Our route from Şavşat to Kars carries us onward toward the Armenian frontier. En route we'll come upon the small city of Ardahan, whose fortress was re-commissioned by none other than Suleyman the Magnificent. Beyond Ardahan we'll come to the Devil's Castle (Şeytan Castle), a monument of eerie beauty whose foundations remain mysteriously unknown.
Note: getting inside this castle is the most challenging part of this trip, but anyone who does not want to go inside can still enjoy the beautiful atmosphere outside.
Afterwards, we'll practically brush the borders of Georgia and Armenia en route to Kars, passing via the 2,000m high Lake Çildir. At this high altitude freshwater lake we'll rest for a lunch you won't forget in a hurry. From there it's onward to Kars.
Overnight in Beylerneyi Sayari, Kars
Meal plan: Breakfast
Meaning "lake of shadows", Lake Çıldır is a large freshwater lake in the mountains of the Ardahan Province. Because of the high altitude and low temperatures in winter, the lake freezes over and is solid enough to rent horse drawn carriages or snow mobiles to take you around, and you can watch fisherman make holes in the ice to get their catch.
Devil's Castle, also known as Şeytan Kalesi in Turkish, is a historic fortress located in the southern part of Turkey, near the town of Alanya. Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area. The castle's origins date back to the Byzantine era, and it underwent various expansions and renovations under different rulers, including the Seljuks and the Ottomans. Its strategic location made it a vital stronghold for centuries, protecting the region against potential invasions. Devil's Castle features imposing walls, towers, and battlements, which are a testament to its defensive significance. One can explore the well-preserved ruins of the fortress, including underground tunnels, dungeons, and a cistern. Aside from its historical importance, Devil's Castle is also renowned for its natural beauty. The rugged landscape and the azure waters of the Mediterranean create a captivating backdrop for the castle.
Made famous as the setting of the novel “Snow” written by the Nobel-prize winning author Ohran Pamuk, Kars is a quintessentially diverse city. Originally Armenian, then Georgian, later Ottoman, the city fell under Russian occupation for much of the 19th Century and its recapture remained a Soviet aspiration up to and beyond the end of World War II. During its freezing winters the city is often cut off by snow (as happened in the novel “Snow”). The city is also famous in Turkey for its gravyer cheese, butter and honey.