Erzurum, situated on a high plateau and being the largest province in Eastern Anatolia, has become a crucial transportation hub for travelers heading to Turkey's eastern region. The city has a rich history dating back to 4000 BC, with many civilizations leaving their mark, including the well-preserved Byzantine city walls. The Erzurum Museum holds most of the historical artifacts found in the area.
Throughout history, Erzurum has been captured and ruled by various empires, such as the Hurrians, Urartus, Cimmerians, Scythians, Medes, Persians, Romans (Byzantines), Sassanids, Arabs/Mongols, Ilhanides, Safavids, until it was finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1514. The city has been a point of conflict and was fortified in the 19th century by the Ottomans against Russia. In 1919, Atatürk initiated the War of Independence here by gathering a congress of national delegates, laying out the foundation for Turkey's independence and unity.
Visitors can explore the Üç Kümbetler (Three Tombs) and Hatuniye Tomb, which are well-preserved tombs, and the nearby 13th-century Yakutiye Medrese, which is considered one of the most important historical monuments in Erzurum due to its beautiful entryway and richly-tiled minaret. The Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque, built by the renowned architect Sinan in the 1600s, is also worth a visit, along with other nearby historical monuments such as the Aziziye monument and Bell Tower.
For nature enthusiasts, Lake Tortum is a popular destination, located 120 kilometers from Erzurum. Additionally, Mount Palandoken provides a great opportunity for winter sports.