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Revision as of 17:41, 4 May 2010 by (talk) (added listing Hotel Bizim 1-2)
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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).

Get in

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.

By train - there is also a train station in Kars, with a daily service from Istanbul's Haydarpaşa station (Doğu Express), and another daily service from Ankara (Erzurum Express) [3].

Get around

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.

view from castle


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.

Russian/Baltic architecture along the grid of old town's streets, realized during the Russian occupation of the city in 1878–1918, singles out the city in Turkey. Fethiye Mosque (Fethiye Camii) in the city centre, originally built by Russians in the occupation period as a church, is the only mosque in Turkey having that distinctive architectural style.

The Church of Apostles just below the castle, now known as Kümbet or Kethuda Mosque (Kümbet/Kethuda Camii), is also well worth a look. The building was originally an Armenian church built in 10th century, and upon capturing the city, Ottomans converted it to a mosque in 1579. Later, when Russians came over, it became a church again, this time serving Russian Orthodox believers. After the Turks took back the city, it served for non-religious purposes for a time (such as a warehouse), and in 1998 consecrated as a mosque again.

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 Kent, Hapan Mevkii 12, +90 474 2231929, [1]. Basic but clean rooms with shared bathrooms on each floor. Check out the bathroom on your floor before checking in, some are cleaner than others. Lounge room with satellite TV and a refrigerator for guests. It's frequented by backpackers on their way to Ani, which makes it a good place for solo travelers to organize an excursion from. Taxi drivers know it. 20 YTL.
  • 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!
  • Kar's Otel [4] — Kar's Otel has only 8 rooms but each rooms has different decoration, also close to Ani Restaurant located just next to the Kar's Otel.
  • Hotel Bizim 1-2, faikbey street no:198 (main street in Kars), 0090(0)4742122800, [2]. Bizim Hotel 2 just opened beginning of 2010, so all the rooms are very nice and clean. 35 rooms and 55 beds! All rooms with TV/Wifi and breakfast included (delicious soups!). Reasonable prices! (single room TL 20-30, double room TL 40-60)


Get out

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.

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