Culture and Creative Tourism in Erzurum



Erzurum, built at the feet of Palandöken Mountain Range, had been the economical and political center of the neighborhood throughout its history of 6000 years. In Erzurum which is one of the oldest settlement centers of Anatolia, many remnants belonging to Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have survived until today. Beside historical artifacts, Erzurum draws attention with traditional folk dances, handicrafts which are continually produced and local flavors.

erzurum-kalesi-1Erzurum Castle comprises of an inner castle which provides security of the city and keeps guarding soldiers and an outer castle where the public is settled. The inner castle part succeeded to reach today. First construction of Erzurum Castle reaches back until Urartu Civilization of 900 B.C. The castle existing today is a work-of-art for Theodosius, the Byzantine Emperor. Saltukoğulları built up the “Castle Mescid” and a minaret here in 12th century. Süleyman the Magnificent and II. Mahmut repaired the castle thoroughly. The minaret inside the castle was turned into a “Clock Tower” in 1848.

saat-kulesiIt is one of the oldest and noble Turkish constructions of Erzurum. It was made built by “İnanç Yabgu Alp Tuğrul Beg Ebü’l Muzaffer Gazi bin Ebü’l Kasım” titeled “Şemsü’l- Müluk ve’l-ümem” from Saltuklular in the middle of 12th century. Clock Tower is adjacent to the northern side of the western wall of the inner castle standing today. Upper side of the minaret was demolished at the beginning of the 16th century and it was began to be used as a “Clock Tower” by adding a clock and as a watch-tower as well first in 1848 and then in 1881.

pasinler-kalesiIt is in the center of the town Pasinler. It was built by Hasan Bey, the son of Hacı Toğay, who was an İlhanlı Amir in 1339. Gate and walls of the inner castle which were made of dimension stone and rubble stone could survive. First introduction of the castle to Turks was by “Pasinler Battle” between Seljuks and Byzantines in 1048.

oltu-kalesiThe castle found on a hill near Oltu Streamlet in the center of the town Oltu was made built by the Urartian in 4 B.C. The inner castle found on natural rocks and named “Ehmedek” today stands in front of us with all magnificence. On the northeastern edge of the castle, over a steep and a high bastion, there is a chapel remaining on the base level.

ispir-kalesiIt is located on an escarpment bordering Çoruh River on the west and the south  in the town İspir. The first construction of İspir Castle reaches back to the Urartians. The surviving castle was built in the peri- od of İlhanlılar in the 13th century. There is a mescid  which has remained from the Saltukians inside the castle.

erzurum-tabyalariErzurum bastions are important works-of-art carrying bitter memories of the 19th century. Bastions  were established on 21 strategic points  of the city against dangers from the east  during the regression period  of the Ottoman Empire. Especially Aziziye and Mescidiye Bastions  played  a crucial role in the Ottoman- Russian War named “93 Harbi” between 1877-1878. The defense of Aziziye had been a stage to bravery of the public and enabled the city to be rescued from invasion. The public of Erzurum arrange a marching to the bastions in anniversaries of the defense and memorialize their heroes each  year.

yakutiye-medresesiThe work-of-art  which was made built by Hoca Yakut Gazani in 1310 in İlhanlılar period  is the biggest of the madrasas with a covered yard in Anatolia. The madrasa forms a great  view with a balanced architecture, large motive ornamentations, its crown gate  protruding to the outside of the facade, with a sunken  arch and carvings. Date leaves, leopard and eagle figures are major symbols  of the Middle Asian Turks. 6 cradle vaulted  rooms  stand in line facing one another on both  sides of the yard. Additionally one can reach  to the minaret from the room on the right corner. Its geometrical motives  and minaret adorned with ceramics  draw attention. Yahudiye Madrasa  have served as Museum of İslamic Works-of-Art and Ethnography since 1994.

cifte-minareli-medreseDouble Minaret Madrasa built at the end of the 13th century is one of the most important,  remaining  works-of-art of the Seljukian Civilization and a symbol of Erzurum as well. Ornamentations found particularly at the crown gate  of the madrasa display the depth and the aesthetics perspective of Seljukian stone decoration. Palmet  and rumi motives  and two-headed eagle, the symbol of Seljukians, and tree of life figures draw attention. Half minarets  which are mentioned in legends and the mosque’s ceramics  are charming. Double Minaret Madrasa is one of the most  important madrasas of its time. The mausoleum on the south  of the yard is titled as the biggest mausoleum of that  period.

erzurum-ulu-camiiUlu Mosque, one of the oldest  and the most  prominent mosques in Erzurum, was made built by Nasreddin Aslan Mehmet, a Saltukian Amir in 1179. The rectangular shaped mosque reflects the architectural perspective of the Seljuks with its thick stone columns, swallow cupola, mihrab and minaret. There are 40 columns  inside the mosque illuminated with 28 windows. The mosque has five doors, two on the east  and three  on the north.

murat-pasa-camiiIt was made built by Kuyucu Murat Pasha in 1573. The ham am next to the construction forms a social complex together with Ana Hatun Mausoleum and Ahmediye Madrasa. The dome, squinches and arches of the mosque are ornamented with flower and leaf motives in European style by painting on plaster in the 19th century. Original wooden door, mimber and window lids are of the best illustrations of Ottoman woodwork.


gurcu-kapisi-camiiIt was made built by Zakreci Ali Ağa who served in Erzurum in 1608. It is known with the name Ali Ağa Mosque. The square shaped prayer place is covered with a central dome  fitting on squinches on sides.

kursunlu-camiiKurşunlu Mosque which was made built by Şeyhülislâm Feyzullah Efendi in 1701 is among the work-of-art  belonging to the Ottoman period. The square planned construction made of stone is covered with a dome fitting on six drums. Wooden minbar of the construction is one of the best  samples of Turkish woodwork.

narmanli-camiiIt is situated on the east of Double Minaret Madrasa in Tebriz Kapı neighborhood. The work-of-art  was made built by Narmanlı Hacı Yusuf in 1738 according to a four row inscription on the door. Narmanlı Mosque has one big dome  and five small domes on sides. The mosque made of straight dimension  stones draws attention with its craftsmanship.

ibrahim-pasa-camiiIt was made built by İbrahim Ethem  Pasha, Erzurum governor in 1748. The square planned mosque with a single dome  was made of white color marble stone. The narthex  in front of the mosque has three  domes with four columns  linked together with arches. Mihrab of the mosque is of marble.

caferiye-camiiIt was made built by Hacı Cafer, the son of Ebubekir, in 1645. Three domes which open  to the forth and to sides, are carried by four columns  and hidden  within the inclined ground were revealed during restorations in 2006 in front of the construction. The inner area is covered by a single dome  fitting on squinches on sides.

lalapasa-camiiIt was made built by Lala Mustafa Pasha, Erzurum governor, in 1562. It is the first mosque built in Erzurum during the Ottoman period. The architecture of the work-of-art  belongs to Architect  Sinan. The inscriptions  on windows of the mosque illuminating the inner side are of unique calligraphy samples. Inside the narthex, there is a firman dated 1670, narrating  that 4. Mehmed brought tax exemption to the public.

uc-kumbetler-camiiÜç Kümbetler  is among the best  mausolea in Anatolia. The biggest of these mausolea which is supposed to be built in the late 12th century and belong  to Emir Saltuk. Animal relievo on this one are zodiac figures of Middle Eastern  Turks. The other  two mausolea are the 14th century works-of-art.

arslan-pasa-kulliyesiIt is found in the town center of Oltu. It was made built by Arslan Mehmed Pasha, the safeguard of Kars from Çıldır Atabeks, in 1664. The social complex  was established involving a mosque, madrasa, han, hamam  and a palace.

ebu-ishak-kazeruni-kulliyesiIt belongs to Ebu İshak Hazretleri of the biggest Islamic philosopher. Construction date of the mausoleum on the fortification wall bounding the inner castle  to Double Minaret Madrasa is not exactly known.

cimcime-sultan-kumbetiThe tomb  known to belong  to a woman  named Firuze was built in the 14th century. The body  of the bastion with a round  base  was designed in accordance with the base.

abdurrahman-gazi-turbesiHier lies Abdurrahman Gazi Hz., a sahabe (companion), who served as flag-bearer for Hz. Muhammed’in  (s.a.v). The mausoleum was made built by Ayşe Hanım who was the wife of Yusuf Ziya Pasha, Erzurum governor, in 1796 and a mosque was added next to it.

rustem-pasa-kervansarayiIt was made built by Rüstem  Pasha, the grand  vizier of Süleyman  the Magnificent, in 1561. The construction is one of the most  beautiful Ottoman caravanserai samples. This work-of-art  named Taşhan currently serves  as a production and a sales place of Oltu stone artisans.

erzurum-arkeoloji-muzesiThe museum which was in service first in Yahudiye Madrasa in 1944 and later in Double Minaret Madrasa in 1947 began to serve  in its current  building in 1968. The museum includes a II thousand B.C. Trans-Kafkas Culture Hall, an Urartu Hall and an Armenian Extermination Hall. In the exhibition hall of the museum,  informative pieces  in various matters such as cultural development, production, life style, art, believes  and traditions of communities who used  to exist in the neighborhood are being displayed.

osvank-kilisesiIt is in Çamlıyamaç  Village in the town Uzundere. It was made built by Magistras Bagrat  in 973 during the time of Gürcü Bagratlı Dynasty. Öşvank Church, interesting with its colorful stone adornments and relief figures, is one of the leading  religious constructions of the 10th century. The work-of-art  included  a hamam, bedroom, baptistery, priest  houses,  kitchen and a library.

erzurum-kongresi-binasiThe construction which was aimed to be İdadi Mektebi (high school)  in 1867 is the main symbol of War of Independence history. Erzurum Congress assembled in this building in leadership of Atatürk in 23 July 1919. Foundations of Turkish Republic were laid during this congress addressing Unity of the Nation. The building Congress Hall of which was turned into a museum today serves  as a High School for Fine Arts.

cobandere-koprusuIt is found on the north side of and 15 km away from Pasinler on Erzurum-Horasan Highway. The bridge  found on the historical Silk Road route was made built by Salduzlu Emir Çoban  Noyin, the vizier of Gazan Han (1295-1304), an İlhanlı ruler, in 1298. The construction form and head  of bridge design  reflect Seljuck and İlhanlı architectural styles. The bridge built on the conjunction point of Karga Pazarı and Aras River has the length of 128 m and the width of 8.5 m.

ataturk-eviIt was built as a mansion  in the 19th century. Mustafa Kemal Pasha  with his companions who came Erzurum in 3 July 1919 stayed in this house for 52 days. The construction with two stairs upon  the basement currently serve as a museum.

haho-kilisesi-tas-camiiIt is in Bagbaşı  Village in the town Tortum. The construction known as Meryem Ana Church was made built by III. David, a Bagratlı King, in 1001. The construction, turned into a mosque in the 19th century, was named to be Stone  Mosque.

dokumacilikIn Erzurum named Kalikala meaning Carpet  City for a period  of time, weaving has an important place. Erzurum carpet business is recently  kept alive by Public Education Directorate and in Carpet  Atelier of Atatürk University, Faculty of Fine Arts. Ehram is one of the main woven products. Ehram is an outdoor clothing woven completely in sheep’s wool and used  by women  in one piece  as an outgoing robe. Ehram weaving loom is found in Ilıca Quarter.

saraclikIt is an art of making and  repairing leather and  buff parts of car harnesses, suits  for mount and  pulling animals,  saddles. Artisans who manage this art are called  saraç in Turkish. Today there are only two saraç in the saddlery in Gürcükapı Quarter in Erzurum.


barFolk dances performed in Erzurum  vicinity are cal- led “bar”. Bar means unity and  solidarity. Women and  men  bars  are performed in different ways. Men bars  have  18 categories, while the number is 15 for women. They are performed in special days, during celebrations and  several organizations.

oltu-tasi-islemeciligiOltu stone is a black, solid, bright, polishable  and trimmable  lignite type with tinder fractures. Accessories like mouthpiece, rosary, pin, earring, ring and bracelet are produced from Oltu stone which can be used  together with gold and silver. Oltu stone ateliers are found in Taşhan and in different parts  of the city.

ciritJavelin, based on fighting of mankind using horses, is accepted as a demonstration of masculinity. It is a game played by the  Turks since  centuries ago. This game combining movements of horse and  man  during wars is played on a javelin square.




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