

If it is summer, take a 57– km on the Erzurum – Artvin highway and go to Lake Tortum. The Tortum stream ends with a 50 m waterfall after having formed a lake with a tiny small island in it. Enjoying the scenery from certain viewing points is very impressing. A new Cappadocia near Narman province is notable. With its natural formations like the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia it is likely to be the Cappadocia of the east.

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