Kars Attractions and Food and Drinking Places
How About Getting to Know Kars Closer?
Maybe this title may not be attractive to you, maybe you may say what Kars, maybe I said that at the time, maybe I thought so. Let's leave the prejudice first and read the article... Trust me, you will have fun with me and you will start looking for tickets as soon as you read it.
I think everything came to life even more with the movie Murder on the Orient Express. Now this journey doesn't start from Istanbul, but it goes from Ankara to Kars. It is quite difficult to find a ticket for the departure, usually tour companies buy them and close them. But it is easier to find return tickets, starting from Kars and ending in Ankara. Tickets for each day are available a month in advance on the TCDD website. The journey takes 24 hours and the places you see are the same in both directions. If you can't find a departure, don't worry, just buy the return. It departs from Kars train station at 8 am.
On the way back, you can order Gel-Gör Cağ Kebab: (0442) 234 21 22, they tell you which stop to call before (Ilıca or Kandilli stop) and when you arrive at the stop, the kebabs are waiting for you ☺
Actually #Kars meant #Sarıkamış for me. My love for skiing made me buy tickets for Sarıkamış, the last ski resort I had not been to. I'm glad it was so, thanks to that I saw a completely different culture. Tickets were bought 3 months in advance. The hotels I stayed in Kars were really incredible. I was so indecisive that I went to 2 different hotels for 2 nights :) The first night we stayed at @hotelcheltikov hotel. It was built in 1874, used as an opera house for a long time and restored after the Russians left Kars.
For other hotels, see http://www.boutiquesmallhotels.com/kars-hotels Kars page in detail!
The first day we rented a car at the airport. There is an option to rent a car at the airport :) So it was very democratic... The first route is Çıldır Lake. It took about 1 hour from Kars airport. The lake freezes completely in winter. A wonderful white image welcomes you. And a small tour with sleds on the lake awaits you. There is a restaurant called Atalay'in Yeri by the lake, a wonderful menu with fish from the lake awaits you. Beautiful music (Ahmet Kaya) in the background, a white lake in front of you, a delicious menu, a shabby restaurant and an environment that makes you feel where I am. I liked the yellow wing fish, but my friends liked the trout, you better try them all... If you want to call before you go, the phone number is 0478 311 27 19.
The first stop in Kars is Kars Castle. Since there was ice and snow everywhere, Kars adventure was very sporty. You can take a tea break in the castle. Tea service with a teapot in an authentic environment is perfect for relaxing.
The church of the 12 apostles just below the castle, now known as Kümbet Mosque, is among the places to visit. Mr. Faruk, the imam of the mosque, welcomed us with great hospitality. If the weather permitted, we would have prayed, he is such a great imam. He told us the history of the mosque and then it was time for the call to prayer. This building dates back to the 10th century. It changed as a church, mosque, church, mosque, church, mosque according to the state of sovereignty and remained as a mosque at last :))
The centuries-old walls of Kümbet Mosque seem to whisper stories of the past! The mosque is surrounded by lush gardens and the only sound is the gentle gurgling of a nearby stream.
Other places I want you to see: Caucasian Front War History Museum and Fevzi Çakmak Museum
It starts to get dark around 4:30 in Kars and we head to the hotel for a rest break. Why because a wonderful dinner is waiting for us. Make your reservation. For the first evening we chose Hanımeli restaurant of Dilek Hanım, we got to know her on the phone and I thank her and her family again for the food and the conversation. Her phone number is 0474 212 61 31. We left the menu to her and I think this is the best one. Nevertheless, let me tell you the menu, this is the part I enjoyed the most while writing :) Erişte aşı Soup, Acem roasted meat, Hangel, Dolma, İrevan meatballs, Piti, Cherry Pickles and Kars Halva.
Along with the food, Mrs. Dilek's conversation is priceless. She also offers wine to her favorite guests or to her guests who keep their eyes open. The part I can't pass without mentioning is the Yellow Bride Folk Song that Mrs. Dilek's husband sang to us accompanied by bagpipes. I can say that they did their best to make us comfortable and happy.
✏️ We spent our second day at Ani Ruins. Ani Ruins is 48 km away from Kars. But for me, we can say it is the reason to go to Kars. Ani dates back to the 6th century. But it is said that the caves around it belong to the period before Christ. Life in the cave is right in front of your eyes, I don't know how interested you are in history but I was very impressed. Sait Abi, a security guard, showed us around Ani Ruins, his knowledge and experience is quite amazing. Ani has an entrance with a lion, it came under Turkish rule in 1066 and the Cathedral was converted into a mosque for prayer. In the earthquake in 1319, Ani was badly damaged but some structures are still standing. You should spend at least 2 hours or even more in Ani. Arpaçay forms a border between Ani and Armenia. The historical Silk Road passes through Ani and you can see the Silk Road Bridge. Even at that time, milk was brought to the city through pipes so that there would be no animal odor in the city. Everywhere is surrounded by walls or cliffs. It is really sad that such a history is not appreciated in our country. There are 8 standing churches and 1 mosque to be seen.
The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary impressed me the most. It must be because it has a historical story. Menuçihr Mosque is the oldest mosque built in our lands after the Turkish conquest. A hidden jewel in the middle of nature: Menuchehr Mosque! Let the peaceful atmosphere envelop you as you soak up the timeless beauty and find solace in nature. For dinner we chose Kars Goose House. You can't come to Kars and not eat goose, right? Now I will comment on the taste, but since I was born to eat, I don't know how accurate it would be. I think the goose meat is a knockout:) It is a bit salty and tough but I liked it a lot. Bulgur pilaf topped with cold cuts would be the right start to try this flavor. Ayran aşı soup, ravioli, noodle pilaf and the magnificent flavor Kars halva... It was like a dinner show, but I felt like writing it. You can call 0474 212 37 13 for reservation.
In the evening we went to Kars Store. After our dinner, we enjoyed wine and live music. You can taste Armenian wines. It is very enjoyable and you forget you are in Kars for a moment while listening to the music. You can also buy souvenirs from Kars Store. It is located right opposite Kar's Hotel. Our hotel for the second night was Kar's Hotel. Generally I think everyone who comes to Kars stays in this hotel. The 8-room hotel is white, this is an old Russian building and of course it has been restored.
On the last day we had lunch at Kamer Kadıneli restaurant, which is right next to Kar's Hotel. The decor is like Istanbul cafes. Here we had Evelik Soup, and we had Hangel (in the photos). Then we bought our cheeses. Big Zavots are the masters of this business. They ship everywhere, you don't have to worry about transportation. You cannot go to Kars without buying gruyere and kashkaval. The way back and Kars Ankara Train...
Get ready to take a journey through history! The Stone Bridge, which dates back to the Ottoman period, preserves its fascinating charm and invites visitors to spend time in peace in nature and take unique photos.
Last but not least Nence should be seen both in spring and winter. It is different in spring and winter. It is also close to Doğubayazıt. For those who are interested in history, it is also a must-see.
Here is another unique suggestion that you will not come across very often: Kars Cheese Museum! Experience a piece of Kars' gastronomic heritage in the museum, a treasure trove of cheese-making traditions that have delighted locals and visitors alike for generations! Image available in the gallery.
I think I've discovered a whole different world and I'm more eager to travel in my country. I highly recommend it. What are you still waiting for, get up and go...