Erzurum is the highest major city in Turkey, it lies 6,400 feet (1,950 meters) above sea level in a fertile plain surrounded by high mountains. On a caravan route from Anatolia to Iran, Erzurum has been a major commercial and military center since antiquity and is now a major rail station on the route between Ankara and Iran.
Although its foundation was probably much earlier, Erzurum achieved real importance as Theodosiopolis, a 5th-century-CE Byzantine fortress that fell to the Arabs in 653. Thereafter it was disputed among the Byzantines, Arabs, and Armenians until taken by the Seljuq Turks in 1071; it prospered in the early 13th century under Seljuq sultans. The Arabs and the Turks called it Arzan al-Rūm, or Arz al-Rūm (“Land of the Romans”), from which its present name is derived. It came under Ottoman control in 1515. The city was occupied by Russian forces in 1829, 1878, and 1916–18. It was in Erzurum, in July 1919, that Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk) presided over the first Turkish nationalist congress, leading to the establishment of the Turkish republic.
The city is important as a center for trade in livestock, local craftsmen still excel in metalwork and saddlery. Historically important buildings include Seljuq theological colleges (1253 and 1308), the Great Mosque (12th century), and royal mausoleums (12th and 13th centuries). There is a local archaeological museum. Erzurum is the seat of Atatürk University (1957). The surrounding region is drained by the Karasu River, a headstream of the Euphrates, and the Aras and Çoruh rivers.
Oltutaşı (Oltu stone in Turkish) — This is a kind of amber that is extracted only in Oltu, a town near Erzurum. It is mostly chipped into jewelry, with different levels of quality and correspondingly different levels of prices.
The city is also known for different types of local cheese that is hard to find elsewhere in Turkey.
Kadayıf dolması — A must-taste local dessert of Erzurum cuisine. It is made from kadayıf, a sweet pastry that is lots of thin fibers of flour put together. Walnuts are stuffed in the kadayıf and the stuffed kadayıf is first fried, then cooled and finally ready to serve with the addition of a sweet sauce.
Cağ kebap — local kebab of Erzurum. It is made with lamb meat and the preparation is like döner, but unlike döner, instead of a vertical axis, the meat is cooked on a horizontal axis.
Whether you are already in the area for winter sports or otherwise, come experience the beauty, history, culture, and cuisine of Erzurum. Click Below to Experience a one day Erzurum City tour, a two-day trip to experience the city and major sites in the province of Erzurum
One Day City Tour Two Day Erzurum Tour