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A Night in Erzurum

Once again Turkey treated us to a variety of roads as we drove from Mt. Nemrut northeast to Erzurum.  The city is on a steppe near a bunch of mountains and is most famous for its nearby ski resort, Palondoken.  Since it was summer, we didn’t see any snow, although it wasn’t really warm either.

Although we had read that Erzurum was a hip university town, neither of us was that impressed with the place.  We went to the Taşhane (jewelry bazaar) in search of its most famous product, black amber.  Everything just looked like black onyx, however, and was a little too embellished and glitzy for our taste.

We did check out a few of the old Selcuk buildings.  My favorite was the Yakutiye medresah (religious school) with its neat column.  This school was actually built by the Mongols in 1362, but it follows typical Selcuk style.  If you look closely at the minaret, it’s covered with small coloful tiles.

Because we got a little lost and then hungry for dinner, we never found the Main Mosque, which is supposed to have impressive views of the city and surrounding scenery from its citadel.  Instead we checked out another mosque, the Lala Mustafapasa, which was built in 1562.  Here’s a view from it’s porch.  I didn’t take any pictures inside because there were actually a lot of people praying.


By far the most memorable part of our night in Erzurum was dinner.  The one place we knew to serve alcohol was inexplicably closed, so we ended up at a place called Erzurum Houses.  It’s a block of old Ottoman style houses that were bought up by a developer, combined, and then decorated in an overkill style with kilims, cushions, and antique stuff covering most surfaces.  Instead of dining rooms, there are nooks all over the place, so it’s pretty neat to check out every corner before you pick your perch.  I can’t say much for the food, and I’m sure if they served better stuff or drinks, they’d make a killing.  If you can lounge around all night just drinking tea, however, this would be your place.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Patrick Redmon #

    Dear Sarah: So glad to see that your sister was able to visit and you two have been “out and about,” enjoying the sights and sounds of Turkey! I still find it fascinating that the world still has these large, beautiful buildings from hundreds of years ago. I suppose our very short, “barely more than 200 years” of American history view point adds to the allure of the world’s ancient structures, but who can argue the “neat factor” of having dinner inside houses from the Ottoman Empire? (marginal food notwithstanding…) By the way, is it just the camera angle on madrasa or is the minaret/column leaning to the left? I think I see it in the background of the other photo (taken from the porch of the mosque) and it appears to be pretty straight in that one… You and your sister have certainly had some adventuresome driving, too! Your mother is probably wearing out the rosary beads back in Michigan! 🙂 I always share your posts with Olivia and she commented that “It must be nice to have a sister to travel around the world with!” I guess zipping around Turkey with her brothers is not something she’s looking forward to? (ha ha) I have the clan down in Cape May, NJ for the July 4th weekend and we are fighting off the rains being pushed our way by the season’s first hurricane (Arthur) that made its way along the North Carolina coast. Yesterday was very windy but otherwise clear and sunny so perhaps a break from the sun will be good for these fair skinned Irish kids. 🙂 Be careful during your travels and be sure to also keep alert during the normal, daily routine. Keep the posts coming, Sarah. We all do appreciate your diligent efforts to keep us connected! S/F Col R

    July 4, 2014

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