Erzurum is the highest major city (population: 360,000 according to 2000 census) in Turkey, situated at an altitude of about 2000 metres over the sea level. Complemented with the distance to the sea, this makes the climate of this area the harshest in Turkey with winter temperatures regularly below -30 C at nights (and no warmer than -15 C during the day). There is not a real summer season in Erzurum, only a short spring in July and August (this is also the wettest season) and a long, bitterly cold, and heavily snowy winter during the rest of the year. Keep in mind that nighttime temperatures can fall below zero degree (Celsius) in any time of the year (even in August), although this is becoming rarer and rarer each year, probably with the advance of the global warming.
The city will host the international 2011 Winter Universiade (“university olympic games”) .
There is a daily train from Istanbul (Doğu Express, departs from Haydarpaşa station at 08:35 every morning). Doğu Express has a stop in Ankara, too (and in a number of other cities and towns across Anatolia, including Eskişehir, Kayseri, Sivas, and Erzincan among others as well). There is also another daily train from Ankara (Erzurum Express, which is said to be more comfortable than Doğu Express). Both trains head for Kars – further east (near Armenian and Georgian borders). See Turkish Republic State Railways website for schedules and fares: http://www.tcdd.gov.tr
Most bus companies stop at the Erzurum Otogar, which is about 1km away from the main city centre. It is a walkable distance to town, or you can take the public bus to/from the Otogar.
Erzurum is a pretty small city, and you can cover most of it by foot, unless you are thinking of heading out and around the city, in which case, most public buses and taxis will be able to get you there.
Citadel of Erzurum - The Citadel of Erzurum is situated on the top of the hill in the middle of the city centre. The YTL 2 admission fee allows you to explore the grounds as well as to climb up the minaret/clock tower, as well as visit the citadel masjid. It's worth the effort to climb up the clock tower as it gives you a commanding view of the city as well as the surrounding mountains.
Stockbreeding is widespread in the region, and there is little chance to cultivate vegetables and fruits in this high and cold land. Therefore traditional food is mainly dependent on meat.
The city is also known for different types of local cheese that is hard to find elsewhere in Turkey.
The area code of Erzurum is 442. Dial +90 442 when calling from out of Turkey.