HomeHistory98 years ago, Russia Handed Over the ancient Armenian City of Kars to Turkey
November 2, 2018
98 years ago, Russia Handed Over the ancient Armenian City of Kars to Turkey
Kars was a city in the province of Vanand of the Ayrarat Land of Greater Armenia. In the 10th century, it became a capital of Armenia. In 1795-1800, there were 850 houses in the city, of which 600 were Armenian.
In the 1830s, after a Russian-Turkish war, many Armenian families fled from Kars to the nearby city of Alexandropol (now Gyumri, Armenia).
In 1876, Russian troops and Armenian militia led by General Ter-Ghukasov (Ter-Ghukasyan) drove out Turkish soldiers from the fortress of Kars and annexed the city to Russia. Kars became the capital of the Kars region.
In 1886, Armenians made up 63% of the city’s population and more than 80% in 1914. At least 15% were Russians.
In 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, the Kars region along with its administrative center became a part of the newly-formed independent First Republic of Armenia.
Turkish troops once again attempted to seize Kars in the spring of 1918 but were defeated by the Armenian forces and thrown back.
In 1920, the Kars region along with Eastern Armenia was captured by the tandem of Russian Bolsheviks and Turkey. Kars and other regions were subsequently donated to Turkey by the decision of Lenin.
Turkish troops invaded the city and committed massacres of Armenians, killing many thousands of people. Those who managed to survive fled to Gyumri, Yerevan, or to foreign countries.
All but two churches in Kars were destroyed. Those two surviving churches would be converted to mosques. Among them was the Cathedral of St. Arakelots built in the 10th century.
After the slaughtering and expulsion of Armenians, the city would become inhabited by Turks, Kurds, and Caucasian Tatars (now knows as Azerbaijanis).
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