"Hasan's Castle"                        Population: 13,700

Old name: Hasankale

Favourite son: İbrahim Hakkı Erzurumi

Pasinler is a small town due east of Erzurum that has fallen on hard times. High above it on a craggy rock to the left of the road stands the epnoymous 15th-century castle but what Uzun Hasan, the leader of the Akkoyunlu (White Sheep) Turks, would think of today's Pasinler is not hard to imagine.

Theoretically, this is a small thermal resort but unfortunately the buildings have been allowed to run to seed (on my last visit a small boy lobbed a stone at me as I entered the baths). It's a great shame since the potential of the pretty little women's bath was considerable, and the Kale Turistik Hotel nearby boasted charming little private thermal baths that could be rented by the hour. It has now closed down in a sad sign of the times. 

In 1703 Pasinler was the birthplace of İbrahim Hakkı Erzurumi. İbrahim and his father Mullah Osman later moved to Tillo to study under İsmail Fakirullah (1655-1734), a scientist and spiritual leader who belonged to a Sufi order called the Oveyssis that had its roots in Yemen.

Like his leader, İbrahim became a scholar adept not just in Islamic jurisprudence and theology but also in medicine and astrology. He’s best known for a book called the Marifetname (Book of Gnosis), a sort of Whitaker’s Almanac of the 18th century setting out everything that was known about subjects as diverse as anatomy, geography and philosophy. Later in life he moved to İstanbul where he worked in the imperial library of Sultan Mahmud I. When he died in 1780 he was buried beside İsmail Fakirullah in the tomb he had had built for his mentor in Tillo.

Beyond Pasinler at Köprüköy you can inspect the magnificent 13th-century six-arched Çobandede Bridge. 

Transport info

Dolmuşes for Sarıkamış and Kars pass through Pasinler on the way although there are also dolmuşes to the town from Eruzurm town centre. 

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