Kars Province

Kars Province (Turkish: Kars ili, Armenian: Կարսի նահանգ) is a province of Turkey, located in the northeastern part of the country. It shares part of its closed border with the Republic of Armenia. The provincial capital is the city of Kars. The provinces of Ardahan and Iğdır were until the 1990s part of Kars Province.

Kars Province

Kars ili
Kars Province Subdivisions
Kars Province Subdivisions
Location of Kars Province in Turkey
Location of Kars Province in Turkey
RegionNortheast Anatolia
 • Electoral districtKars
 • GovernorEyüp Tepe[1]
 • Total9,587 km2 (3,702 sq mi)
 • Total288,878
 • Density30/km2 (78/sq mi)
Area code(s)0474
Vehicle registration36


In ancient times, Kars (Armenian:Կարս) was part of the province of Ararat in the Kingdom of Armenia. The first known people were the followers of Vanand (Վանանդ), for whom Kars was their main settlement and fortress. In 928, Kars became the capital of Bagratid Armenia. In 968, the capital of Armenia was moved to Ani, but Kars remained the capital of the feudal principality of Vanand.

The Seljuks quickly relinquished direct control over Kars and it became a small emirate whose territory corresponded closely to that of Vanand, and which bordered the similarly created but larger Shaddadid emirate centered at Ani. The Kars emirate was a vassal of the Saltukids in Erzurum, whose forces were effective in opposing Georgian attempts at seizing Kars. Later on, in 1207, Georgian army commanded by David Soslan and brothers Ivane and Zakare Mkhargrzeli captured Kars after a long siege. George IV son of Tamar, was appointed as a viceroy of Kars. It was conquered in 1242 by the Mongols; was regained by Georgian Kingdom during the reign of George V the Brilliant (1314–1346) and remained as part of the Kingdom before its disintegration, which then passed into the hands of Georgian Atabegs belonging to the House of Jaqeli. During the rule of the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, the fortress of Kars, located in what was then the eastern part of the city, fell into disrepair. However, as Kars was within a border region its defensive structures were often renewed, and they continued to advance to such a degree, that in the 19th century Kars was well known around the world as a castle.

As a result of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877 to 1878, the province of Kars was incorporated into the Russian Empire as part of the militarily administered Kars Oblast and remained so until 1918. It was seen as a border province of a Russian Empire which was seeking to expand yet further by the conquest of more territory belonging to the Ottoman Empire.[3] The period from 1878 to 1918 was marked in the province of Kars by the settlement by the Russian authorities of a very heterogeneous mix of Christian populations, including Armenians, Caucasus Greeks, Russians, Georgians, and even smaller numbers from other Christian communities hitherto with little or no historical links to the region, such as ethnic Germans, Poles, Estonians, Lithuanians, and Russian sectarian communities such as Molokans and Doukhobors. Many from the non-Russian Christian Orthodox communities (Georgians, Caucasus Greeks, and the minority of Armenians who were Lessor Orthodox) had themselves fought in or collaborated with the Russian Imperial army to capture Kars province from the Muslim Ottomans. They saw this as a means of fulfilling their own ambitions to recapture Christian territory on the back of the Russian imperial enterprise.[3]

Demographics (1874-1950)

18741 % 18972 % 19274 % 19505 % 1965 %
Turkic peoples 22,758 61.8% 103,457 35.6% 160,5764 78.2% 311,400 75.9% 471,287 77.7%
6,404 17.4% 42,968 14.8% 42,945 21% 94,847 23.1% 134,136 22.1%
5,014 13.6% 73,406 25.3% 21 0% 23 0% 5 0%
681 1.8% 32,593 11.2% 0 0% 13 0% N/A N/A
N/A N/A 22,327 7.7% N/A N/A 9 0% 6 0%
Other 1,965 5.3% 15,903 5.5% 1,688 0.8% 3,944 1% 879 0.1%
1 Kars Eyalet salname,2 Russian Empire Census results in Kars Oblast, 3 First Turkish census concerning mother tongue in Kars Province (including Ardahan Province),
4 Does not include 384 Tatars,5 Includes Ardahan Province6 Includes Zazas and Yezidis.


Kars province is divided into 8 districts (ilçe), each named after the administrative center of the district:

There are 383 villages in Kars.

Kars nature, wildlife and ecotourism

Kars has a wealth of wildlife that is being documented by the Kars-Igdir Biodiversity Project run by the KuzeyDoga Society.[6] The project has recorded 323 of Turkey's 468 bird species in the region. At least 223 of these occur at Lake Kuyucuk,[7] that is the most important wetland in the region. Sarikamis Forests in the south harbor Indian wolves, Syrian brown bear, Caucasian lynx and other animals, and Aras (Araxes) River wetlands comprise a key stop-over site for many migrating birds. Aras River Bird Research and Education Center at Yukari Ciyrikli village has recorded 228 bird species at this single location alone.


The economy of Kars Province is dominated by agriculture, livestock breeding and forestry. 85% of the active population in Kars Province are farmers or herders. 60% of the gross domestic income is received from those sectors. Industry, tourism and commerce is developing.[8]

The climate limits the cultivation of plants in the region. In Kağızman and Tuzluca, cotton, sugar beet, beans and vetches are grown. Vegetable gardening and orchards are not very developed. Wheat, barley, cotton and in small quantity tobacco are grown in the province.[8]

Livestock breeding in the region is more important than agriculture. Grassland, meadows and the rich vegetation led to the development of livestock breeding. The grassland and meadows, which make out 70% of the area of Kars Province, are capable of providing at least ten times of the current livestock potential's breeding. Kars is the biggest cattle breeding province in Turkey, and is the center of livestock trade.[8] Efforts are being made to increase goose breeding, which is very special to Kars region. Aside its meat taking a special place in the Kars cuisine, goose liver and down feather started already to be exported to Europe.[9][10]

Kars Province is not abundant with woods although the region is favorable for forests. Only 4% of the province area is covered with woods. Scots Pine, spruce and alder are the tree species most found in the woods of Kars. Around 15,000 m3 (530,000 cu ft) timber is produced by logging in forestry.[8]

Ore beds of rock salt, arsenic, asbestos, magnesite, gypsum and perlite are explored, however, only rock salt is mined.[8]

Main industrial plants in Kars are of meat processing, livestock feed processing, gristmill, yarn, tannery, footwear, cement and brick factories.[8]


Among the most famous food products special to Kars region are Kars honey, Kars Kasseri, Kars Gruyère cheese, which tastes like Swiss Emmental cheese, and Kars style roasted goose.[11][12][13]


Kars contains numerous monuments, the most notable being the ruined Armenian city of Ani and the 9th century Church of the Apostles.

In popular culture

Kars was also the setting for the popular novel Snow by Orhan Pamuk. The Siege of Kars, 1855 is a book published by The Stationery Office, 2000, and is an account of its defence and capitulation as reported by one General Williams, one of many British officers lent to the Turkish army to lead garrisons and train regiments in the war against Russia.


Kars russian architecture

Kars city center

Ani 1

Ruins of Ani

Sarikamish-Atatürk monument

Atatürk monument in Sarıkamış

Ani - bridge

A ruined bridge in Ani

See also


  1. ^ Müdürlüğü, Kars Valiliği Bilgi İşlem Şube. "T.C. Kars Valilği". www.kars.gov.tr.
  2. ^ "Population of provinces by years - 2000-2018". Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b Coene, Frederik, 'The Caucasus - An Introduction', (2011)
  4. ^ Georg Kobro (1991). Das Gebiet von Kars und Ardahan (in German). Munich.
  5. ^ Fuat Dündar (2000). Türkiye Nüfus Sayımlarında Azınlıklar (in Turkish). ISBN 97 5-80 86-77-4.
  6. ^ "kuzeydoga". kuzeydoga.
  7. ^ "Kuyucuk Lake Project". www.kuyucuk.org. Archived from the original on 2008-03-02.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Kars-Ekonomik Faaliyetler" (in Turkish). Coğrafya Dünyası. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  9. ^ Küpeli, Mustafa (2011-12-11). "Kaz Kars, Ardahan ve Bölge için Bir Ekonomik Potansiyeldir". Serhat'ın Sesi Siyasal Birikim (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 2013-07-06. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  10. ^ "Kars'tan Almanya'ya Kaz Tüyü İhraç Edildi". Yeni Umut Gazetesi (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  11. ^ Yaşin, Mehmet (2007-01-21). "Kars'ta kaz kebabı ziyafeti". Hürriyet Yazarlar (in Turkish). Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  12. ^ Taşdemir, Yüksel Turan. "Kars Kazı, Kars Kars kaşarı , Kars Grevyeri, Kars Balı ve Bu Yöreye Özel Besinler" (in Turkish). Tavsiye Ediyorum. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  13. ^ "Kars usulu Kaz / Kars style roasted goose". Turkish cuisine. Retrieved 2013-04-07.

External links

Coordinates: 40°27′17″N 43°03′37″E / 40.45472°N 43.06028°E

Akhurian Reservoir

Akhurian Reservoir (Armenian: Ախուրյանի ջրամբար; Turkish: Arpaçay Barajı) is a reservoir on the Akhurian River between Armenia and Turkey. The reservoir has a surface area of 54 km² and a volume of 525 million cubic meters. It is one of the largest reservoirs in the Caucasus, smaller than the Mingachevir reservoir and the Shamkir reservoir in Azerbaijan.

Its water is used for irrigation in Armenia's Aragatsotn, Armavir and Shirak provinces.

Water used on Turkey for irrigation (70000 ha agricultural area) in provinces of Kars and Ardahan.


Ani (Armenian: Անի; Greek: Ἄνιον, Ánion; Latin: Abnicum; Georgian: ანი, Ani, or ანისი, Anisi; Turkish: Anı) is a ruined medieval Armenian city now situated in Turkey's province of Kars, next to the closed border with Armenia.

Between 961 and 1045, it was the capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom that covered much of present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey. Called the "City of 1001 Churches", Ani stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world. At its height, Ani was one of the biggest cities in the world, and its population was probably on the order of 100,000.Long ago renowned for its splendor and magnificence, Ani was sacked by the Mongols in 1236 and devastated in a 1319 earthquake, after which it was reduced to a village and gradually abandoned and largely forgotten by the seventeenth century. Ani is a widely recognized cultural, religious, and national heritage symbol for Armenians. According to Razmik Panossian, Ani is one of the most visible and ‘tangible’ symbols of past Armenian greatness and hence a source of pride.


Ayrarat (Armenian: Այրարատ) was a province of the ancient kingdom Armenia. The main city was Oshakan. It is believed that the name Ayrarat is the Armenian equivalent of the toponym Urartu (Armenian: Արարատ, Ararat).

Battle of Kızıl Tepe

The Battle of Kizil-tepe (Turkish: Kızıltepe Muharebresi) was fought on August 25, 1877, between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The Russian were attempting to besiege Kars. The Ottomans, vastly superior in numbers, successfully lifted the siege.

Battle of Çıldır

The Battle of Çıldır was fought in 1578 during the Ottoman–Safavid War (1578–1590) .

Bayburt Dam

Bayburt Dam is a dam in Kars Province, Turkey, built between 1995 and 2003.

Boğatepe Cheese Museum

Boğatepe Cheese Museum (Turkish: Boğatepe Peynir Müzesi) is a museum in Turkey.

The museum is in Boğatepe (former Zavot) village in Kars Province at 40°48′N 42°54′E close to Turkish state highway D.060. The museum is an abandoned dairy building. It was restored and established as a museum in 2010 .

The village is specialized in cheese production. Kasseri, Gruyère and Chechil are among the many cheese types produced in Boğatepe. However, the European Union standards limit the number of Boğatepe cheese types to three. Accordingly, the number of cheese types produced in dairies decreased to three and the remaining ones face to extinction. The museum was established by the Boğatepe Association Environment and Life to keep all types of the cheese alive and to present the stages in cheese production to visitors. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also supports the museum.

Kars Eyalet

The Eyalet of Kars (Ottoman Turkish: ایالت قارص; Eyālet-i Ḳarṣ‎) was an eyalet (province) of the Ottoman Empire. Its reported area in the 19th century was 6,212 square miles (16,090 km2).The town of Kars, which had been levelled to the ground by the Timur in 1368, was rebuilt as an Ottoman fortress in 1579 (1580 according to other sources) by Lala Mustafa Pasha, and became capital of an eyalet of six sanjaks and also a place of pilgrimage. It was conquered by Shah Abbas in 1604 and rebuilt by the Turks in 1616.The size of the Kars garrison in 1640s was 1,002 Janissaries and 301 local recruits. Total 1,303 garrison.

Kars Harakani Airport

Kars Harakani Airport is a public airport in Kars, Turkey (IATA: KSY, ICAO: LTCF). The airport, opened in 1988, is located 6 km (3.7 mi) from Kars. It has importance for serving also other cities like Ağrı, Ardahan, Artvin and Iğdır in north-eastern Turkey.

Kars Museum

The Kars Museum was opened in 1963 in the Cathedral of Kars (now the Kümbet Mosque) of Kars, Turkey.

The structure was first built as an Armenian church (The Holy Apostles Church) under the Armenian Bagratuni Dynasty by Abbas II in 930–937. In 1579, it was converted to a mosque. Archaeological works from Kars and its surrounding region, as well as objects uncovered by the excavations of the medieval Armenian city of Ani were gathered here. After the new museum building was completed the works were moved and exhibited there.

The new museum in Kars can be found in a road which forks off the road to Ani in the northeast of the town. Finds from the Bronze Age to the present day are on display. An annex also houses an ethnography department.


Kağızman (Ottoman Turkish: قاغزمان‎, Armenian: Կաղզվան, Kaghzvan,) is a town and district of Kars Province in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. The population was 23100 in 2012. The mayor is Nevzat Yıldız (MHP).

List of populated places in Kars Province

Below is the list of populated places in Kars Province, Turkey by the districts. In the following lists first place in each list is the administrative center of the district.


Sarıkamış is a town and a district of Kars Province in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. Its population was 17,860 in 2010. The town sits in a valley and is surrounded by mountains, many of which are covered with pine forests. It has a subalpine climate, with average of 7–8 ft/2.1m-2.4m of snowfall; it has very long winters and short, dry summers. In recent years Sarıkamış has developed as a winter skiing resort, with one of the world's longest tracks.

Sarıkamış district neighbours the districts of Selim and Kağızman to East, Şenkaya and Horasan to West, Eleşkirt to South, Selim and Şenkaya to North and occupies an area of 1732 km2. Its average altitude is 1500-2000m, and Aladag Mountain, 3138m, is within its borders. Other important mountains are Süphan, Balıklı (2835m), Kösedağı (2599m), Çıplakdağ (2634m) and Soğanlı (2849m). The Kars and Aras rivers flow through it.

Extensive barracks from the Russian period surround the town and are still in use by the Turkish army. Other historical buildings include the town's former Russian cathedral, known locally as Yanik Kilise, now used as a mosque after being used as a cinema for many years. A hunting lodge, built for a visit by Czar Nicolas, is located at the edge of the pine forests.

Sarıkamış-Allahuekber Mountains National Park

Sarıkamış-Allahuekber Mountains National Park (Turkish: Sarıkamış-Allahuekber Dağları Milli Parkı)), established on October 19, 2004, is a national park in northeastern Turkey. The national park stretches over the mountain range of Allahuekber Mountains and is located on the province border of Erzurum and Kars.It covers an area of 22,519 ha (55,650 acres) at an average elevation of 2,300 m (7,500 ft).The national park is of historical importance, where during the Battle of Sarikamish at the beginning of World War I about 60,000 Turkish soldiers died freezing under harsh winter conditions on the Allahuekber Mountains.

Selim railway station

Selim station (Turkish: Selim garı) is a railway station in the town of Selim, Turkey. The station is served by the Eastern Express, operated by the Turkish State Railways from İstanbul to Kars.

Soğuksu Nature Park

Soğuksu Nature Park (Turkish: Soğuksu Tabiat Parkı), established in 2011, is a nature park in Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is located 53 km (33 mi) far from Kars and 3 km (1.9 mi) to Sarıkamış.The nature park covers an area of 11 ha (27 acres) at 2,121–2,152 m (6,959–7,060 ft) above main sea level.

Süngütaşı railway station

Süngütaşı station is a railway station in the village of Süngütaşı in the Kars Province of Turkey. The station is serviced by the Eastern Express, operated by the Turkish State Railways, running between İstanbul and Kars. The station is the westernmost station in the province.

Taşköprü (Kars)

Taşköprü, or the Stone Bridge, is a stone three-arch bridge over the Kars River (a tributary of the Aras River) river, northwest of Kars city center and directly south of Kars castle.

The bridge was built in 1579 of ashlar basalt blocks as part of a program of works in Kars by Lala Mustafa Pasha, who became Sultan Murad III's grand vizier the following year. This bridge was subsequently destroyed by a flood, and it was rebuilt in 1719 (some records say 1725) by Karahanoğlu Haci Ebubekir Bey. It was restored by the 18th Region of the Highways Directorate in 2013.

Topdağ railway station

Topdağ Railway Station is a railway station in the village of Topdağ in the Kars Province of Turkey. The station is serviced by the Eastern Express, operated by the Turkish State Railways, running between İstanbul and Kars.

Kars Province of Turkey


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