Erzurum Castle, locally known as Erzurum Kalesi, lies on top of the hill in the center of the city of the same name, in the province of Erzurum in Turkey.
The first fortification at this site was probably built in Urartian times. Throughout history Erzurum changed hands frequently between the Assyrians, the Sassanids, Persians, Arabs, Romans and Byzantines. The present castle however was built in 415 AD under the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II.
In the 11th century Erzurum Castle came into the possession of the Saltukids. Under the Saltukid Bey Muzaffer Gazi (1124-1132), the Tepsi Minaret was built in the south west corner of the inner castle. Somewhat later, in the mid-12th century, the Saltukids also built the still remaining Mescid, which is a kind of chapel, in the inner castle.
Erzurum Castle was seriously devastated in almost every period of conquest but was rebuilt and restored every time by the new rulers. One of the last rebuilding phases took place in the 16th century by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
After Erzurum Castle lost its military function it was used for storage. In the mid-19th century stones of some sections were taken down to be used in the repair of some of the 18th century bastions in the hills around the city. Also in the 19th century, the upper part of the Tepsi Minaret collapsed. It was rebuilt in its present appearance with a clock. Hence its present name Saat Kulesi, meaning Hour Tower.
Connected to the former town walls, Erzurum Castle protected the north east corner of the town's defenses. It was equipped with 8 towers made out of calcareous stone. At present the castle consists of an inner castle and an outer courtyard. The thickness of its walls measure 2-2.5 meters. The town walls with its gates and towers has almost completely disappeared, except from a piece of wall, some 90 meters long, with 3 towers, directly south east of the castle.
Erzurum Castle can be visited for a small fee. A nice castle although there is not that much to see inside. But you can climb to the top of the clock tower for some splendid views over the city.