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Erzurum Destination

Erzurum claims with every justification to be the economic and cultural capital of eastern Turkey, with a university founded in 1958.
Surrounded by mountains rising to more than 3,000m/10,000ft, snow covered until well into summer (to the south the 3,176m/10,424ft Palandöken Daglari, to the north Dumlu Dag, 3,169m/10,400ft, and to the northeast the Kargapazari Daglari, 3,129m/10,269ft), the town lies on the Silk Road from Persia to the Black Sea. The climate is distinctly continental, with very long very cold winters and correspondingly short very hot summers. In the last couple of decades a food processing industry has developed, but the region generally is one of grassland on which livestock are reared. Located about 40km/25mi north of Erzurum on Dumlu Dagi is the source of the Firat Nehri, or Karasu as it is known, a major northern tributary of the 2,800km/1,740mile-long Euphrates. The Karasu flows west and then south for 460km/286mi before joining forces with the 772km/480mile-long Murat Nehri near Keban, both rivers now disgorging into the Keban Dam.

History ;

Erzurum's history can be traced with any certainty only from the fourth century A.D. at which time it was part of the Old Armenian Empire. When this collapsed the town found itself cast in the role of easternmost bastion of Byzantium, coming under siege by the Sassanids. The subsequent armistice left Erzurum in Byzantine hands. In the fifth century Theodosius II transformed the town into a frontier fortress and bishopric (held briefly by the Sassanids for four years from 502). In 632 a special synod was held in Erzurum in an unsuccessful attempt to unite the Orthodox and Armenian Churches. In 655 (until 751) the town was lost to the Arabs, being renamed Karnoy Kalak. It was so badly damaged in the fighting that the population had to be resettled in Thrace. Later, fleeing from the Seljuks who had been making incursions into the area since 1047, the inhabitants of a town called Arsan(?) took refuge in Karnoy Kalak, dubbing it Arsan i-Rum (Roman Arsan), from which the present name Erzurum is derived.The Mongol invasions in the mid 13th century brought the town's development to a temporary halt and for a period in 1400 it was the base from which Tamerlane mounted his campaigns against Bayazit I. In 1522 it was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. By now called Erzurum its strategic role as an eastern frontier town did little to enhance its prosperity. When the Anatolian railroad finally arrived in 1935, Erzurum was little more than a minor station on the line. In 1919 the city was the venue of the first Turkish National Congress, which saw Mustafa Kemal (ATATURK) installed as leader of the national independence movement. Despite many earthquakes (including the severe 'quake in 1939 when about 40,000 people lost their lives), a considerable number of historic buildings have survived.

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