YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!


From Wikitravel
Revision as of 14:03, 11 November 2012 by (talk) (See)
Jump to: navigation, search

Default Banner.jpg

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).


The setting of Orhan Pamuk's novel Snow is Kars.

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) [4]. Note that Haydarpasa station will be closed from 2012 till 2015 for major engineering works. The Doğu Express can be taken from Ankara.

By plane - Anadolujet offers regular flights from Ankara to Kars airport. Prices start from 59TL including all fees.

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. Open from 9:00 to 16:00, admission is free. The castle was built in 1153 A.D. later destroyed by Mongol invaders and rebuilt in 1579.

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.

Cuma Hammam by the river - you can see it from the castle. Completely derelict but worth a look inside if you don't mind pigeons and a lot of broken glass.


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.

  • Ani Restaurant is a good local restaurant, located under Kar's Otel.



  • Hotel Bizim 1-2, Faikbey St 198 (main street in Kars), +90 474 212-28-00, [1]. All rooms with TV, wifi and breakfast included (delicious soups). Single room TL 20-30, double room TL 40-60.
  • Miraç Otel, Cengiz Topel Caddesi 19, +90 474 212-37-68. Clean Centrally located Hotel. Free Wifi. 50 TL.
  • Kar's Otel, Halit Paşa Caddesi 79, +90 474 212-16-16, [2]. Boutique hotel housed in an old Russian building. € 99.
  • Hotel Kent, Hapan Mevkii 12, +90 474 223-19-29, [3]. Newly renovated boutique hotel. Clean rooms with own bathroom. Incredibly comfortable beds. Breakfast 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. 40 TL. Has a bad reputation among locals. Not recommended to solo women travellers.
  • Hotel (Otel) Temel, Yenipazar Caddesi, +90 474 223 1376. (In Lonely Planet) Clean rooms with singles, doubles and triples, some with a good view. Central location within a few minutes' walk to Kars Castle. Breakfast included and free WiFi in rooms. Some staff speak English. They can help arrange a minibus to Ani, the going rate is 35L round trip, can be negotiable. Laundry service relatively expensive. If you are a female be cautious of the creepy guy who only speaks Turkish at the front desk, as he has been known to grope. 60 L for a double, private bathroom.
  • Hotel (Otel) Temel 2, Across the street from the other Otel Temel, on the side with shoe stores (not the main street side). Hotel Temel 2 is a nice hotel to stay in, with ensuite facilities, TV, and nice clean beds. It also comes with a breakfast, consisting of bread, cheese and honey. It's also suitable for the budget traveller. Somewhat unfriendly manager though, without any knowledge of English or any other language, but Turkish.


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 (80TL) or get a guide.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!