One of the first literary references to Erzurum dates back to the 14th century, when English travel author Sir John Mandeville wrote the journal about his journey through modern-day Turkey. He attributed very low temperature of the local climate to the mountainous terrain. Even to this day Erzurum remains one of the coldest spots in Turkey, and the fact that a modern ski resort Palandöken, with its highest peak rising to 3271m, is located about 5km south of the city makes this province a focus for winter sports.
This region has a lot to offer to sports lovers, at the same time offering a fascinating insight into the life of Turkey at the beginning of the 21st century. Erzurum history is very rich, and tourists can see its many ancient Roman, Armenian, Byzantine and Seljuk legacies which are part of the architecture of the city. One of the most famous landmarks of the city is its Kale (castle) which was built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II, who is also remembered as the monarch responsible for building renowned Istanbul’s fortifications.
As for the etymology of its name, Erzurum is thought to be derived from the Arabic phrase “Arz ur-Rum” meaning “the land of Romans”. This phrase illustrates Erzurum’s role as a key strategic point in the regional geopolitical balance of power. Besides the city’s castle, almost all other main historical sites in Erzurum are situated around the main street - Cumhuriyet Caddesi. On the way down from the castle, there is beautiful Minare Medresesi which was probably commissioned around 1253 by the daughter of Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad II. Although the Ottomans governed Erzurum from 1515, after they seized it from the Mongols, they didn’t leave too much of a mark behind them. he legacy of the Mongols is a wonderful Yakutie Medresesi built in 1310, and today it is the location of the city’s Museum of Islamic and Turkish Arts.
In recent years Erzurum has received the investment of almost USD 600 million for building winter sports facilities, and this lays foundation for the future of Turkey’s winter sports. One of the Turkish officials said that Erzurum would be better than Davos, a famous Swiss winter sports resort.
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