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An update from Evaneos

Kars (Turkey)

Practical information about Kars

  • Mountain
  • River
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Castle and fortress
  • Place or Historical Monument
4 / 5 - One review
How to get there
2 hrs 45 min from Erzurum by car
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
1 to 2 days

Reviews of Kars

Nicolas Landru Travel writer
117 travel articles

Kars, capital of the Turkish Caucasus, is a disconcerting city. An old eastern city half in ruins, with an orthogonal centre, ruins of Armenian churches, mosques, fortress... Of dust and the nagging impression of a city on the outer limits!

My suggestion:
Take the opportunity while in Kars to go and see Ani, the ruins of an ancient Armenian capital, on a highland steppe at the lost frontier of Armenia.

I arrived from Georgia. I travelled via Trabzon and Erzurum. Arriving in Kars, I had the impression that I was back in the Caucasus. Firstly, because of the Russian influence in the city centre, built in the colonial era on an orthogonal layout, with local black volcanic stone and neo-classical architecture.

Then because of the curious feeling of antiquity of the place, somehow remaining frozen in time. I had also read Snow, a book written by Orhan Pamuk with the storyline being set in Kars; I searched for this old city which was supposed to house a Kurdish ghetto... Since partly destroyed! You can still clearly see the site of the old town at the foot of the picturesque and very imposing fortress, which is perched on a steep bend of the river.

There are still vestiges of the old Kars: ancient baths, the ruins of Armenian churches, dilapidated houses, some of which are restored, a mosque, a renovated church converted into a mosque. The place is picturesque and you quickly feel like an amateur archaeologist. For the rest, Kars radiates a distinct atmosphere, almost insular. I especially remember the dust blowing everywhere, smothering the streets. But also the fantastic Lokantasi where you can eat a delicious doner kebab...

Kars Fortress