It is one of the developed cities in the region. The city, loca- ted against the northern foothills of Mt Palandöken, is the highest city in Anatolia. Its economy is mainly based on agriculture and animal husbandry. It is the cultural center in the region thanks to the university founded in 1958. The ski resort in Mt. Palandöken has reached international standards in accordance with the development of the tourism.
The excavations around Erzurum have revealed that the first settlement dates from the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic period. It was under the successive domination of the Hittites, Urartians, Persians, Alexander the Great and the Romans. After the Byzantine rule, the city was captured by the Arabs and then by the Seljuks. It was the Seljuk capital from 1080 to 1201; and the present name of the city was given in this period. After it was captured by the Ottomans in 1517, the city was occupied by the Russians several times until 1918.
Because the Turks dominated Erzurum for a long period of time, most of the monuments surviving to the present time date from Turkish time. The walls of the Byzantine era castle are in ruins, the rectangular inner castle, on the other hand, has survived to the present time.
The major Anatolian Seljuk, Danişmend dynasty and Ottoman periods monuments are the Grand Mosque, the Çifte Minareli Madrasah and the Kümbet (tomb), the Three Kümbets, the Yakutiye Madrasah, the mosque of Ali Pasha, the mosque of Lala Pasha, the bedesten and the congress building. The Çifte Minareli Madrasah, the biggest one in Turkey, is the symbol of the city. Because of the two minarets on both sides of the main entrance of the hewn stone edifice, it is called the Çifte Minareli (twin minarets). The minarets are covered with tiles of different colours and patterns.
The ski-resort in Palandöken Mountain is 5 km south of the city. It has one of the longest and steepest ski-runs in the world. The season for winter sports is quite long. It starts at the beginning of November and ends at the end of May. There are a lot of hotels of good quality in Palandöken ski-resort, which is reached by a 15 minute drive from the airport.
The city has an important place in the history of Turkish Republic because it served as the setting for the congress during the War of Independence. The building where the Erzurum Congress was held is now a museum which houses the pictures and the biographies of the 62 delegates.
The Bastion of Aziziye, 10 km from the city, is an important historical spot because it was here that the army supported by the folk resisted the attacks of Russian army and gained the victory over them on 27 October 1877. The headquarters can still be seen on the site.
There are several cultural sites and beauty spots around the city, such as castles, bridges and hot springs.