Erzurum Province

Erzurum Province

Infobox Province TR
region=Eastern Anatolia
area= 25,066
total population= 958,875
urban population= 361,235
area_code = 442|

The Province of Erzurum ("Arzen" in antiquity, "Karin" in ancient Armenian, "Theodosiupolis" or "Theodosiopolis" during Byzantine rule) is a Province of Turkey, in the Eastern Anatolia Region of the country. It is bordered by the provinces of Kars and Ağrı to the east, Muş and Bingöl to the south, Erzincan and Bayburt to the west, Rize and Artvin to the north and Ardahan to the northeast. The provincial capital is Erzurum.


Erzurum province is divided into 19 districts (capital district in bold):




The surface area of the province of Erzurum is the fourth biggest in Turkey. The majority of the province is elevated. Most plateaus are about 2,000 m (6,500 ft) above sea level, and the mountainous regions beyond the plateaus are 3,000 m (9,800 ft) and higher. Depression plains are located between the mountains and plateaus. The southern mountain ranges are Palandöken Mountains (highest peak Büyük Ejder 3,176 m high) and Şahveled Mountains (highest peak Çakmak Mountain 3,063 m high). The northern mountain ranges are the second row elevations of the North Anatolian Mountains, i.e. Mescit Mountains (highest peak 3,239 m), Kargapazarı Mountains (highest peak 3,169 m) and Allahuekber Mountains. The two depression plains between these mountainous areas are Erzurum Plains and Hasankale Plains.

Continental climate rules in the province with long and harsh winters, and short and mild summers. The average low temperature is -8.6 °C (16 °F), while the average high temperature is 19.6 °C (67 °F). Average annual precipitation is 453 mm. Snow falls on an average of 50 days and remains for about 114 days.

Steppe formations are prevalent geographic features of this province, occupying about 60% of the surface area, much of it fertile. Forested areas are small, mainly consisting of scots pines and oaks.

The eastern part of the province lies 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 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 situated on the inlet of this lake. There are three artificial lakes in the province.


The region is known to have been inhabited since the Hittites. The city comprises one of the historical regions of Armenia and an Armenian community dominated the area until the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Most of the province was incorporated to the Roman Empire in 4th century who founded a city called "Erzen". The Byzantine Empire also built a city in the region, called [ Theodosiopolis] , which was on the border. Standing on the crossroads of main trade routes in Asia Minor, the area was a center of importance for Persians and Arabs who frequently clashed with the Byzantine Empire. The city was also part of the Armenian kingdom of Tayk in the 10th century. Threatened by, devastated and looted by the Seljuk Turks in 1049, the older city of Erzen was conquered, but Theodosiopolis survived the invasion. The ruling dynasty of the time was that of the Saltukids.

Theodosiopolis 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.

The province was the site of the major fighting during Caucasus Campaign of World War I between Russian and Ottoman forces including the key confrontation of the campaign, Battle of Erzurum which resulted in capture of Erzurum by Russian army under command of Grand Duke Nicholas on February 16, 1916. It was returned to the Ottomans with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918. Erzurum was also a main Turkish base during the Turkish War of Independence. It was declared a province of Turkey in 1924.


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. Forested areas occupy 8.8% of the total surface area, with forestry a local 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 mainly serve local markets causing lower capacity usage, low productivity and unemployment. About 40 plants are currently out of use, mostly due to high operating costs.

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

Mining resources include lead, copper, chromium, and zinc which are of low tenure or have their reserves almost exhausted. There is a considerable amount of lignite, however because its ash and sulfur ratios are high, it suitable only for 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 via paved and unpaved highways. The Erzurum international airport is open for commercial flights and is also utilized by the Turkish Air Force. 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 contributor to the provincial economy, in recent years, has been Atatürk University which is also one of the largest universities in Turkey, having more than forty-thousand students. Tourist activities including skiing, rafting and mountaineering, also provide a substantial proportion of the province's income. Skiing activities are centered on Palandöken Mountain.

External links

* [ Official Website of the Municipality]
* [ Chamber of Commerce]
* [ Armenian History and Presence in Erzurum]

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