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Oltu is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 40°32′59″N 41°59′59″E / 40.54972°N 41.99972°E / 40.54972; 41.99972Coordinates: 40°32′59″N 41°59′59″E / 40.54972°N 41.99972°E / 40.54972; 41.99972
Country  Turkey
Province Erzurum
 • Mayor İbrahim Ziyrek (AKP)
 • Kaymakam Eyüp Tepe
 • District 1,394.09 km2 (538.26 sq mi)
Population (2012)[2]
 • Urban 22,127
 • District 32,617
 • District density 23/km2 (61/sq mi)
Post code 25400
Website www.oltu.bel.tr

Oltu (Georgian: ოლთისი, Oltisi; Armenian: Ողթիկ, Voght'ik; Russian: Ольта, Olta, (Kurdish: Oltî), ) is a town and district of Erzurum Province in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. The mayor is İbrahim Ziyrek (AKP). The population was 19,969 in 2010.


Olti is mentioned for the first time in sources dating to the tenth and eleventh centuries AD, although it is known that it had been established much earlier.[3] The city-fortress had once belonged to the Mamikonian nakharars and later passed into the hands of the Bagratunis. Administratively, it was found within the borders of the region of Vok'aghe in the province of Tayk (known to the Georgians as Tao).[3] Until 1000, it was a part of the domains of David Kuropalates, when in that year it shifted to Byzantine control. In the following centuries, Olti successively passed into the control of the Seljuk Turks, the Mongols and Turkmen tribes, all the while retaining its Armenian identity.[citation needed] The Ottomans conquered Olti from the Georgians in the sixteenth century.[4]

In the summer of 1829, the Russians took control of the region but relinquished it to the Ottomans. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the town was incorporated into the Russian Empire and made a part of Kars Oblast.[3] Prior to the out break of the First World War Olti had a population of 2,373, 1,056 of which were Armenian, 620 were Russian, and 357 were Turkish. In last months of 1918, Olti was nominally part of Democratic Republic of Georgia but it was ruled by Turkish warlords. In 1919, Olti was annexed by the Democratic Republic of Armenia. The following year, the Turkish armies in Eastern Anatolia led by Kazım Karabekir invaded Armenia during the Turkish War of National Liberation and recovered Olti, a territorial gain which was confirmed in subsequent treaties signed between the Turks and the Soviets.[5]

Main historical sights in Oltu are the castle which could date to the medieval or the early Ottoman period.[6] It was enlarged in later times for the use of artillery and the north bastion has a Muslim tomb.[6] The castle has been partly restored.[6] In the castle there are remains of a medieval church built by the Byzantines after the 11th century.[6] During the Ottoman period the Arslan Pasa Mosque was build in 1665 by Arslan Pasha together with his grave.[6] It is a domed structure with a pencil minaret. Nearby is the 14th century Muslim tomb/kümbet, of Misri Zunnun located.[6] During the Russian rule (1878-1914) a new church was build which is now partly ruined, some of its stones could have come from the medieval Bana Cathedral.[6] In the neighboring locations of Oltu there are several small castles and several small medieval churches/chapels.[6] In the village of Gaziler there is a 12th century Saltukid castle with a small Ottoman mosque build in 1784.[6]


Oltu is situated in the Oltu Brook Valley, a tributary of the Çoruh River, in the northeastern part of Turkey. Outside the valley the topography is mountainous, with ample mountain forests. The highest hills are Akdağ of 3,030m and Kırdağ of 2,000m. Annual average temperature is 10.2°C.

Oltu is famous for its Oltu stone or Oltu Gemstone, known as Black Amber with dull-bright black color and carved to produce jewelry, rosary beads, key-chains, pipes and boxes.


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ a b c (Armenian) Hakobyan, Tadevos Kh. «Օլթի» (Olti). Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. vol. xi. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1986, pp. 527-528.
  4. ^ Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia, 7th volume.
  5. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1996). The Republic of Armenia, Vol. IV: Between Crescent and Sickle, Partition and Sovietization. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 182–190. ISBN 0-520-08804-2. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sinclair, T.A. (1990). Eastern Turkey: An Architectural & Archaeological Survey, Volume II. Pindar Press. ISBN 9780907132325. 

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