| Eastern Anatolia|
Murtaza Karacanta (MHP)
Kars (Armenian: or ???? Ghars, Georgian: Karsi) is a city in northeast Turkey and the capital of Kars Province.
With a population of 73,826 (in 2010), it is the largest city on the Turkish side of the border with Armenia. For a brief period of time, it served as the capital of the medieval Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Its significance increased in the 19th century, when Kars was contested between the Ottoman and Russian empires, with the latter gaining control of the city as a result of the 1877-78 war. During World War I, the Ottomans took control of the city in 1918, but were forced to relinquish it to the First Republic of Armenia following the Armistice of Mudros. During the Turkish–Armenian War in late 1920, Turkish revolutionaries captured Kars for the last time. The controversial Treaty of Kars was signed in 1921 between the Government of the Grand National Assembly and the Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, which established the current north-eastern boundaries of Turkey.
For the origin of the name "Kars", some sources claim it to be derived from the Georgian word ???? (kari), meaning "the gate" while other sources claim it is from the Armenian word ???? (hars) which is a folk etymological word for bride, or rather from ?????? ???? (karuts berd), "Karuts Fortress". The Georgian etymology, along with a Turkish one offered by M. Fahrettin Kirzioglu (that the name came from the "Karsak", a Turkish tribe), has been criticized by some scholars.
The Castle of Kars (Turkish: ), also known as the Citadel, sits at the top a rocky hill overlooking Kars. Its walls date back to the Bagratuni Armenian period (there is surviving masonry on the north side of the castle) but it probably took on its present form during the thirteenth century when Kars was ruled by the Zakarid dynasty.
The walls bear crosses in several places, including a khachkar with a building inscription in Armenian on the easternmost tower, so the much repeated statement that Kars castle was built by Ottoman Sultan Murad III during the war with Persia, at the close of the sixteenth century, is inaccurate. However, Murad probably did reconstruct much of the city walls (they are similar to those that the Ottoman army constructed at Ardahan). During the eighteenth century at the Battle of Kars (1745) a crushing defeat was inflicted upon the Ottoman army by the Persian conqueror, Nader Shah, not far from the city of Kars.
By the nineteenth century the citadel had lost most of its defensive purpose and a series of outer fortresses and defensive works were constructed to encircle Kars - this new defensive system proved particularly notable during the Siege of Kars in 1855.
Kars is the setting of the 2002 novel Kar (Snow) by Orhan Pamuk.
Yerkir Nairi (????? ?????) novel by Yeghishe Charents is dedicated to the public persons and places of Kars.
Modest Mussorgsky composed the march "The Capture of Kars" to commemorate Russias victory there in 1855.
The film Kosmos (Cosmos) by Reha Erdem was filmed in and around Kars.
Among the most famous food products special to Kars region are Kars honey, Kars Kasseri, Kars Gruyere cheese, which tastes like Swiss Emmental cheese, and Kars style roasted goose.