One of the few Ottoman buildings in the Kaleiçi neighborhood during the Ottoman period is the Great Mosque of Kars. The Great Mosque was first built in the 16th century by Sultan Murat III, but it was destroyed by the armies of Shah Abbas during the Iranian invasions.
In the 17th century, it was built by Dilaver Pasha, the Beylerbeyi of Kars during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim, and for many years it was a place of worship for the people of Kars. During the Ottoman-Russian War, the Great Mosque of Kars was used as an arms depot, and after the Russians left, it was left to the Armenians.
Kars Great Mosque also has a dramatic face. It is said that in 1918, Armenian Dashnak gangs gathered some citizens of Kars to the mosque to make a deal and 286 people were burned alive.
After this massacre, the mosque came to be known as the Burnt Oil Mosque. A large part of the mosque has not survived until today, it was destroyed and vandalized. After a restoration, the mosque was rebuilt independently from its original structure, but some of the traces of the past are still preserved. When you walk around the mosque, you can see the remains of dark colored historical walls.
When you enter the mosque, you have to be aware of the situation. Traces of blood and grease splattered on the walls from people can be clearly seen on the dark wall next to the pulpit and on the yellow plaques on the wall where the shoes are placed.
When you go to Ulu Cami in Kaleiçi neighborhood, you will see many Ottoman period buildings around you. Kars Castle, mosques and baths are some of them. Be sure to see the Kümbet Mosque, which was built as a church in the 10th century and later converted into a mosque. You can find everything about Kars by visiting our Kars places to visit page.