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Coat of arms of Erzurum
Erzurum (Turkey)
Red pog.svg
View from the castle to the south. Left behind the Çifte Minare Medrese, right in front of it the Great Mosque
Basic data
Province (il) : Erzurum
Coordinates : 39 ° 55 '  N , 41 ° 17'  E Coordinates: 39 ° 54 '35 "  N , 41 ° 16' 32"  E
Height : 1950  m
Residents : 762,321 (2015)
Telephone code : (+90) 442
Postal code : 25,000
License plate : 25th
Structure and administration (as of 2019)
Mayor : Mehmet Sekmen ( AKP )
Template: Infobox Location in Turkey / Maintenance / District Without Inhabitants Or Area

Erzurum , Armenian Էրզրում Ersrum , Կարին Karin or Արծն Arzen , Kurdish Erzîrom / Erzirom , with around 762,321 inhabitants is the largest city in Eastern Anatolia and the capital of the province of the same name in Erzurum in eastern Turkey . Erzurum is a Büyükşehir Belediyesi (big city municipality) and since the last territorial reform, population and area are identical to the province.

In the modern planned city with wide thoroughfares, several important buildings from the Seljuk and Ottoman times have been preserved, most of which were built between the 12th and 18th centuries. These include madrasas , mosques, tombs ( Türben ) and a citadel on the hill Old Town. Five kilometers south of the city, on the slope of Palandöken Dağı, is one of the most popular ski areas in the country.

Location and climate

Erzurum is located 1,300 kilometers east of Istanbul at an altitude of 1950 meters on a wide high plateau that drains into the Euphrates and forms the southeastern edge of the Aşkale plain. A few kilometers to the east, a range of hills called Deveboynu ("camel neck") delimits the urban area from the Pasinler plain. The surrounding hills are sparsely populated pastureland, and large areas of grain are grown in the plains. The mountain range of the Palandöken Dağları in the south of Erzurum reaches a height of over 3100 meters with several peaks, the highest peak of the mountains that bound the plain in the north is the Dumlu Dağı with 3169 meters. The Karasu , one of the two source rivers of the Euphrates, has its source here.

The climate is continental with hot dry summers from June to September and long winters with lots of precipitation, during which the temperature can drop below minus 35 ° C.

Erzurum, Yakutiye (1860 m)
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: State Meteorological Office of the Turkish Republic, data 1926–2016
Average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Erzurum, Yakutiye (1860 m)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) -4.0 -2.4 2.4 10.9 16.8 21.7 26.4 27.1 22.6 15.1 6.8 -1.1 O 11.9
Min. Temperature (° C) -13.9 -12.6 -7.2 0.1 4.4 7.4 11.2 11.2 6.5 1.8 -3.6 -10.3 O −0.4
Temperature (° C) -9.1 -7.7 -2.5 5.3 10.7 14.9 19.3 19.5 14.7 8.1 1.0 -6.0 O 5.7
Precipitation ( mm ) 22.5 27.3 35.0 53.5 73.1 49.1 26.8 17.5 23.9 48.2 33.3 22.6 Σ 432.8
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 3.2 4.3 5.1 6.3 7.9 10.2 11.2 10.6 9.0 6.7 4.8 3.0 O 6.9
Rainy days ( d ) 11.2 11.2 12.3 13.8 16.1 11.0 6.6 5.2 5.1 9.6 9.3 10.7 Σ 122.1
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

The E 80 leads from Erzincan , 190 kilometers west, via Erzurum to Ağrı , 175 kilometers east. To the south, a road branches off over a 2380 meter high pass in the Palandöken Mountains to Bingöl , another road to the north runs from the small town of Tortum in the Çoruh valley towards Artvin . The airport Erzurum is located eleven kilometers north-west.

In the Middle Ages and the Ottoman Empire , Erzurum was an important trading center at the junction of several long-distance routes. Via Aşkale and Bayburt , the city was connected to Trabzon on the Black Sea via a trade route corresponding to today's E 97 . The traders moved east via Kars or Ağrı to Persia, others made a bow to the southeast via Lake Van and from there on to Persia. On the standard route to the west via Erzurum, they crossed the Karasu on the Kötür Bridge near Tercan .


The area around Erzurum probably belonged to Diaueḫe in Urartian times . A first settlement with the Armenian name Karin at the current location has been documented since the time of the Artaxids . At the beginning of the 5th century, the Byzantines under Emperor Theodosius II expanded the city into a fortress and named it Theodosiopolis . The Deveboynu hill immediately to the east of the city formed the border with the Persarmenia area , the Pasinler plain beyond the flat hill was controlled by the Sassanids . Their attacks were most likely at this valley crossing. In fact, Theodosiopolis was besieged during the Persian-Roman War from 421 to 422 by troops of the Sassanid king Bahram V. The city was lost to the Persians for a short time in 502 , but was recaptured.

Theodosiopolis was the seat of a bishop. The diocese became the titular Catholic diocese of Theodosiopolis in Armenia and belonged to the province of Armenia III , which is also known as Theodosiapolitanus in Cappadocia . It has not been occupied since 1964. The city came under Umayyad rule in the course of the Arab expansion from 655 to 751 , while the western Armenian city of Yerznka (today Erzincan ) was the seat of a bishop in 680. In the middle of the 8th century Theodosiopolis came temporarily into Byzantine hands and was almost conquered in 771/772 during an uprising of Armenian ruling families ( nakharas ). After that the city was again an Arab military post, which the Byzantines conquered again in 947. They founded the unfortified city of Artsn on the Erzurum plain, to which some residents of Erzurum relocated. Trade relations existed between the two cities. In 979 the Byzantines handed over the area around Erzurum to the Georgian ruler David III. With his death in 1000 it came back to the Byzantines.

In Arabic sources, Erzurum was called Qālīqalā or Qālī , after the ancient Qarin (also in Armenian Qarnoi Qalak ). The Seljuks called them Arzan al-Rûm , Arzan-i Rûm or Arz-i Rûm . The city of Artsn (Arzan) was destroyed by the Seljuq invasion. Rûm is derived from the Rhomeans .

Erzurum, 1856

Erzurum developed into an important trading post under Byzantine and Seljuk rule by the 15th century. The city was the center of the Saltukids from 1071 to 1202 and was conquered by the Seljuks in 1230. The conquests of the Mongols in the middle of the 13th century, during which they took the city in 1242/43, led to an economic decline; until the completion of Yakutiye Medresesi 1310 there is no evidence of any noteworthy construction activity. In 1402 Erzurum was the starting point for Timur's attack against the Ottoman army under Sultan Bayezid I. In 1520 the city was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and received its current name.

Erzurum towards the end of the First World War.

Although Erzurum was an important military camp in Ottoman times, the housing estates in the east, south and west extended far beyond the walled city area, and most of the Muslim tombs (Turkish kümbet , from Persian gonbad ) were built outside. Armenians in particular lived in the outskirts as they were gradually being ousted from the inner city. The fortified city was the residential area of ​​the distinguished Muslim families. Erzurum was the capital of an Eyâlet , which was replaced by the Vilâyet Erzurum with the administrative reform at the end of the 19th century .

In the 19th century, Russian troops occupied Erzurum several times. Presumably they damaged the Çifte Minare Medresesi so badly during the Russo-Ottoman War of 1828/29 that the cannon foundry that had existed there since at least the beginning of the 17th century had to be relocated to the Yakutiye Medresesi in the city center around 1837 . In 1829 the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin undertook a trip to Erzurum on his own to join the fighting Russian army. He reported on this in his diary, Die Reise nach Arzrum , published in 1836 during the campaign of 1829 . In 1830 the Russian troops withdrew from the district, many Armenians from the city and the surrounding villages were forced to go with them. During the war of 1877/78 , Russian troops conquered the city again in February 1878, to the detriment of the historical building fabric.

In 1838 a Church of Our Lady ( Surb Astvatsatsin ) was built as the Armenian Apostolic Bishopric . The Armenian Sanasarian College , founded in 1881, served primarily to train teachers until it moved to Sivas in 1912. Before the genocide in 1915, Armenians made up a large part of the city's population. The deportation of the Armenians from Erzurum began on June 14, 1915. In the Battle of Erzurum in February 1916, the Russian army defeated the Ottoman troops entrenched in the city.

From July 27 to August 7, 1919, the first Turkish National Congress took place under the leadership of Ataturk in Erzurum, which played an important role in the founding of the republic in 1923. After the Second World War, Erzurum regained its economic role mainly through trade with Iran and as a large garrison town.

The Great Mosque was damaged in an earthquake in 1964. Also in 1983 Erzurum was shaken by an earthquake.


The provincial capital is one of the cultural centers in eastern Turkey and the seat of Ataturk University ( Ataturk Üniversitesi ). The historical sights, good shopping (carpets and jewelry made of so-called black amber , oltu taşı ) and the winter sports area Palandöken make Erzurum a tourist center. In 2010 the five ski jumps at Kiremitliktepe were completed. The Winter Universiade took place there from January 27 to February 6, 2011 .

In the east, near the Ottoman city wall from 1535, the castle hill towers over the small old town with its winding streets and simple houses, which are falling into disrepair. To the south of the castle are the Çifte Minare Medresesi , the Great Mosque, a short distance from one another , and a little further south up a hill outside the old city wall, three doorways, in Turkish Üç Kümbetler. The main shopping street is Cumhuriyet Caddesi, which runs from east to west from the now gone city gate ( Tabriz kapı ) . There are several mosques lining them up to the Yakutiye Medresesi on the central square. From here it is two kilometers to the large bus station on the western outskirts. The train station is about one kilometer northwest of the center.

Çifte Minare Medressa

Çifte Minare Medressa

The "double minaret medrese" (Çifte Minare Medresesi) , also Çifte Minareli or " madrasah of the woman / princess" (Hatuniye Medresesi) was built or restored around 1260 or 1270. JM Rogers dates the laying of the foundation stone to 1230, shortly after construction began on the Divriği Mosque in the city of the same name, which has similar design elements inside. In 1242, with the Mongol invasion, construction work in Erzurum came to a standstill. The building could have been restored around 1270. The Çifte Minare Medresesi bordered on the east side of the former city wall. A comparison of the design elements shows that the Çifte Minare Medresesi must have served as a model for the Gök Medresesi in Sivas , which was completed in 1271 . Until around the end of the 16th century, the building was used as intended as a religious educational institution, in the 1640s it served as a cannon foundry, in the 19th century it was only used as a warehouse. At the end of the 19th century it does not seem to have been used anymore, today the restored building can be viewed as a museum.

The rectangular four- iwan building in Persian style has a prominent entrance façade with a high portal in the middle, the vault of which is formed by a pointed muqarnas niche, and inside a two-storey suite of rooms around a central courtyard. The portal of the entrance facade symbolized in the city coat of arms on the north side is emphasized by a multi-tiered, rectangular ornamental frame and surmounted by two slender round minarets on the sides . The rectangular protruding from the stone façade wall portion Minarettunterbauten go to the eaves in brick towers with semi-circular outwardly curved fluting on. Above the plinth, a similar relief is carved out in a round arch niche on the front of the minaret bases, which is one of the most remarkable of Islamic architecture of this time. The motif to the right of the entrance is completely preserved, the relief on the left remained unfinished in the upper area. You can see a tree of life rising from a vase shaped like a crescent moon. The vase is carried by two underworld dragons, which open up their jaws on either side. The branches bear pomegranates , which stand for happiness and vitality and are sung about in love poetry to this day. The birds in the branches look to the outside world, they are the souls of the still unborn people. In the top of the tree sits a two-headed eagle , which appears in contemporary literature as the “messenger of the god of heaven” and “neighbor of his throne”. The entire motif comes from pre-Islamic times and goes back to tengriistic ideas of the old Turks.

The central, rectangular inner courtyard expands on three sides to form ivans at two-story height, while the barrel-vaulted entrance hall is located on the narrow northern side. The entire building measures 35 × 48 meters on the outside, while the inner courtyard looks relatively small at 26.1 × 12.2 meters. The south side opposite the entrance is formed by a deep, tunnel-like ivan , from which stairs lead up to the prayer room of the circular Hatuniye Türbesi , which was probably built at the end of the 13th century . The tomb was built for the Mongolian princess Padişah Hatun, the founder of the madrasah.

Yakutiye madrasah

Yakutiye madrasah - tree of life motif to the left of the portal
Yakutiye Medrese - west side with portal

The Yakutiye Medresesi is located about 400 meters west of the Çifte-Minare-Madrasa on Cumhuriyet Caddesi . The religious school was built in 1310 in the Mongolian period as a simpler replica of the Çifte Minare Medresesi. The client was Khwadja Yakut, the district governor of Erzurum and Bayburt during the reign of the Ilchane ruler Öldscheitü (ruled 1304–1316). The building now serves as the Museum of Turkish-Islamic Art and Ethnography ( Türk-İslam Eserleri ve Etnoğrafya Müzesi ). A rectangular roofed inner courtyard forms the center point, which is entered through a portal on the west side.

The porch of the portal emerges as a block from the otherwise unadorned west facade. Its three sides are decorated with ornaments, but the design is less plastic than that of the Çifte Minare Medresesi. A tree of life motif is shown on both sides in the lower area. The vase, designed as a round medallion, is framed by two lions that look at each other with a raised paw. A double-headed eagle sits enthroned above the fan-shaped tree of life, the second head of which has been chopped off (the relief on the right is in poorer condition). Of the two minarets on the outer corners of the entrance facade, only the southern one is preserved.

The roof in the central interior is formed by a tent-like dome made of muqarnas, which rests on four pillars. Rib arches stretch diagonally between the pillars. The two ivans on the long walls face each other on either side of the dome, surrounded by a row of similarly sized closed rooms. On the outside of the large ivan on the east side is an octagonal doorway from the same construction period. The upper floor of the Türbe can be reached via a room in the northeast corner of the medrese and through a northern extension of the Türbe. The large entrance door on the east facade to this room was installed before the building was used as a cannon foundry from around 1837 because the main portal had become too narrow for the transport carts.

Üç Kümbetler

The three doorways stand together in a park. Particularly impressive and unique in its shape is the Emir Saltuk Türbesi for the namesake of the Saltukids . Saltuk I ruled from around 1080 to 1102. With its octagonal facade, which continues over a gable roof edge as a round tower, the building appears inconsistent and as if it were composed in different construction phases. The rough shape of the Türbe probably dates from the middle or the end of the 14th century. Some stylistic elements refer to Georgian and Armenian church architecture. The stone blocks in several color gradations between red-brown, gray and white form a colorful patchwork carpet. In the middle of the sides of the lower structure there are double windows with round arches, divided by half columns, of which every second was designed as a closed blind window. A bead frame surrounds the windows and runs horizontally from their lower edge over all sides of the wall.

Inside, in the upper shell-shaped wall niches, some figures from the Turkic-Chinese zodiac are depicted: to the right of the entrance dragons with intertwined tails, further counterclockwise in the third position are eagles, then presumably hare, cattle with human head between the horns, two plant motifs and two mythical creatures with an eagle's head on the torso of a lion.

Next to it is a twelve-sided grave building with a conical roof on a square base, which is dated to the end of the 13th or beginning of the 14th century. The sides are separated from each other by blind arches and double columns. Another Türbe with a circular basic shape without a crypt probably dates from the first half of the 14th century. A simple blind arch extends over the muqarnas niche of the door on the north side.


Clock tower and conical roof of the mosque from outside the citadel wall

The first construction of the citadel ( kale ) was initiated by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II (r. 408–450). In the Middle Ages, a double defensive wall and an outer moat ran around the fortress. It was rebuilt several times, including in 1555 by Süleyman I. On the east side, the fortress formed part of the city wall. Today's entrance to the fortress courtyard is at the eastern end of the southern perimeter wall, originally the now walled-up gate was at the clock tower on the southwest corner. A cuboid mosque ( Kale Camii ) is built on the inside of this wall , otherwise the inner courtyard is empty. The mosque, which is ornamentless except for the portal side and the window reveals, is dominated by a door-like structure made of a round tower with a cone point on the flat roof. Two pillars divide the small interior space with a disproportionate mihrab in the rear area, vaulted by the dome under the outer door. The once high-quality design of the mihrab has been replaced. It is the first known Saltuk mosque.

The clock tower's cylindrical brick shaft is called the Tepsi Minare . The undated tower stands on a high stone pedestal and is likely to have been built in its style in the second half of the 12th century. A Kufic inscription at the top of the brick wall mentions an Abu'l-Qasim who was Atabeg towards the end of the 11th century . In the 17th century, shots from above indicated the end of Ramadan in the evening . A bell was probably hung in the 18th century, at some point it fell and disappeared with the retreat of Russian troops in 1830. The wooden dome dates from the end of the 19th century, the current bell is a gift from the British government in 1877. The castle is against Accessible and worthwhile especially for the view.

Great mosque

The Great Mosque (Ulu Cami) in the vicinity of Çifte Minare Medresesi dates in its current form from the end of the 17th or 18th century, the first building was built by the Saltukid emir of the city in 1179. Large parts of the central nave and the south wall have survived from this period. At the end of the 19th century, the north wall with the three entrances was partially rebuilt. In 1964, some of the vaults collapsed and were rebuilt in the late 1970s. The prayer room is covered by seven arches in north-south direction and six in transverse direction, all of which rest on a forest of mighty pillars. The barrel vaulting towards the central mihrab is wider than the others.

The minaret rises above a stone base in the northwest corner of the building. The round shaft consists of a uniform brickwork and in 1978 was only preserved up to the balcony parapet ( şerefe ). The slimmer continuation of the tower and the conical roof were renewed in the years that followed.

sons and daughters of the town


  • Volker Eid : East Turkey. Peoples and cultures between Taurus and Ararat. DuMont, Cologne 1990, pp. 147–154, ISBN 3-7701-1455-8 .
  • Thomas Alexander Sinclair: Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey. Volume II. The Pindar Press, London 1989, ISBN 0-907132-33-2 , pp. 187-216.

Web links

Commons : Erzurum  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Yerelnet , accessed March 18, 2017
  2. ^ Sinclair, p. 184
  3. ^ Kemalettin Köroğlu: The Northern Border of the Urartian Kingdom. In: Altan Çilingiroğlu, G. Darbyshire (Ed.): Anatolian Iron Ages 5, Proceedings of the 5th Anatolian Iron Ages Colloquium Van. 6-10 August 2001. British Institute of Archeology at Ankara Monograph 3 (Ankara 2005) 101.
  4. Sinclair, pp. 276 f., 279
  5. Sinclair, pp. 187, 190 f., 291
  6. ^ Raymond Kévorkian : Le Génocide des Arméniens. Odile Jacob, Paris 2006, pp. 358f
  7. ^ M 6.8 - eastern Turkey. USGS, accessed July 4, 2020.
  8. ^ Oath, p. 151
  9. ^ Jean-Paul Roux: The Seljuk Turks. In: Turkey. Archeology - Art - History. Ernst Klett, Stuttgart 1990, p. 145
  10. ^ JM Rogers: The Date of the Çifte Minare Medresesi at Erzurum. In: Kunst des Orients, Vol. 8, H. 1/2, Franz Steiner Verlag, 1972, pp. 77–119, here p. 118
  11. ^ Sinclair, p. 196
  12. Roux, p. 145
  13. Eid, pp. 148–151; Sinclair, pp. 193-197
  14. Sinclair, pp. 197-200
  15. Eid, pp. 151-153; Sinclair, p. 212 f.
  16. Oktay Aslanapa: Turkish Art and Architecture. Faber and Faber, London 1971, pp. 101f
  17. Eid, pp. 153f; Sinclair, pp. 200-202
  18. Sinclair, pp. 202f