Erzurum (also written as Erzerum in some texts until the early 20th century, formerly known as Arz Al-Rum literally Arzen of the Romans)during the Roman period is a city in eastern Turkey.

It is the capital (merkez) of Erzurum Province. Erzurum is the largest province in the Eastern Anatolian Region and is located on a high plateau.

Erzurum, known as "The Rock" in NATO code, has served as NATO's southeasternmost air force post during the Cold War. Erzurum offers winter tourism attactions and a major skiing center at the Palandöken Mountains as well as its regional academic medical center, rich architectural historical sites and great monuments from the Seljuk period such as the Çifte Minareli Medrese the historic heavy wooden door of which is on display at Leningrad Museaum.


The city uses the ancient Anatolian Hittite-Sumerian double-headed Eagle as its Coat of Arms, which was based on the later version double-headed Eagle insignia of the Seljuk Emprero Tugrul (translates Eagle) Beg who was known as 'the King of the East the West' of Mosul in 1058, and which later became a common symbol throughout Anatolia and the Balkans in the medieval period.

Theodosiupolis repelled many attacks and military campaigns by the Seljuks and Georgians until 1201 when the city and the province was conquered by the Seljuk sultan Süleiman II of Rüm in 1201. Erzen-Erzurum fell to the Mongol siege in 1242, and the city was looted and devastated. After the fall of the Seljuk Sultanate of Anatolia (Rüm) in early 14th Century, it became an administrative province of the Ilkhanates, and after their fall, became part of the Çoban beylik, Black Sheep Turkmen, Mongols lead by Timur Lenk and White Sheep Turkmen. Finally, in 1514 the region was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

During the Ottoman reign, the city served as the main base of Ottoman military power in the region. Early in 1600s, the province was threatened by Iran and a revolt by the province governor Abaza Mehmed Pasha. This revolt was combined with Jelali Revolts (the uprising of the provincial musketeers called the Celali), backed by Iran and lasted until 1628.

The city was conquered by the Russian army in 1829, given back to the Ottoman Empire with the Treaty of Adrianople (Edirne). The poet Alexander Pushkin accompanied the Russian commander-in-chief, Ivan Paskevich, during that expedition and penned a brief account of the campaign. The city was again assaulted by the Russian army in the last Russo-Turkish War in 1877. Nene Hatun of Erzurum has become synonymous with the patriotism and bravery of Turkish women who defended the city and its province from Russian attacks during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. It was attacked again during World War I in 1916 by armies under the command of Grand Duke Nicholas, this time to be conquered. It was returned to the Ottomans with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918. Erzurum was also a main Turkish base and Erzurum Congress is known as one of the cornerstones of the Turkish War of Independence. It was declared a province of Turkey in 1924.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic, resigned from the Ottoman Army in Erzurum which had been the gateway and portal to Turkish tribes migrating to Eastern Anatolia throughout history, and was declared the "Honorary Native" and the freeman of the city, which issued him his first citizenship registration and certificate (Nüfus Cuzdanı) of the new Turkish Republic. He also was the first representative of Erzurum in the first Turkish Grand National Assembly. The fourth President of Turkey, Cemal Gürsel, was a native of Erzurum.


The province has a surface area of 25,066 km², and a population of 937,389 (2000 census). This translates to a population density of 37.4 per km². The province center has a population of 361,235. Females: 45%, males 55%. The city is situated 1757 meters (5766 feet) above sea level and has an extreme continental climate with an average January temperature of -11 °C (12 °F). Temperatures often drop below -30 °C in the winter, with heavy snowfall.

Steppe formations are prevalent in the geography, occupying about 60% of the surface area, much of it fertile. Forest areas are not large mainly consisting of scots pines and oaks.

Eastern part of the province is in the basin of the Aras river, the western part in the Karasu (Western Euphrates) basin, and the northern part in the Çoruh basin.

There are a few natural lakes in the province, the major one being Lake Tortum (approximately 8 km²) fed by the Tortum (Uzundere) Falls. A hydroelectric power plant built in 1963 is on the inlet of this lake. There are three artificial lakes in the province.

Approximately 18.5% of the total surface area is arable land, of which about 75% has permanent crops. A large portion of the agricultural produce consists of cereals. Forest areas are a total of 8.8% of the surface area, and forestry is also an industry. Industries largely consist of manufacturing of forestry, agriculture, husbandry, chemistry, textile and mining products. There are 81 active industrial plants in the province, most of them located at the central district of Erzurum, and are small and medium enterprises. Due to their relatively small sizes, these industries serve mainly to local markets causing lower capacity usage, low productivity and unemployment. About 40 plants are currently out of use, mostly due to high operation costs.

The province of Erzurum has the highest ratio of meadows and pastures in Turkey, ideal for stockbreeding. However, once the main occupation of the population, animal husbandry lost its importance in 1980s with the introduction of liberal economy and importation. A large organized industrial park concentrating on processing meat is being built with the hopes of reviving this sector. Food products include beekeeping and trout farming too.

Underground resources include lead, copper, chromium, and zinc which are of low tenure or have their reserves almost exhausted. There is considerable amount of lignite, however because its ash and sulfur ratios are high, it only has industrial use. Magnesite, fire clay, gypsum, manganese, diatomite, marble, rock salt and perlite are also present. The few natural geothermal resources, except one, are not suitable for economic investments, and they are used as natural springs.


GDP of the province of Erzurum is USD 1.16 billion, constituting less than 1% of the total and ranking 40th among Turkish provinces (1997 values).

Transportation is possible through paved and unpaved highways. The Erzurum international airport is open to use also to the Turkish Air Forces. The runways of this airport are the second longest in Turkey. Erzurum is also the main railroad hub in the Eastern Anatolia region.

The largest economy, in recent years, has been the university. Atatürk University is one of the largest universities in Turkey, having more than forty-thousand students. Tourism, also, provides a large proportion of the province's income. Tourist activities include skiing, rafting and mountaineering. Skiing activties are centred on Palandöken Mountain.One specialty of Erzurum's cuisine is Cağ Kebab. Although this kebab variety is of recent introduction outside its native region, it is rapidly attaining wide-spread popularity around Turkey.


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