The ancient city of Kars offers an amazing time looking into the past where modern and ancient history side by side. In the North-east of Turkey, it is the largest settlement on the Turkish side near Armenia. Even to this day, the border from Turkey to Armenia remains closed following historic tensions between the two nations.
A popular destination for visitors to stay when coming to the region to head to the Ani ruins, the Black Sea coastline found north of the region with it being one of the popular places to visit while in the local provinces. The city itself is a source of ancient beauty, dating back as far as the medieval era during an Armenian kingdom known as Vanand. Brought into the power that came from Ani, it was also given an element of independence. After Ani was conquered by the Byzantium Empire, the title of Bagartuni, or King of Kings, was transferred to the ruler of Kars. Around 1064 Ani was captured by the Selcuk Turks, to prevent his city from becoming under siege he paid homage to the Turks for their Victory. In anticipation of the Byzantine Empire trying to regain control the Selcuk Turks took the city as their own, however, they also gave direct control back to the Kars’ leaders to become an emirate centred at Ani. Over the Generations, the city has become to centre of different conflicts, with the Mongols gaining control, followed by it being reigned over by George the V, also known as George the Brilliant from Georgia. After different wars between rival nations in the region, it was eventually brought into the Ottoman Empire, which defended the city from the Persian military.
Kars’ defences allowed it to resist an attack by the Russian Empire, however, it was taken by Qajar Iran following one of these attacks, which led to the city being given up by the Ottomans to the Russians following further sieges. Eventually, the Treat of Kars was written and the city was given to Ottoman control, skirmishes continued. Following World War II Russians sought to regain control of the city and region, with the onset of the Cold War both Britain and America aided Turkey against this expansion. Since this time the region has remained under Turkish control, including border closures with Armenia in 1993 as a protest of their capture of Azerbaijan lands by Armenian forces.
The city is a popular destination for international guests and Turkish visitors, its beauty and history with its convenient location make it one of the leading places in Eastern Turkey. The city and region was the centre point for a famous Turkish book called Kar, Snow in English, written by Orhan Pamuk.