Sites & cities that bear the name of Kars


Today in : Turkey
First trace of activity : ca. 5th century C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Amurn Karuts, Amrots'n Karuts, Karuts' Berd, Karuts' K'aghak, Qars, Qers‎, Կարս, Ղարս, კარი, ყარსი

Description : Kars (Azerbaijani: Qars, Kurdish: Qers‎, Armenian: Կարս or Ղարս, Old Georgian: კარი, Georgian: ყარსი) is a city in northeast Turkey and the capital of Kars Province. Its population is 73,836 as of 2011. Kars was in the ancient region known as Chorzene, (in Greek Χορζηνή) in classical historiography (Strabo), part of Roman Armenia. Little is known of the early history of Kars beyond the fact that, during medieval times, it had its own dynasty of Armenian rulers and was the capital of a region known as Vanand. Medieval Armenian historians referred to the city by a variety of names, including "Karuts' K'aghak'" (Kars city), "Karuts' Berd", "Amrots'n Karuts'" (both meaning Kars Fortress) and "Amurn Karuts'" (Impenetrable Kars). At some point in the ninth century (at least by 888) it became part of the territory of the Armenian Bagratunis. Kars was the capital of Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia between 928 and 961. During this period the town's cathedral, later known as the Church of the Holy Apostles, was built. In 963, shortly after the Bagratuni seat was transferred to Ani, Kars became the capital of a separate independent kingdom, again called Vanand. However, the extent of its actual independence from the Kingdom of Ani is uncertain: it was always in the possession of the relatives of the rulers of Ani, and, after Ani's capture by the Byzantine Empire in 1045, the Bagratuni title "King of Kings" held by the ruler of Ani was transferred to the ruler of Kars. In 1064, just after the capture of Ani by Alp Arslan (leader of the Seljuk Turks), the Armenian king of Kars, Gagik-Abas, paid homage to the victorious Turks so that they would not lay siege to his city. In 1065 Gagik-Abas ceded his kingdom to the Byzantine Empire, but soon after Kars was taken by the Seljuk Turks. The Seljuks quickly relinquished direct control over Kars and it became a small emirate whose territory corresponded closely to that of Vanand, and which bordered the similarly created but larger Shaddadid emirate centered at Ani. The Kars emirate was a vassal of the Saltukids in Erzurum, whose forces were effective in opposing Georgian attempts at seizing Kars. Thus, it was only in 1206 that Zakare of the Zakarids-Mkhargrzeli succeeded in capturing Kars, joining it to their fiefdom of Ani. It was conquered in 1242 by the Mongols; was regained by Georgian Kingdom during the reign of George V the Brilliant (1314–1346), it remained part of the Kingdom before its disintegration, which then passed into the hands of Georgian Atabegs belonging to the House of Jaqeli. In 1387 the city surrendered to Timur (Tamerlane) and its fortifications were damaged. Anatolian beyliks followed for some time after that, until it firstly fell into the hands of the Kara Koyunlu and subsequent Ak Koyunlu. After the Ak Koyunlu, as it went naturally for almost all their former territories, the city fell into the hands of the newly established Safavid dynasty of Iran, founded by king Ismail I. Following the Peace of Amasya of 1555 that followed through the Ottoman-Safavid War of 1533-1555, the city was declared neutral, and its existing fortress was destroyed. In 1585, during the Ottoman-Safavid War of 1579-1590, the Ottomans took the city alongside Tabriz. On June 8, 1604, during the next bout of hostilities between the two archrivals, the Ottoman-Safavid War of 1603-1618, Safavid ruler Abbas I retook the city from the Ottomans. The fortifications of the city were rebuilt by the Ottoman Sultan Murad III and were strong enough to withstand a siege by Nader Shah of Persia, in 1731. It became the head of a sanjak in the Ottoman Erzurum Vilayet. In August 1745, a huge Ottoman army was routed at Kars by Nader Shah during the Ottoman-Persian War of 1743-1746. As a result, the Turks fled westwards, raiding their own lands as they went.

See on map »