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Kars - The Caucasus Gate

Kars is the city called the "Caucasus Gate" of Eastern Anatolia. The city was founded at the eastern side of the Kars Stream, which merges with the Arpacay. The city is composed of two parts, the Old Kars and the New Kars. The Old Kars was founded around the Kars Citadel, located on a hill to the north, and the core of it is formed by the Kaleici District. The New Kars which was founded after 1878, extends towards the plain. The significant difference between the new city, which was built according to a systematic plan, where the streets and avenues intersect each other perpendicularly, and the old city with its narrow and irregular streets, can be noticed readily. There are some structures built by the Russians in Kars. The city was occupied by the Russians three times in 1828, 1855 and 1877, and was under Russian sovereignty for approximately forty years during the third occupation.

The historical Kars Citadel, the symbol of the city, was constructed by Saltukoglu Izzeddin Han in 1152. The Citadel, which was repaired many times, has two sections, the inner section and the outer section. Only seven of the 220 towers have lasted until the present. The Museum of Apostles is located to the south of the Kars Citadel. The museum is an old church constructed for the 12 Apostles in the tenth century. There are reliefs of the twelve apostles between the exterior window arches of the building.

The most important historical city around Kars is Ani. Ani, which was founded as a fortress city, became the capital of the Bagratid Kingdom in the tenth century. The city walls in the ancient city, the Menucehr Mosque, the Seljuk Palace and the Museum-Churches of Nakisli, Keseli, the Virgin Mary and Abugamrents are worth seeing.

Kars is known for its rich folklore, carpets and kilims made by using natural dyes, kasar cheese and honey. The fact that various Turkish tribes lived in the region caused the folk music and dances to be very colorful and diverse.

Sarikamis, a county of Kars Province, is surrounded by forests and known for its natural beauties. The monument erected in memory of the Turkish martyrs who died during the First World War in Sarikamis and the Hunting Lodge built for the Russian Tsar Nikola are worth seeing. Sarikamis is at the same time the winter sports center of the entire region.