KARS MUSEUM AND ITS HISTORY
Kars has a vast surrounding and many nations and civilizations have established, lived and developed on it from 25.000 BC till now. For this reason, its need for a museum had increased day by day. In the Republic Period, some stone works have been collected from some places and as a result of this a museum was opened in Kars for the first time, forming the base of the Kars Museum in 1959 in one of the rooms of the old province government house by Dr. Budak DEMİRAL, the President of the People’s House of that period and by Hasan KARTARİ, the Director General of Public Education with the name of “Protecting Old Works of Art and Museum Directorate”. With this meaningful attempt, the studies of collecting old works have increased and the collected works were registered within the existing opportunities.
The museum that has been established in 1959 has gained many works of art by either collecting or purchasing. After many works of art have been obtained as a result of this, it gained a museum identity where displays were made, after making the necessary studies in the place known as Kümbet Mosque (Havariler Church) on December 20, 1964.
Kars Museum has been transformed into Museum Directorate on June 24, 1969 and it has increasingly continued its activities.
The tourism potential of Kars is almost the same as Ani Ören region of our museum. Besides these, the development of the museum was completed with the works of art that Prof. Dr. İ. Kılıç KÖKTEN had found during the researches he made in the Kağızman Camuşlu Yazılıkaya and Kurban Ağa caves in between 1965-1971. The place of the museum, which continued its activities in Kümbet mosque, started to become insufficient because of the works of art gained either by the engravings or by other ways.
Our museum that present the works of art received from the engravings and by other ways, to the public with restricted opportunities has become an education and culture establishment that address the society from every angel.
The place, which was established in honour of 12 Apostles in 932-937 AC by Abbas Takvar, king of Bağaratlı dependent on Abbasi Califs and which is used as museum building, that is known as Kümbet Mosque today, with four leaves clover plan and covered with a long-hoop frame that ends with conical shape dome called tent style by the Old Oguz Turks, began to be insufficient in the course of time. For this reason the construction of today’s modern building was planned. This place of 4500m2 was exchanged with a place of 3200m2 in 1971 that was allocated for it on the side of Kars rivulet in Kaleiçi Quarter Müstakem region in the real reconstruction plan, which is in front of the Gas store according to the road and Taşlı Harman region, Cumhuriyet Road. Its foundation was laid down on an area of 3100m2 and was completed in 1978. Within this period, the Headquarter building of Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Pasha, the Commander of 1877-1878 Ottoman-Russian War (93 War), was used as the museum and the place in Kümbet Mosque was used for display.
The move to the new Museum Building was started in 1978 and display and arrangement studies started in 1979. The new museum was opened to the public on April 22, 1981.
The museum is formed of 3 (three) storeys with the underground chamber and 7 (seven) main parts. From the point of usage in service, it is formed of the following parts:
1. On the underground chamber:
a) Central Heating Room,
2. On the ground floor:
a) Old Works of Art Depot,
c) Archaeological Works Depot,
3. On the first floor:
a) Ethnographic Exhibition Saloon,
b) Lodging Departments.
Besides these, there are garden display and arrangement and entrance parts on the side facing the road, the Historical White Wagon on the special railway system separated from it and attached to the building wall on the north part, given by the Russians as a goodwill gesture during the Kars Agreement in 1921 to the Rescuer of the East, Great Commander Kazım Karabekir Pasha.
Kars Museum is a general museum from the aspect of museum generalizations and their varieties, with various Archaeological and Ethnographical Culture Possessions. The display organization is formed of two main parts.
In the archaeological works saloon where products of our historical wealth, which are very much in our country, are displayed.There are 18 showcases in total, 12 of them are big wall showcases, 4 of them are hall showcases and 2 of them are table type showcases.
The works of art in the Archaeology department generally belong to the Calceolitic, Old Bronze Age, Urartues, Roman Age, Byzantium Age, Seljuks and Ottomans respectively from the Prehistoric Age. They are stone grain grinding miles, Opsidien cutting materials, terracotta pots and pans, various bone-glass, bead and bronze ornament jewelery, tear drop glasses, religious tools, axes, spears, arrows, seals, wool spinning tools, oil-lamps, bronze needles, bronze make-up materials and money and medallions belonging to various ages from past to now.Besides the showcases, there are two wooden doors with four wings, examples from the Late Christian period, whose semi-circular parts are pieces that form the arcade part, written tablets that belong to the Seljuk and Ottoman period and a mythological portraying belonging to the Seljuk period, made of stone that holds two lions in its arms.
In the ethnographic works saloon, which is up the stairs from the Archaeology saloon, there are 16 wall showcases, 8 of them big and 18 showcases, 2 of them are table showcases.
The works of art in the ethnography part are usually the followings: carpets, rugs, saddlebags, horse clothes, pillow-cases, prayer rugs collected from Kars region and kitchen material such as copper and bronze cauldrons, round metal trays, cups, ewers, small cauldrons and auxiliary cups, frying pots, skimmers, basins, coppers, mortars and spoons, weapons such as golden and silver decorated daggers, food dishes and sword short guns, flintstone and revolver weapons, iron and bronze axes and gun powder flasks, written and printed works such as hand and formal printed old book documents, newspapers, bag and writing sets, tent laths designed as a rug by rolling thread with different colors on sticks to form parts in the tents, daily clothes such as caftans belonging to the region, stout jackets, three skirts, belts, head scarves, breast harness, temple of the head, hair ribbons, shawls and socks, silver embroidered saddle sets, wooden walking sticks, sticks and silver whips, phaeton lanterns, silver embroidered watches and silver watch chains, silver amulet holders, silver tobacco boxes, silver amber, oltu stones, corals, mother-of-pearl prayer beads and cigarette holders, narghites, candle sticks, lamps, samovers, milk sets, candy bowls, tongs, silver belts, silver bracelets, headgear, necklaces and caps.
Moreover, three pillows and a sofa carpet out of the show cases and weaving tools such as terşi, kırman and spinning wheel and a half-weaned regional carpet on the loom and materials used in weaving carpets decorate our ethnography saloon.
Except from these, there are tombstones of rams, sheep and lambs used by the old Oguz Turks and other tribes, which are continuities of them, in Kars and around it and written tablets and architectural parts belonging to the Seljuks and Ottomans are displayed and arranged in the garden of the museum.