Devils Castel, Cildir
standing at an altitude of 1750 meters, has played an importantrole in
Turkish history and was at the center of the Turkish-Russian War. The
Russian legacycan still be seen in much of the Town's architecture. The
lower city unfolds at the foot of an impressive Seljuk fortress of the 12th
century. Nearby, the Havariler Museum (the 10th-century Church of the
Apostles) reveals a curious mixtureof architectual influences. Bas-reliefs
representing the twelveapostles in rather stiff and awkward poses, ring the
exteriordrum of the dome. The Archaeological Museum houses beautiful wood-carvings,
an excellent collection of coins found in the surrounding region, as well as
many ethnographic items relating to eastern Turkey. Kars is particularly
known for its distinctive kilims and carpets,and it retains a strong
heritage of folk dancing. Visitors alwaysseem to enjoy this traditional
entertainment. On the mountain pastures, villagers produce excellent Kasar
cheese and delicious honey.
Forty-two kilometers east of the city on the ancient Silk Road, the medieval
city of Ani (Ocakli) lies mostly in ruins. Impressive fortified walls still
encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravanserais.
Sarikamis (53 km southwest of Kars) is a ski center with resort hotels,
setin a scenic pine forest.
The Kur river divides Ardahan and separates the ancient parton one side and
the new city on the other. A 16th - century castlebuilt by Sultan Selim the
Grim, one of the most stately citadels in Turkey with 14 towers and a span
of 745 meters, stands in the old part of the city.
Cildir takes its name from the nearby lake which lies at an altitude of 1965
meters. The scenic area around the lake provides a habitat for a fascinating
variety of birds. In the lake, the man-made Akcakale Island was reputedly
constructed with the labor of thousands; a temple with Urartian inscriptions
remains. Seytan Kalesi (Devil's Castle) is near Cildir.
The city of Igdir stands on a large, fertile plain on which fruit and,
unusually for this geographical region, cotton grow. The Bible relates that
when the flood waters receded, Noah andhis family descended from Mount Agri
(Ararat) toward the fertile Igdir plain. From here, their progeny settled
tothe south and west along the Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) rivers,
establishing the second generation of mankind. From this plain, you have the
best view of Mount Agri. Monuments to visit near the city include Urartian
rock monuments, a 13th - century Seljuk Caravanserai and the Karakale (Black
Castle). In Karakoyun village, on the road between Igdir and Aralik, you
should stop at the impressive 15th-century cemeteries with Karakoyun (ram
and ewe) monumental tombstones.