Ardahan Province

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Ardahan Province
Ardahan ili
Province of Turkey
Location of Ardahan Province in Turkey
Location of Ardahan Province in Turkey
Country Turkey
Region Northeast Anatolia
Subregion Ağrı
 • Electoral district Ardahan
 • Total 5,661 km2 (2,186 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 98,335
 • Density 17/km2 (45/sq mi)
Area code(s) 0478
Vehicle registration 75

Ardahan Province (Turkish: Ardahan ili), is a province in the north-east of Turkey, at the very end of the country, where Turkey borders with Georgia and Armenia. The provincial capital is the city of Ardahan.


Ardahan province is located in the far north east of Turkey, where the eastern extremity of the high plateau of Eastern Anatolia converges with the Lesser Caucasus mountain range, it is consequently an area of very high altitude and severe winters. This is attractive open countryside which however spends many months of the year under snow, at this altitude temperatures on average reach −20 °C (−4 °F) and can drop below freezing all year round, including summer months.

The local economy depends on farming and raising livestock, until 1993 Ardahan was a district of the province of Kars, becoming a province in its own right has meant more investment in infrastructure

There are two crossing points into the Samtskhe-Javakheti district of Georgia, one at Posof and the other (currently closed) at Çıldır, the Turkish military have a strong presence in this border district, another boost to the local economy.


The predominant climate in the Ardahan province is humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) bordering on a subarctic climate (Dfc), with most large settlements in the province being located in lowest possible elevation areas, in attempt to avoid the year-round cold temperatures, thus staying just below the subarctic limit. Smaller locales, districts, villages and a significant portion of the landscape, exhibits a true subarctic climate (Dfc), being the second most widespread climate in the region.[2]


Ardahan is an impoverished area that since the 1950s has seen a large number of its people migrate to other parts of Turkey or abroad, the population declined from 170,000 people in 1990 to 119,000 in 2000. The population is 105,454 as of 2010. Ethnic groups in the region include, Turks, Georgians and Azerbaijanis; in the period when the province was part of Russian Empire between 1878 and 1917, it was part of the militarily administered Kars Oblast, its population was even more diverse, with large numbers of Armenians, Caucasus Greeks, and Russians.


n 12th century BC region was part of newly formed tribal confederacy of Dieuchi, This federation was powerful enough to counter the Assyrian, later Urartian forays, but, in 760s BC it was finally destroyed and annexed by Colchian incursions, which now found itself facing the hostile Urartu. The Urartian King Sardur II (764–735) led several campaigns against Colchis around 750–741 BC, significantly weakening and exposing it to the attacks of northern tribes. By 720 BC, the Cimmerian incursions from the north destroyed Colchis and significantly affected local society and culture, the first surviving record about this region is attributed to Strabo, who calls it Gogarene (Gugark) and mentions that it was a part of the Kingdom of Armenia, taken away from the Kingdom of Iberia.[3][4] From the ninth to eleventh centuries, Ardahan served as an important transit point for goods arriving from the Abbasid Caliphate and departing to the regions around the Black Sea, during the eighth to ten centuries the region was in the hands of the Bagrationi princes of Tao and Klarjeti, After the liberation from Arab rule, it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Georgia. According to the Arab historian Yahya of Antioch, the Byzantines razed Ardahan and slaughtered its population in 1021,[4] the Mongols took hold of the region in the 1230s but the Georgian princes of Samtskhe-Saatabago were able to recapture it in 1266.

In 1878, after the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), the region was incorporated into the Russian Empire, and until 1918 was known as Kars Oblast. Part of the Democratic Republic of Georgia from 1918 to 1921, Ardahan was reclaimed by Turkey under the Treaty of Kars in 1921.

The construction of the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline gave the local economy a brief boost from 2000 onwards.


Ardahan province is divided into 6 districts (capital district in bold):

Cities and towns[edit]

Places of interest[edit]

  • There are a number of medieval castles in the district including Ardahan Castle itself.
  • Lake Çıldır
  • Phantom of Atatürk in city of Damal

There is a unique natural incident, between mid of June and mid July during sunset, depending on angles of sun xrays; phantom of Atatürk is visible. It was first seen by a shepherd who was with his herd over the hill.

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 41°06′47″N 42°49′15″E / 41.11306°N 42.82083°E / 41.11306; 42.82083


  1. ^ Turkish Statistical Institute, MS Excel document – Population of province/district centers and towns/villages and population growth rate by provinces
  2. ^ "Climate:Ardahan". Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  3. ^ Strabo. Geographica. 11.14.7.
  4. ^ a b (in Armenian) «Արդահան» [Ardahan]. Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1976, vol. ii, p. 7.