Ulu Cami, or "the Grand Mosque" is located very close to the Cifte Minareli Medrese.
This big mosque dates back to the 12th century and it has an unusual shape with seven wide naves. The Minaret is also interesting, though not too tall.
It is another remarkable example of Seljuk architecture, very well preserved.
It is very nice to visit this school and the surrounding area. There are some interesting old tombs near by (13th century) and many other monuments reminding the importance of Erzurum as a religious center through the history.
The Cifte Minareli medrese (Twin Minaret school) is one of the more noticeable buildings in Erzurum. Originally a religious school, it has now been converted to a fairly upmarket cafe, yet the religious aspect is preserved by a small shrine at the far end of the courtyard. To enter, take your shoes off, and don't take photos...worshippers won't take too kindly to having a camera flashed in their face when they are praying. The courtyard is nice, but the minarets are stunning, especially when viewed close up. From a distance, the medrese could be mistaken for a factory of some sorts (or at least that is what my dad thought when he first saw the intro photo!), but when you stand below and look up, you'll see it is speckled with green tiles and Qur'anic inscriptions (see photo in the Cultural Tips section below).
Behind the Cifte Minareli Medrese, you'll come across three small domed structures...these are the Uc Gumbetler, or three tombs. They all date from the 13th century, although when it comes to names, my memory can be like a sieve (i.e. I've forgotten whose tombs they are!!).
Erzurum is a conservative place, and has several important religious monuments, such as the Three Minaret Mosque and its tombs, plus a very interesting cultural museum housed in a former medrese. Outside, I met two children who insisted they were 13 years old, but looked to be no more than 8 at the most. They asked if I could take them inside the museum, so that they could guide me. This was very good opportunity for me to practice my Turkish, and it turned out that one of them knew a surprising amount of Arabic, so when I didn't understand his Turkish explanation, he would repeat it in Arabic for me. They were my guides for the best part of two hours, taking me inside a couple of nearby mosques as well, then suddenly one of them disappeared for a couple of minutes, returning with ice-cream for me. I offered to give some money to them, but they refused every offer, saying that they were Koranic students and to offer them money would have been a huge insult to them. I decided there and then that I liked this city.
The remains of the castle should be your first port of call, just to get a good overview of the city...theoretically, there is an entry charge payable at the ticket booth, but when the ticket man goes off for lunch, he doesn't seem too careful about locking up! Mind you, he wasn't too bothered when he came back to find the place 'full of tourists' (all twelve...all Turkish except me), and didn't bother to ask for any money...he probably missed out on the only business to come his way all day, but just laughed it all off with a glass of tea!
This mosque is Ottoman in style, commissioned by Lala Mustafa - who was the conquorer of Cyprus. It was built between 1562 and 1563 by the great architect Sinan.
in çobandede.an elegant ottoman bridge on aras river still resists after more than four centuries....