City Guide: Kars

9/1/23

5 Minute

City Guide: Kars

Kars is located in the Eastern Anatolia region of Türkiye, neighboring the Armenian border. Kars is a city that attracts attention both for its deep-rooted history, which includes remains from the Paleolithic period, and for its unique multiculturalism due to its geographical location. Archaeological excavations within the city limits have found remains dating back to the Paleolithic period two million years ago, and the city has been under the influence of Urartian, Cimmerian, Scythian, Median and Persian civilizations, as well as Armenian, Roman and Sassanid states.

The city, which due to its location on the historic Silk Road has always attracted the attention of powers seeking to gain sovereignty in the region, witnessed the rule of the Ilkhanids and the Golden Horde with the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Kars, which was part of the borders of the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, spent part of the 19th century under the rule of the Russian Tsardom. As a result of the Mudros Armistice Treaty signed at the end of World War I, which had serious consequences for the Ottoman Empire, the city came under British rule and remained within the borders of the Republic of Türkiye after the success of the Turkish War of Independence.

Kars has been the scene of constant changes in the civilizations that have dominated it since ancient times, as well as wars in recent history and changing ownership between the ruling powers in the region, and still protects the rich cultural assets that stem from this turbulent history. The city hosts one of the most important common heritages of humanity within its borders, the Archaeological Site of Ani, and is well worth seeing with its magnificent 12th century castle in the center and its buildings bearing the traces of the Baltic architecture of the Russians, who are said to have ruled the city for a time.

Kars has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, mainly thanks to the Eastern Express, which runs between Ankara and Kars and promises an authentic experience in addition to the museums and ruins.

Where to Go in Kars?

Kars Museum

Kars Museum

The first must-see spot in Kars is the Kars Museum, which has been in operation since 1959 and has been housed in its own modern building since 1981, divided into two halls where artifacts from the fields of archaeology and ethnography are exhibited.

The archaeology hall exhibits the remains found during excavations in the region, ranging from the Paleolithic to the Seljuk period. One of the most fascinating exhibits is a 40-kilogram ankle bone of Tyrannosaurus, a dinosaur that lived 65 million years ago. In addition to the ethnography room, which displays objects of daily life of the peoples living in the region, the museum also displays the chariot of Kaz─▒m Karabekir Pasha, the liberator of Kars and one of the heroes of the Turkish National Movement.

Military History Museum of the Caucasus Front

Military History Museum of the Caucaus Front

The building in the city, built at the beginning of the 19th century and also known as the Bloody Bastion because it was the scene of tragic events during the Ottoman-Russian conflicts of that period, is now open to visitors as the Military History Museum of the Caucasus Front. The museum, which uses an interactive museum concept and animates some scenes from the building's history, is a candidate to offer its visitors an exceptional experience.

Archaeological Site of Ani

Archaeological Site of Ani

The Archaeological Site of Ani in Kars, one of the most important centers of the common historical heritage of humanity, is a very important cultural asset of the city, known worldwide.

The site houses numerous monumental structures, some of which are well preserved to this day, belonging to important religions of Anatolian history such as Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam, and includes unique examples of Armenian, Eastern Roman, Seljuk and Georgian architecture, each with its own characteristics. The Archaeological Site of Ani, which resembles an open-air classroom where a unique architecture course can be held and is one of Türkiye's cultural properties included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, welcomes its visitors with a magical atmosphere.

We are waiting for you in Kars to breathe in the fairytale atmosphere and take a pleasant journey through history!

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