Lovers of architecture will be in paradise in Erzurum, where fantastic Seljuk, Saltuk and Mongol mosques and medreses (seminaries) line the main drag. Take it all in from atop the citadel, with mountains and steppe forming a heavenly backdrop to the jumble of billboards and minarets.
Erzurum is not a city resting on its considerable laurels of historical significance; the vibrant life coursing along its shopping-centre-lined streets has earned it a reputation as a modern metropolis and eastern Turkish hub. Although it's one of Turkey's most pious, conservative cities, the hip-looking university students add a relaxed buzz to the pavements and cafes. And come winter, the nearby high-octane Palandöken ski resort has a thriving nightlife.