Although it is a sizable town, Kars could hardly be more remote—it's on Turkey's northeastern border with Armenia, 600 mi/960 km east of Ankara. Not surprisingly, it looks as much Caucasian as Turkish, especially when the weather is cold (which is much of the year, owing to the city's elevation 6,560 ft/2,000 m above sea level).

The main reason to visit Kars is the ruined Armenian city Ani, although it can be difficult and expensive to reach without your own transportation. Founded in the 10th century, Ani is right on the border and has spectacularly sited churches and mosques.

Also known for 19th-century Russian imperial buildings, Kars was chosen by Orhan Pamuk as the setting for his 2002 novel Snow.

Nearby Sarikamis (35 mi/55 km southwest of Kars) is a scenic spot for skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking the area's trails in summer.

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