Lake located 45 km away from the Ardahan city center in a height of 1956 mt above sea level and covers an area of 25 km2. Cildir is the second largest lake of Eastern Anatolia right after Lake Van.
Which is the largest lake after Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia the maximum area of this freshwater lake is 12 350 hectares. Situated in a tectonic subsidence between mount Akbaba and Mount Kisir. The deepest spot of the lake is 22 m.
Surface waters from the surrounding mountains and many springs are flowing into Lake Cildir. The largest of the four islands in the lake is located near the ruins of Akcakale . All the islands are covered with stunted bushes. “Gull of Lake Van “ and “ruddy shelduck” bird species attracts many bird observers and natural life experts to area.
Lake freezes in the late november due to the very tough and cold weather conditons and ice depth exceeds 1 mt. The ice of the lake stays on surface until the beginning of April. Especially in winters when the lake is freezed many people all around the area come to visit it for ice fishing , ice skating etc.
People visiting the lake also organize amateur sleigh racings which makes people enjoy every moment of competition and make them take unforgettable photos from a race over an ice layer.
The ancient citadel of Ani is situated on the barren plains above the Arpaçay Valley which separates Turkey and Armenia. The site is surrounded by an imposing fortified city wall, currently undergoing intensive restoration. This one time prominent city used to house over 100.000 citizens in its hey-day. Once an important station on the ancient Silk Road, serving as a trading post and caravanseray for merchants travelling with heavily laden camels between east and west, it is now a ruined ghost town. Ani quickly fell to the Mongols in the 13th century who left the city ransacked in turbulent disarray, then Tamerlane rampaged through and mercilessly destroyed what was left. When the trade routes moved further south, the once bustling metropolis lost its revenue from trade and soon the entire province died. It was again destroyed by earthquakes in the 14th century. What remains now are several Armenian built churches, a ruined Seljuk palace, a couple of mosques and caravanserays and a cathedral. The colorful frescoes and paintings in the churches are still in fine condition although time has left its mark as well.Stepping back into the turbulent history of unspoiled Eastern Turkey is a refreshing change from the well-worn tourist track. Exploring in the remotest corners of this timeless land, a quest not for the faint-hearted, priceless treasures can be enjoyed at leisure and unforgettable memories retained for a life-time. A truly voracious adventurer can create his own footprints through the ages.