Agri is built on one of the highest plateaus of Turkey. It leans against the grand snowy Agri (Ararat) Mountain at 5165 m which became the symbol of the city. It is located on a plateau of 1650 m high. Agri is the highest point you can watch Turkey and is in a position to be Turkey’s gate to the East. Through history, it has hosted many societies and civilizations. Agri is among the most important tourist centers in the east with its legendary mountain, which is available for climbing and trekking in the summer and skiing in the winter. In the area, winters are cold and rough; summers are dry and hot. One of the oldest societies settling at Agri and surrounding is Hurriler. Hurriler emerged after Hittites’ losing power over East Anatolia Region during 14th century BC. After them the region was dominated by Urartians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans and Byzantines. The Seljuks have started to dominate Agri in the 11th century, which was taken by the Arabians in the 7th century AC and invaded many times due to its strategic position. The Seljuks’ domination ended as a result of the Mongol raids. Later, the city was dominated by Ilkhanids, Celayirliler, Karakoyunlular, Akkoyunlular, Safeviler and Ottomans; during the World War I it was occupied by the Russians and returned back to Turkey as a result of Kars Agreement issued in 1921.
Because animal breeding is developed, meat and milk product form the basis of the cuisine is Sac Kavurma (meat fried on a sac, a wok like utensil). Steamed Gosteberg, Abdigor Meatballs, hengel, kuymak, kete, bisi, Erdek, bulgur pilav, lalanga, ayran asi, halise, ciris ketesi, murtuga and deveci soup are the region’s characteristic meals.
Rug business is a important handicraft in Agri. Besides it, kilims, sweaters, felts and socks are souvenirs of the region.www.agri.bel.trwww.agri.gov.tr
It is located on the east side of the center, about 7 km away out of the 50th km of Erzurum-Iran road. The district is famous for its hot springs by the Murat River.
It is located about 93 km away from the center, to the east side. The most important historical building of the district is Ishak Pasa Palace. Also Fish Lake and Meteor Cavity draw the attention of the tourists.
In the district, skiing facilities are built in 1998 around Guneykaya region. It is a complete facility including a hotel with 48 beds, mechanical systems, daily facility, a cafe on the top and picnic area.
It is located about 15 km away from the city center. The main historical buildings of the district are Mahmut Pasa Kumbet and Havaran Castle left form the Seljuks.
The district is at a 1535 m height form the sea level and has an area of 1562 km2. The ground of the area has the characteristic of a high plateau and it is pretty rough.
Mosques, Kumbets and Palaces
Old Beyazit Mosque (Cami-i Gevher Digar)
The mosque is made up of hewn stone; it has a square plan of 15 x 15 m dimensions and it has single dome. In the building brown, yellow and white stones are used in a mixed way. The entrance door, the walls, the altar, the son cemaat yeri, systems for the transition to the belts, the belts on the walls, the windows and the minaret are very aesthetic and plain.
It is built by Mirza Bin Adbi Pasa in 1684.
Surmeli Mehmet Pasa Tomb
The mosque is located at Hamur city center and is built during the Ottoman time. The kumbet, which is built using white, soft stones, has a belt of two lines those are made up of red stones.
Uc Kumbetler (The Three Kumbets)
One of the three kumbets is located in Ziyaret village that is 2 km away from the Patnos district; the others are in Taskiran village on Suphan Mountain side and in Acim, a village of Dedeli township.
It has a different architecture compared to the Seljuk kumbets. The body has a rectangular shape and the top of it has a herringbone pattern. It is said that the kumbet s built by one of the grandchildren of Ishak Pasa in the 18th century.
Ishak Pasa Palace
At a 5 km distance to Dogubeyazit to the east, you can see the silhouette of Ishak Pasa Palace among the hills. The palace seems to be out of a fairy tale with its mystic atmosphere. Ishak Pasa Palace is located on a hill that overlooks Dogubeyazit and the only point that does not see the Agri Mountain. The building of the palace is built on a rocky area. The level area on the east side of the building leads to the entrance door. This part is the narrowest side of the building. The entrance door of the palace is the weakest part of the palace in terms of defense. The portal on the east side of the palace which is made up of hewn stones, reflects the characteristics of the Seljuks art with its relieves and decoration.
The palace was started in 1685 by Colak Abdi Pasa, the governor of Dogu Beyazit, was carried on by his son Ishak Pasa who was the governor of Cildir and completed by his son Mehmet Pasa in 1784. The palace covering an area of 7.600 m2 (115x50 m) was completed in 99 years.
Ishak Pasa Palace is one of the master pieces of Turkish architecture and has the characteristics of Turkestan, Seljuks, Ottoman and Persian architecture. The domes of the mosque are like of Turkestan and reminds of Topkapi Palace and the doors are of Seljuk style.
After Tokapi Palace, it is the most famous palace among the latest ones. Ishak Pasa Palace is a kulliye (complex) more than just a palace. The architecture units of the palace may be listed as: First and the second inner court, selamlik (males section), Mosque, Asevi (Daruzziyafe) (refectory), ceremony and entertainment saloon, takapilar, arsenal and cellars, tomb, oven and dungeon. The palace contains two floors and 336 rooms are located in these floors. Each room has a stone furnace. The cavities on the stone walls prove that whole building has a central heating system. The Divan saloon has stone walls and floor. The walls are decorated with unique examples of Turkish hat (calligraphy).
Castles and Churchs
The castle, which stands like a whole rock block, is 100-150 m long. It is made up of stones with 2 m length and width. On the top of the castle there is an entrance hole that is 3 m wide and through this door you can go down to the perron in the castle via the stairs with 30 steps. In this perron there are 3 entrance doors and stairs leading to the underground tunnels. It is predicted that these tunnels reach the Meya Caves. The castle is located in Tokluca village which is 19 km to the Diyadin district.
The builder of the castle is not exactly known. It is located 15 km away to the west of Tutak district, close to Donertas village. Te castle is also known as “Kale-i Hum”.
It is located at 5 km away to the east of Dogubeyazit, over the rocks known as Belleburc. The Urartian graves and residues of the antique ages show that it was an antique city.
It is at the Diyadin city center. The material used and the building style show that the castle is left built by the Urartians. It is repaired and used by Akkoyunlular, Karkoyunlular and Ottomans.
It is at the Hamur city center. It is built on the rocks over the Hamur Stream. It is at about 100 m height from the spring. The castle left from the Seljuks and it has a mosque, Kalebeyi Konagi (the house of the castle’s governor), camel khans in it and an observation tower located at 400 m away from the castle and over a hill higher than the castle.
It is located at the Karlica village which is about 35 km away from the Hamur district. It is not exactly known, by whom and when the castle was built. There is a place of worship, dungeons and a water tower in the castle. The castle is repaired by Karakoyunlular.
Kız Kalesi (Girl’s Castle)
It is built over a hill, at a 2 km distance from Sosik castle to the east. It is said that the castle is built for the daughter of Sosik Castle’s governor.
Kupkiran (Harabe Gol) Castle
It is between Yukari Kupkiran village which is 20 km away from Agri, to the east and Harabegol village. It is a castle having embrasures made up of hewn stones.
The castle belongs to the Urartians period. Worship places and residences are completely destroyed and only residues of bastions and walls have reached today. The castle is located at a 14 km distance to the east of Eleskirt district, in Toprakkale village.
It is built on the Aznavur Hill, which is at a 2 km distance to the northeast of Patnos district. The castle belongs to the Urartian civilization, and is built in 8th century BC. The walls of the castle were built by Urartian king Menua and the worship place is built by Ispuni.
It is an underground church built by cavitating the rocks. It is close to the Dayipinari village that is located at a 26 km distance to the west of Tutak district.
Other Tourist, Natural and Cultural Assets
Agri (Ararat) Mountain
Agri Mountain, the highest mountain of Turkey with a 5165 m height, has always drawn the attention of climbers and adventurers. According to the common belief, which made the mountain a famous tourist place, Noah’s Ark came to rest on this mountain after the great flood, the mountain is also mentioned in the Bible and the Torah. In addition to its legendary feature, the mountain is also impressive with the awesome look with its emerging from flat area to the sky, snowy peaks even in the summer time and the kinds of animals it hosts.
Agri Mountain has different names in various languages. Main ones are: Ararat, Kuh-i Nuh and Cebelul Haris.
According to the records, the first one to climb the mountain was Prof. Frederik Von Parat, on 9.October.1829. The second one was much later than the first one; Dr. Bozkort Ergor, ex-president of Climbing Federation, climbed the mountain on 21.February.1970. During the 1980s thousands of climbers visited the mountain. Climbing the Agri Mountain was forbidden in 1990. However it was made free again by the Climbing Federation’s allowing a group of climbers in 1998.
Best times to climb are during July, August and September. Climbing during the winter is tough but pleasurable. Dogubeyazit is the closest city center to the mountain. It is available from Agri and Erzurum. There are accommodation and food facilities in the city and its surrounding.
The climbing is made following the Dogubeyazit, Topcatan Village – Eli Farm route and only from the mountain side in the limits of Dogubeyazit.
Small Agri Mountain is climbed only from the northwest side. The best and the most common route used to reach the top of the Agri Mountain is the south route, when transportation, security and climbing conditions are considered.
The climbers staying in Dogubeyazit can complete the necessary arrangements here. Then they will reach the Eli Farm by a vehicle. They can supply water here and then the first camping place at 2800 m height is reached after walking for 7-8 hrs and they can spend the night here. On the second day, the next camping place at about 4200 m height is reached after 8-10 hrs of walking. To climb to the top, the climbers must have crampons, ice axe and rope. The top is reached after climbing for 8-10 hrs and the climbers return to the first camping place at 2800 m.
The skiing center is 18 km away from the Agri city center. There is a skiing facility built on the Bubi Mountain that belongs to the Special Provincial Administration of Agri. In the center there is a café, which is available for 60 people.
There is a teleskis serving with a capacity 600 people/hr having a length of 1227 m. In addition to this a chair lift facility is built with 4 people chairs t a 45 km distance to Agri and 4 km to the Eleskirt district. The capacity is 1000 people/hr and the length is 1650 m.
It is monument looks like a ship located at the south part of Agri Mountain, between Telceker and Mesar Villages. The researchers, mainly James Irwin, have been studying this area since 1983 to make researches about the claims saying that Noah’s Ark rested here after the great flood.
The cavity, located between Gurbulak border and Saricavus village is made by a Meteor that fell 70-80 years ago. It is the second biggest meteor cavity following the one in Alaska. The Meteor Cavity is 35 m wide and 60 m deep.
It is on the flat area that Small Agri Mountain side ends. It is a unique cave which is like a natural monument. It is 15-20 m deep in the ground. It is 100 m long and 50 m wide. There ice stalagmites at about a human’s size and they have different colors under light.
The caves at a15 km distance from Diyadin are human made used for sheltering, worshipping and other vital activities. The caves which were used as residence in the past are like monument cities. There are traces of various different believes and cultures. The caves are very large and there are residues of churches, graves and a water channel.
Dambat Cermigi and Mineral Water
It is located at a 5 km distance from Agri in the Yolluyazi (Dambat) village. The water coming from the ground has sulfur in it. It is said to be good for skin diseases like acne and for rheumatism.
Diyadin Thermal Springs
The springs at a 5 km distance to the south of Diyadin district, contain three hot water springs called Kopru, Yilanli and Davut. The water is known to be good for skin diseases and rheumatism diseases resulting from infections. There is tourist hotel with a capacity of 150 beds.