Main Attractions in Erzurum
Erzurum can compare with a Barcelona or Rome any day by sheer dint of its architectural splendors. The city lanes and street resemble veritable museums with magnificent edifices like the colossal Aziziye monument, which commemorates the Turko-Russian War and the remnants of architecture from the Seljuk Turk period.
The most notable Seljuk architecture is the Cifte Minareli Medrese, or theological college built by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in 1253, resplendent in its exquisite stone carvings. Its a two-tier design along with a vast courtyard and the spectacular double minarets and is regarded by many as the most perfect specimen. It is the largest theology school in Anatolia.
Other striking Seljuk creations in concrete are the atypical 12th century Ulu Mosque with its seven naves and innumerable columns and the 13th-century Hatuniye Turbesi, a mausoleum built in the memory of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat`s daughter.
The legendary Turkish architect Mimar Sinan`s creation, the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque is a site that definitely merits a visit as does the 13th-century Yakutiye Medrese with its opulently tiled minaret and a lovely portal.
The Uc Kumbetler is a group of three tombs, the most notable of which is that of Emir Saltuk, the founder of Saltuklu State. This double-layered tomb site holds a special place amidst all other tombs by virtue of the varied construction designs and embellishments used here.
The Erzurum Castle, the citadel and Bell Tower, the Rüstem Pasa Caravanserai and the Bedesten are some historical places of importance in Erzurum.
The Erzurum Castle lies on the ancient and legendary silk route of Horasan - Pasinler - Erzurum and is believed to be built by the Byzantines during the 5th century A.D. The Watch Tower, within the castle premises, is actually a minaret of a small mosque housed within the Erzurum Castle. Constructed atop a hill, the tower, also known as Tray Minaret and Tower, is a dominant fixture in the Erzurum skyline.
The Rüstem Pasa Bedesteni was constructed by the Grand Vizier of Kanuni, Sultan Süleyman Rüstem Pasa. It is a two-storied Ottoman-styled building, currently housing a shopping complex.
The Çobadede Bridge over the Aras River is considered an architectural marvel of the Anatolia region. Built by the Vizier Emir Çoban Salduz of Ilhans in 1297 - 98, this bridge comprises seven huge arches.
The Yakutiye Theology School, constructed by Hoca Celaleddin Yakut in 1310 B.C. is one of the intermittent structures of the Ilhanli Period that have survived till date.
Right at the centre of the city is the Owshank Church.
Erzurum also serves as the base to explore the nearby Georgian churches in the Kaçkar Mountains and Dogubayazit nestled amidst jagged peaks of Mount Ararat.