Ardahan, which was previously a district of the province of Kars, 101 kilometers north-east, is a new province (since 1992) of Turkey. It's a small province in the Eastern Anatolian Region with around 100 thousand inhabitants (2016). The city stands on a high mountain plateau and 70% of the population lives on the countryside, so agriculture is the main economy in Ardahan. Carpet and Kilim weaving holds an important place amongst young girls here.
There are many small rivers and lakes around the city; Cildir lake for instance is the second biggest in the whole region, at an altitude of 1,959 meters (4,627 feet) above the sea level. The lake is completely frozen during winter months, therefore fishermen has to make holes on the ice to fish. The scenic area around the lake provides a habitat for a fascinating variety of birds. The man-made Akcakale Island in the lake was reputedly constructed with the labor of thousands; a temple with Urartian inscriptions on it. Another lake, Lake Aktas, is located between the borders of Turkey and Georgia at an altitude of 1,800 meters (5,905 feet) above sea level. It's a shallow lake with small moving islands on it formed by grass and plants.
Standing on flatland, this small city is a lovely spot with beautiful natural surroundings, and it has been the home of many civilizations dating far back to antiquity. The oldest written document from its past is a stone inscription from Urartu's nearby Cildir lake. We also know that Cimmerians settled in this area as well around 8th century BC. In 1069 AD the town was captured by the Seljuk sultan Alparslan, than in 1551 by the Ottomans.
It is possible to find reminders of Ardahan's past everywhere over the land. The most important monumental figure is Ardahan Fortress which was built by the Seljuks and then restored in the 16th century by Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Other important castles in Ardahan province are; Kazan, Altas, Kinzi, Kalecik, Seytan (Devil's Castle), Kurt, Sevimli, Cak, Savasir, Mere, Kol, Kirnak, Olcev, Dedesen, Karakale, Kislahanak, and Hanak.