|• Mayor||Faruk Köksoy (AKP)|
|• District||1,191.37 km2 (459.99 sq mi)|
|• District Density||35/km2 (91/sq mi)|
Ancient and medieval
Ardahan was incorporated into the Kingdom of Armenia during 2nd century BC. It was located in the canton of Ardahan, which was a part of the province of Gugark'. In the ninth century, the city was taken by the Bagrationi princes of Artanuj. In Ancient times the region was called Gogarene, which is assumed to derive from the name of Gugars. First surviving record about this region is attributed to Strabo, who mentions that it was a province of Caucasian Iberia. From the ninth to eleventh centuries, Ardahan was an important transit point for goods arriving from the Abbasid Caliphate and departing to the regions around the Black Sea. During the 8th to 11th centuries it was part of Georgian principality of Tao-Klarjeti. After the liberation from the Arab rule it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Georgia and was part of it from 11th century onwards. According to the Arab historian Yahya of Antioch, the Byzantines burned down Ardahan and slaughtered its population in 1021. The Mongols took hold of the city in the 1230s but the Georgian princes of Samtskhe-Saatabago were able to capture it from them in 1266.
The principality of Samtskhe-Saatabago was annexed by the Ottoman Empire in 1555 and Ardahan was included into the sanjak of Ardahan (an overall part of the vilayet of Akhaltsikhe). The Ottomans constructed a substantial fortress at Ardahan. The Turkish traveller Evliya Chelebi visited Ardahan in the 1640s and gave the following description: "The fortress of Ardahan sits atop an inaccessible cliff. It is square-shaped and sturdy....This fortress has a cold climate and, because of this, there are no gardens or orchards. Fruits arrive from the fortress at Ajara and Tortum."
Prior to the outbreak of the 1828-1829 Russo-Turkish war, Ardahan was composed of 400 households, the great majority of them Armenian. Many of them later immigrated to Russia. The town passed into the hands of the Russian Empire following the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War and was made a part of the Kars Oblast. The majority of the town was made up of Armenians, while other ethnic groups included Georgians, Pontic Greeks, Jews, Russians, Kurds and Yazidis. The town flourished economically under Russian rule, exporting fruits, smoked lamb meat, wheat and wood. New roads were constructed, linking Ardahan to Akhalkalak, Kars and Oltu. On December 25, 1914, in the early months of the First World War, the Ottoman army occupied Ardahan and massacred many of its Armenian, Pontic Greek, and Georgian inhabitants. The Russians, with the help of Armenian and Pontic Greek militias, captured the town on June 3, 1915, allowing some of the original inhabitants who had fled to return.
As Russian forces withdrew from the front following the October Revolution, a small Armenian volunteer force took up positions to defend the town from the approaching Ottoman Army. On March 6, 1918 the Ottoman army, along with the help of the town's Muslims, overwhelmed Ardahan's Armenian garrison and retook the town. The British occupied Ardahan after the end of the First World War and eventually handed control over it to the First Republic of Armenia. When the Turkish Nationalists captured Ardahan in November 1920, the town's remaining Armenians, Pontic Greeks, and Georgians fled to Armenia, northern Greece, and Georgia. The Treaty of Moscow, signed the following year between the Soviets and the Turks, confirmed Ardahan as a part of Turkish territory.
In 1960, Ardahan's population stood at 7,228 and was populated by both Kurds and Turks.
Life in Ardahan
Ardahan is one of the small provincial capitals in Turkey and was until 1993 a small town in the province of Kars. In 1993 the district was made a province, with Ardahan as its regional capital. This resulted in new investment in government buildings and services, but life in mountains that spend half the year under snow is still a struggle.
Kars Kafkas University has an institute in Ardahan. There is also a substantial military presence in the town. The army no longer occupies the Ottoman fortress and it is accessible to visitors. The civil servants, academics, and military officers stationed in Ardahan help to support the local economy. These people have their own clubs and guest houses, as in many Turkish towns.
Ardahan has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfb), with warm and brief summers with cool nights and very cold winters. Climate turn subarctic on the hillsides near Artvin. Winters are very snowy with snow cover lasting from late October to mid April. Although sometimes it snows in early October and late April, it usually don't remains on the ground for much. However strong snowfall recorded even in July in the past. Average annual temperaure is 0°C. There are average 14 nights below −30 °C (−22.0 °F) in a year. And there is one night below −40 °C (−40.0 °F) in 14 years in average. The highest recorded temperature was 35 °C (95.0 °F) on 29 August 1998. The lowest recorded temperature was −50.3 °C (−58.5 °F) on 14 January 1941. Average low January temperature is −22 °C (−7.6 °F). However, temperatures may drop −50 °C (−58.0 °F) in very rare occasions.
|Climate data for Ardahan 1971-2011 (Records 1925-Today)|
|Record high °C (°F)||7.8
|Average high °C (°F)||−10
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−16
|Average low °C (°F)||−22
|Record low °C (°F)||−50.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||18
|Avg. rainy days||9||10||11||14||17||15||11||11||8||10||10||10||136|
|Avg. snowy days||16||13||12||7||3||0||0||0||0.4||5||9||15||80.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||34||76||118||167||216||238||256||243||201||125||55||28||1,757|
|Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service |
Local Days of Celebration
- Freedom Day - 23 February
- Commemoration day for Çanakkale Victory - 18 March
- Commemoration day for Air Force Martyrs - 21 March
- Seljuq Conquest of Ardahan - 24 June
- Ram Introduction - 10 October
- Festival of Animals and Animal Products - 20 August
- Traditional Goose Festival - 18 November
Twin towns—Sister cities
Ardahan is twinned with:
- "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- (Armenian) Anon. «Արդահան» (Ardahan). Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. vol. ii. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1976, p. 7.
- (Armenian) Melkonyan, Ashot. «Արդահան» (Ardahan). Encyclopedia of the Armenian Question. Yerevan: Yerevan State University Press, 1996, p. 54.
- (Armenian) Evliya Chelebi. Թուրքական Աղբյուրներ, Էվլիյա Չելեբի (Turkish Sources, Evliya Chelebi). Foreign Sources on Armenia and Armenians: Turkish Sources, Volume 3. Trans. and commentary by Aram Kh. Safrastyan. Yerevan: Oriental Department of Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1967, p. 113.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ardahan.|
- (Armenian) Kyureghyan, Levon. Կարս և Արտահան (Kars and Artahan). Vienna: Mkhitarian Press, 1949.
- (Armenian) Yeremyan, Suren T. Հայաստանը ըստ «Աշխարհացույցի» (Armenia According to the Ashkharatsuyts). Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1963.