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Erzurum, the largest city in eastern Anatolia, sprawls on a high plateau at an altitude of 1,950 meters. As you enter the city, the large Aziziye Monument commemorating the Turkish-Russian war will catch your eye.Although the collection in the archaeological museum reveals much of the city's history and ancient origins, it is Erzurum's architecture which is in fact the best picture of its past.
The city walls and fortress are reminiscent of the period of Byzantine rule. The 5th-century citadel built by Emperor Theodosius stands on a hill at an altitude of 2000 meters. Of particular importance are the remaining Seljuk buildings - brilliant examples of a fascinating aesthetic. more
The Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque) was built in 1179 by Melik Nasreddin Mehmet (Mehmet the Red Lion). It has an unusual form with seven wide naves.
The Cifte Minareli Medrese, or theological college, built by the SeljukSultan Alaeddin Keykubat in 1253, astonishes visitors with elaborate stone carvings on its portal and its majestic double minarets. Behind the Cifte Minareii Medrese stands the Üç Kumbetler, a group of three tombs, the most notable of which is that of Emir Saltuk.
The 13th-century Hatuniye Turbesi, or mausoleum, was built for Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat's daughter. The beautiful portal and richly-tiled minaret of the 13th-century Yakutiye Medrese reveal another facet of Seljuk architecture. You can also see Ottoman buildings in Erzurum.
The great architect Sinan left his mark on the city in the Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque. The Ataturk house and museum where Ataturk stayed and held a congress are near the mosque.
While wandering around the city, notice the local black stone (Erzurum Oltu Tasi) which is used in jewelry. The shops on the upper floor of the Tashan (Rustem Pasa Caravanserai) offer the best selection.
A road through splendid mountain scenery leads to the winter sports resort of Palandöken, only 6 km from Erzurum. This center has a number of hotels as well as the longest ski run and the best snow quality in Turkey, making it a favorite haunt of expert skiers.
Be sure to see the Tortum Waterfalls at the north end of the lake that plunge from a height of 47 meters. (After the rushing torrents of the April-to-June snow-melt clears the falls, the flow of water slows considerably).