Erzurum, the largest province in Eastern Anatolia and located on a high plateau is now a transportation junction. This area has always been an important passage for travelers coming to Turkey’s eastern side.
The history of the city extends back to 4000 BC and it has seen many civilizations in Anatolia. One of the most important remains from this periods is the well preserved Byzantine city walls. Most of these historical finds are kept in the collections of the Erzurum Museum. Erzurum was captured and ruled by countless different empires, including the Hurrians, Urartus, Cimmerians, Scythians, Medes, Persians, Romans (Byzantines), Sassanids, Arabs/Mongols, Ilhanides, Safavids until it was finally captured by Ottoman Turks in 1514.
The city has been a point of conflict throughout the history and it was fortified in the 19th century by the Ottomans against Russia. The War of Independence in 1919 was initiated here with Atatürk gathering a congress of national delegates where he laid out the foundation for Turkey's independence and unity.
You may want to spend some time exploring three different tombs called the Üç Kümbetler (Three Tombs). You'll also find another tomb, Hatuniye Tomb, which is quite beautiful. A nearby 13th century medrese in Yakutiye is considered one of the most important historical monuments in Erzurum because it has a beautiful entryway and a richly-tiled minaret.
Here is a mosque built by the great architect Sinan in the 1600's, Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque. There are also a number of other historical monuments near this site, including Aziziye monument commemorating the Turkish-Russian War and Bell Tower.
For nature enthusiasts, Lake Tortum is a good option as it's 120 kilometers away from Erzurum and Mount Palandoken provides the perfect opportunity for winter sports.