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Iğdır at night
Iğdır at night
Iğdır is located in Turkey
Country Turkey
Province Iğdır
 • Mayor Murat Yikit (BDP)
 • District 1,431.17 km2 (552.58 sq mi)
Population (2012)[2]
 • Urban 82,656
 • District 128,976
 • District density 90/km2 (230/sq mi)
Post code 76000
Website .tr.bel.igdirwww
The entrance of Iğdır city

Iğdır (Turkish ; Armenian: Իգդիր Igdir, also Ցոլակերտ, Tsolakert, after the ancient site nearby) is the capital of Iğdır Province in the Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. The highest mountain in Turkey, Ağrı Dağı or Mount Ararat, is partly in Iğdır province.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • Modern 2.1
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
  • Architecture 4
    • The Genocide Memorial 4.1
  • Culture 5
  • Media 6
  • Economy 7
  • Demographics 8
  • Famous people 9
  • International relations 10
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 10.1
  • Notes 11
  • External links 12


The area's name came from "Iğdır Bey", the oldest son of Cengiz Alp who was one of six sons of Oghuz Han belonging to internal Oghuz three arrows branch considered to be the 21st of the 24 Oghuz branches. They spread throughout Anatolia and there are towns and villages named Iğdır in Malatya and other parts of Turkey today.


Historians believe that Igdir went by the Armenian name of Tsolakert during the Middle Ages.[3] When the Spanish traveler Ruy González de Clavijo passed through this region in the early 15th century, he stayed a night in a castle he called Egida, located at the foot of Mount Ararat. Clavijo describes it as being built upon a rock and ruled by a woman, the widow of a brigand Timurlane had put to death.[4] Because modern Igdir has no such rock, and is a considerable distance from the Ararat foothills, it is believed that medieval Igdir was located at a different site, at a place also known as Tsolakert, now called Taşburun. Russian excavations there at the end of the 19th century discovered the ruins of houses and what was identified as a church, as well as traces of fortifications. The settlement may have been abandoned after an earthquake in 1664.[5] In 1555 the town became a part of the Safavid Empire, remaining under Persian rule (with brief military occupations by the Ottomans between 1578–1605, 1635–36 and 1722-46) until it fell into the hands of the Russian Empire after the Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828.[3]


The Surmali uyezd in 1903

Iğdır was taken by the Surmalu uyezd of the Erivan Governorate in 1850. According to the Russian family lists accounts from 1886, of the total 71,066 inhabitants of the districts 34,351 were Azerbaijanis (48.3%, mentioned as 'Tatars' in the source), 22,096 Armenians (31.1%) and 14,619 Kurds (20.6%).[6] Under Russian rule, two primary schools, one for boys and the other for girls, and three churches were opened and 100 Armenian families were allowed to move to Igdir. The town's population rose to 10,000 in 1914 and largely busied itself with agriculture and commerce.[3]

Following the Russian Revolution of October 1917, the area came under the control of a temporary administrative committee created by the three main ethnic groups in the Caucasus. Though it attempted to negotiate a truce with the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman forces launched an eastward offensive and took Igdir on May 20, 1918. They occupied it until the signing of the Armistice of Mudros in November 1918. The First Republic of Armenia assumed control over Igdir thereafter. The Armenian population suffered heavily during the grueling winter of 1918-19, as famine, disease and the cold swept away the lives of many.[7][8] In May 1919, its status was elevated to that of a city.[9]

Based on the boundaries drawn by US State Department in November 1920, Igdir was envisaged to become an integral part of the Armenian republic. But in September 1920, the Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey led by Mustafa Kemal launched a war to eliminate the republic and overran Igdir.[10] Turkish General Kâzım Karabekir commanded the armies but his forces were initially unable to take Igdir due to strong Armenian resistance.[11] However, within a few days, on October 20, 1920, they managed to drive Armenian forces out of Igdir.[12] According to official Turkish documents, after their defeat in the Shahtahti area, Armenian forces abandoned Igdir. They burned down the Markara Bridge which spanned the Araxes River and retreated to the northern bank on November 13, 1920. Turkey annexed the region of Igdir after the conclusion of several peace treaties, but its territorial gains were mainly formalized in the 1921 Treaty of Kars.


The city of Iğdır sits on a plain at a lower altitude than most of Turkey's eastern provinces. This allows agricultural production including apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, pears, sugar beet, watermelons and melons. However, the most famous produces of Iğdır are cotton and apricots.


Iğdır has a cold semi-arid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk) with hot and dry summers and cold and snowy winters. Iğdır is the driest city in Turkey.

Climate data for Iğdır (1960-2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.3
Average high °C (°F) 2.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.3
Average low °C (°F) −7.9
Record low °C (°F) −27.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 13.6
Average precipitation days 6.3 6.8 7.2 11.8 14.8 10.6 5.9 4.2 3.9 8.3 6.4 6.2 92.4
Average relative humidity (%) 75 71 54 52 59 52 48 48 55 61 68 74 59.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 80.6 112.0 167.4 180.0 235.6 288.0 316.2 303.8 261.0 198.4 132.0 77.5 2,352.5
Source #1: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü [13]
Source #2: Weatherbase [14]


On a peninsula close to the Armenian border, and currently within a military zone, in the village of Sürmeli, stands the castle of the medieval Armenian city of Surmari, a citadel whose surviving walls date from 1224. A ruinous 13th century Armenian caravanserai known as the "Caravanserai of Zor" is another historical structure near Iğdır.[15]

The Genocide Memorial

Turkish Martyrs' Memorial and Museum.
A mass grave excavation in the town of Yeşilyayla, Erzurum.

In August 1997, construction started on the "Iğdır Soykırım Anıt-Müzesi" (Iğdır Genocide Memorial and Museum). Turkish authorities erected the monument to commemorate alleged massacres of Turks by Armenians during World War I and the Turkish–Armenian War during the Turkish War of Independence. The Turkish argument states that "A need was expressed for the erection of this monument and this opinion was stated as follows in the final declaration of the International Symposium on Historical Realities and Armenians, held in Igdir from 24 to 26 April 1965. The Symposium resolved that a monument of martyrs should be erected in Iğdır and a cemetery for martyrs should be established in Oba Village in order to eternalise the memories of more than one million Turks that fell in Eastern Anatolia and to give a similar answer to those declaring 24 April as a genocide day and to the monuments erected in many places of the world for the alleged genocide perpetrated against the Armenians."[16]

It was opened on October 5, 1999 by Turkish Minister of State Ramazan Mirzaoğlu. Its height from ground level is 43.5 metres. The monument's design contains symbols related to Turkish self-identity, history, and legends. The upper structure consists of five upright swords, their points touching to resemble Mount Ararat. On the hilt of the swords are a series of reliefs. Beneath the monument are a series of rooms intended to house a museum. The granite for the monument's swords was brought from China and other materials, such as marble, granite, and ceramics, were brought from other regions of Turkey.[16]

Its construction is explained as a counter-argument by the Turks that Armenians also perpetrated massacres against Turks and is seen as a part of Turkey's ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide.[17][18]


Iğdır's culture is part of the larger culture of Turkey.

The rising agricultural production and the opening of a border gate with Nakhchivan in 1992 have enabled the town to be livelier and wealthier than its neighbours in the generally impoverished eastern Turkey. There are many cafes and restaurants. The best-known dish is a meat stew called bozbaş.[19]

Mount Ararat as seen from Iğdır.


Iğdır has 12 local daily and weekly newspapers.[20] The most prominent of these is Yeşil Iğdır which has been published since 1 September 1955.


The city of Iğdır is located between Kars and Ağrı. Despite the fact that it has three strategically important neighbours, the border gate to Armenia is closed and there is no direct access to Iran, therefore this situation diminishes economic possibilities.

About 70% percent of Mount Ararat's area lies within Iğdır's borders, however the investments for developing tourism in Mt. Ararat is paid to Ağrı Municipality.


According to the Russian Empire Census in 1897 Iğdır had a population of 4,680, of which 3,934 (84%) were Armenians, and 559 (12%) were Russians.[21]

Today, Iğdır has a mixed population of Azerbaijanis (who form the majority)[22][23]Kurds and Turks.[24] The spring festival Nowruz is widely celebrated in Iğdır.

Iğdır as seen from Mount Ararat.
Iğdır centrum population
2007 75,927
2000 59,880
1997 44,334
1990 35,858
1985 29,460
1980 24,352
1975 29,542
1970 21,420

Famous people

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Iğdır is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  3. ^ a b c (Armenian) Anon. «Իգդիր» [Igdir]. Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1978, vol. 4, p. 309.
  4. ^ Ruy González de Clavijo. The Broadway Travellers: Embassy to Tamerlane: 1403-1406. Trans. Guy le Strange. London: Routledge, 2004, p. 76.
  5. ^ Sinclair, Thomas A. Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey, Volume 1. London: Pindar Press, 1987, p. 406-409.
  6. ^ (Russian) Свод статистических данных о населении Закавказского края, извлечённых из посемейных списков 1886 года. Tiflis, 1893.
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Chater, Melville. "The Land Of The Stalking Death: a Journey Through Starving Armenia on an American Relief Train." National Geographic 36 (November 1919). Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  9. ^ Hovannisian. Republic of Armenia, Vol. I, p. 449, note 3.
  10. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1996). The Republic of Armenia, Vol. IV: Between Crescent and Sickle, Partition and Sovietization. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 249–250, 284.  
  11. ^ (Turkish) Genelkurmay Askerî Tarih ve Stratejik Etüt Başkanlığı Yayınları, Türk İstiklâl Harbi IIIncü Cilt: Doğu Cephesi (1919-1921). Ankara: Genelkurmay Basım Evi, 1995, p. 221.
  12. ^ British Documents on Foreign Affairs--Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print: From the First to the Second World War. The Soviet Union, 1917-1939, Volume 4, p. 388.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Caravansarai of Zor.
  16. ^ a b "Igdir Genocide Monument and Museum."
  17. ^ (German) "The Perpetrators Memorialize Themselves: Turks Erect a Memorial for the Victims of Armenian attacks." Süddeutsche Zeitung, December 1, 1999, p. 10.
  18. ^ Hofmann, Tessa. "Armenians in Turkey: A Critical Assessment of the situation of the Armenian Minority in the Turkish Republic." Forum of Armenian Associations in Europe. October 2002, p. 32.
  19. ^ "Sürmeli Çukurda Iğdır", Ziya Zakir Acar, 2002
  20. ^ Her Yönüyle Iğdır", Ziya Zakir Acar, 2004
  21. ^ (Russian) Первая всеобщая перепись населения Российской Империи, 1897 г. (Erivanskaya Guberniya), N. A. Troynitskii, Saint Petersburg, 1904, p. 144.
  22. ^ "Azerbaijanis Flock to Turkish Town".  
  23. ^ Population policy in Turkey, Erhard Franz,page 293
  24. ^ (Turkish) Yilmaer, Esat. Sevilen valiyle ‘savaş’ MHP'ye kaybettirmiş." Hürriyet. August 5, 2002.

External links

  • Official website of the Iğdır Municipality
  • (Turkish) Official website of the Iğdır Province
  • (Turkish) Iğdır's News website
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