Cifte Minare, Erzurum
Oltu Chuch, Erzurum
193 km east of Erzincan and the largest city in easternAnatolia, sprawls on
a high plateau at an altitude of 1950 meters. As you enter the city, the
large Aziziye monument commemoratingthe Turkish-Russian war will catch your
Although the collection in the archaelogical museum reveals muchof the
city's history and ancient origins, it is Erzurum's architecturewhich is in
fact the city's best museum. The city walls and fortressremind one of the
period of Byzantine rule. And particularly important are the remaining
Seljuk buildings -brilliant examples of a fascinatingaesthetic. The Ulu
Mosque, built in 1179, has an unusual formwith seven wide naves. The Cifte
Minareli Medrese, or theologicalcollege, built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin
Keykubat in 1253,astonishes with the elobarote stone carvings on its portal
andits majestic double minarets. Behind the Cifte Minareli Medresestands the
Uc Kumbetler, a group of three tombs, the most notableof 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-centuryYakutiye Medrese reveals another facet of Seljuk
architecture.You can also see
Ottoman buildings in Erzurum; the great
architectSinan left his mark on the city with the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque.
While wandering around the city, notice the local black stonewhich is used
in jewelry. The shops on the upper floor of theTashan (Rustem Pasha
Caravanseria) offer the best selection of items.
A road through splendid mountain scenery leads to the winter sportsresort of
Palandoken, only 6 km from Erzurum. This center hashotels, the longest ski-run
and the best snow quality in Turkey,and is a favorate haunt of expert skiers.
The glassy Tortum Lake,120 km from Erzurum towards Artvin and the Black Sea,
may be themost tranquil sight in all of Turkey. Be sure to see the Tortum
Waterfalls at the north end of the lake, plunging from a heightof 47 meters.