Kars is a city in Eastern Anatolia. It is most frequently visited as a jumping off point for travelers going to Ani, but it is a viable destination in its own right for its 19th century Russian imperial buildings, and, of course, its role as the setting for Orhan Pamuk's famous novel Snow.
Kars is one of the highest cities 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 Kars, 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).
By bus - most companies serve Kars - though you might need to change bus at either Erzurum or Igdir, depending on where you come from. Be sure to check whether there are services available.
There are a few taxis serving the city centre. It's a pretty small place so it's quite possible to cover it by foot.
Kars Castle - situated on the side of the hill facing the city, Kars Castle is one of the few sights to see within Kars. It's a short climb from the city centre, and is worth climbing for the view of the city.
Read Orham Pamuk's novel "Snow" which takes place in Kars.
Gravier cheese is delicious! You can enjoy having some from the shops near to castle. You can try the Soldier Souvenirs Passage on the main street with a lion statue sells stuff for rare collector's items.
A local speciality is goose (kaz), usually made into a stew.
Hotel Temel - Hotel Temel is a really comfortable hotel to stay in, with ensuite facilities, TV, and nice clean beds. It also comes with a breakfast, consisting of bread, cheese and honey. And it's even suitable for the budget traveller - though it's a little more expensive compared to other budget hotels in Turkey, but definitely worth the money!
Ani - A visit to Eastern Anatolia is not complete without a visit to the ruins of the City of Ani, which is situated some 45km away from Kars. It is best to charter a taxi or get a guide.