"Day 10: Eastwards to Erzurum" Turkey Things to Do Tip by TheWanderingCamel

Turkey Things to Do: 1,137 reviews and 1,881 photos

1. Through the mountains
2. Lunch by the river
3. Bayburt citadel
4. View from the top
5. A terrible price

As the crow flies it's only 180 kilometres from Trabzon to Erzurum, a 30 minute flight at most. By road, it's 325 km, the best part of 5 hours driving as the road takes you on a long climb through the forests and valleys of the East Black Sea Mountains, up and over the Zigana Pass (2030 metres) and out onto the the rolling expanse of the Anatolian plateau where the scenery shifts between the rolling brown slopes of the steppe and long tree-filled valleys.

Bayburt, the provincial capital, provided a break, with a stop for lunch on the terrace of a pleasant, riverside cafe. A short walk down the main street afforded the sight of local women wearing an all-enveloping brown homespun woollen robe - a šarşaf - our guide tells us these are peculiar to this area, a particularly conservative region. A mediaeval citadel dominates the town from a high hill - of course we go up to it and although the fortress is little more than massive empty shell, the view from the top is magnificent, with all of Bayburt laid out at our feet.

Time to move on, still 160km to go, over an even higher (2370 metres) pass at Kop, where a stark memorial commemorates tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers who died here one dreadful winter fighting the Russians during WWI, - in a terrible irony, the Russians pulled out within months as revolution swept across their own homeland - and finally across the plateau to arrive at Erzurum.

Our hotel for the night was one of the new, modern hotels built some 5km out of town at the Palandoken ski resort but, before checking in there, we stopped to visit an ensemble of 12th century Seljuk religious buildings and tombs - the Cifte Minareli Medrese (Twin Minaret Medressa), the Ulu Cami (Ulu Mosque) and the Uc Kumbetler (Three Tombs) and take a walk around this end of the town.

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  • Updated Mar 17, 2012
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