Kars (kärs) [key], city (1990 pop. 79,496), capital of Kars prov., E Turkey, in Armenia, on the Kars River. Its manufactures include textiles, carpets, and food products. An old fortified city, well situated in the mountains, Kars was the capital of an Armenian state in the 9th and 10th cent. It was destroyed by Timur in 1386 and was captured and rebuilt by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th cent. In 1828, 1855, and 1877 the city was occupied by Russia and together with the surrounding region was ceded to Russia by the Congress of Berlin in 1878. By a peace treaty (1921) between the nationalist Turkish government of Kemal Atatürk and the USSR, Kars and Ardahan were returned to Turkey. Kars has an 11th-century Armenian church.
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