Where to Visit in Erzurum

Erzurum is a city in eastern Anatolia, Turkey. It is the largest city and capital of Erzurum Province and is 1,900 meters (6,233 feet) above sea level. Erzurum had a population of 367,250 in 2010. The city uses the double-headed eagle as its coat-of-arms, a motif that has been a common symbol throughout Anatolia since the Bronze Age. Erzurum has winter sports  facilities and hosted the 2011 Winter Universiade.

The city was originally known in Armenian as Karno K’aghak’, meaning city of Karin, to distinguish it from the district of Karin It is presumed its name was derived from a local tribe called the Karenitis. An alternate theory contends that a local princely family, the Kamsarakans, the Armenian off-shoot of the Iranian Kārin Pahlav family, lent its name to the locale that eventually became the city.

During Roman times, Erzurum was named Theodosiopolis. After the Arab conquest of Armenia in the seventh century, the city was known to the Arabs as Kālīkalā (adopted from the original Armenian name Karno K’aghak’, meaning “Karin City”, to distinguish it from the district of Karin.

It received its present name after its conquest by the Seljuk Turks following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. In 1048/49, a neighboring commercial city named Artze was heavily sacked by the Seljuks. Its Armenian,  Syrian, and other Christian inhabitants moved to Theodosiopolis, which they began calling “Artsn Rum”  to distinguish it from their former residence. Some older sources derive the name Erzurum from the Arabic Arḍ ar-Rūm “land of the Rûm.” During the brief period it came under Georgian rule, the city was known as Karnu-kalaki

The main bus station has bus links to most major Turkish cities. Erzurum is also the main railroad endpoint for the Eastern Anatolia region. Erzurum Airport, also used by the Turkish Air Force, has the second longest runway in Turkey.

Little of medieval Erzurum survives beyond scattered individual buildings such as the citadel fortress, and the 13th century  Çifte Minareli Medrese (the “Twin Minaret” madrasa). Visitors may also wish to visit the Çobandede Bridge, which dates back to late 13th century, the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and the Grand Mosque.

Six kilometres to the south of the center of Erzurum is an important skiing center on the Palandöken Mountain range. There are several ski runs; the south ski run is eight km long, while the north ski run is intended for advanced skiers. The summit of Mt. Palandöken, which is called Büyük Ejder (Great Dragon), is at an altitude of 3188 metres. It can be reached with a chairlift which rises to an altitude of 3100 metres. Nine kilometres to the west of Erzurum, in the village of Gezköy, stands the ruined Monastery of Saint Minas of Kes.

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