Kars Castle, locally known as Kars Kalesi, lies in the city of the same name, in the province of Kars in Turkey.
Kars Castle was built in 1153 by the Vizier Firuz Akay on the orders of the Saltuk Sultan Malik Izzeddin, probably incorporating an earlier Bagratid Armenian fortification. It was connected to the city walls which were built around the same time. It was built on a hill in a bend in the Kars River with a commanding view over the city.
In 1356 the castle was destroyed by the troops of Timur. In 1579 it was rebuilt by the Ottoman general Lala Mustafa Pasha, who came to Kars ordered by the Ottoman Sultan Murat III. In 1606, the castle was destroyed by the Iranian Shah Abbas I but it was rebuilt in 1616 and restored in 1636.
In the beginning of the 19th century Kars Castle had lost its military functions which were taken over by several, newly built, forts around the city. In the second half of the 19th century Kars was conquered by Russian forces who successively occupied the castle. When they left decades later the castle was badly damaged.
The castle was built out of basalt masonry. It would have had 22 towers of which only 7 remain today. It has 4 gates of which 2 are still functional. Inside the castle is a tomb of a certain Jelal Baba, remains of Janissary barracks, an ammunition depot, and a small mosque that was rebuilt in the 1990's.
Kars Castle is freely accessible during daytime. A great castle.