Kars, standing at an altitude of 1,750 meters (5,741 feet) in Eastern Anatolia, has played an important role in Turkish history and was at the center of the Turkish-Russian War between 1877-1878 after which it remained under the Russian rule for about 40 years. The Russian legacy can still be seen in much of the town's architecture. The lower city unfolds at the foot of an impressive Seljuk fortress of the 12th century. Nearby, the Havariler Museum (the 10th century Church of the Apostles) reveals a curious mixture of architectural influences. Bas-reliefs representing the twelve apostles in rather stiff and awkward poses, ring the exterior drum of the dome.
The Archaeological Museum houses beautiful wood-carvings, an excellent collection of coins found in the surrounding region, as well as many ethnographic items relating to eastern Turkey. Kars is particularly known for its distinctive kilims and carpets, and it retains a strong heritage of folk dancing. Visitors always seem to enjoy this traditional entertainment. On the mountain pastures, villagers produce excellent Kasar cheese (yellow cheese) and delicious honey.
The Kur river divides Ardahan and separates the ancient part on one side and the new city on the other. A 16th century castle built by Sultan Selim the Grim, one of the most stately citadels in Turkey with 14 towers and a span of 745 meters, stands in the old part of the city.
Sarikamis (53 kilometers southwest of Kars) is a skiing center with resort hotels, setting of a scenic pine forest. It has the best powder snow in Turkey therefore it attracks many snowboarders and skiers around the country and abroad. Katherina hunting mansion in Sarikamis district is one of the best examples of the Baltic architecture from the 19th-century Russian rule in the area. The mansion is built with cut-stones without any nails or metals joining the basalt blocks.
On 19th of October 2004 Allahüekber Mountains were declared as the 34th National Park of Turkey by the Government so it's believed that it will attract more visitors and help to the local economy as well.
Kuyucuk lake preservation area is located on one of the major bird migration routes in Anatolia and is home to 224 species of birds. The area is along the African-Eurasian migration flyway therefore it's very attractive for birdwatching and nature tourism. Every fall the site hosts up to 30,000 Ruddy Shelducks. The Reserve is a member of RAMSAR, the Convention on Wetlands, which is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Kuyucuk Wildlife Reserve is one of the most important wetlands of Kars province. The lake is fed by freshwater stream and springs, surrounded by treeless steppe and sparse Phragmites reed patches. The Reserve received the European Destination of Excellence award in 2009.