A historic mansion in the Sarıkamış district, which served as mansion to the last Russian Czar Nicholas II for hunting tours, will be restored and turned into a boutique hotel, the governor of Turkey's eastern Kars province told local media representatives.
The building known as "Hunting Pavilion" or "Catherine's Mansion" will be handed over to the General Directorate of Monuments and Museums, which will undertake its restoration, Governor Rahmi Doğan said. After the completion of restoration works, it will be handed over to the Special Provincial Administration of Kars to be operated as a boutique hotel with 50 beds.
The news about the project were welcomed by the inhabitants of Sarıkamış district. Zekeriya Kaya, the mayor of Sarıkamış, told reporters that he was happy about the impending restoration of the building and that he expected it to be a significant contribution to tourism in the region: "[...] The locals have eagerly been waiting for this restoration," Kaya said.
Russian tourists in particular are expected to visit the mansion as the airport at Kars started to offer charter flights, Kaya explained. He added that the administration and the people of Sarıkamış would continue to offer any possible help and contribution.
The mansion was built in 1896, after Kars fell under Russian occupation as a consequence of the Russian-Ottoman war of 1877-1878. Although it is locally known as "Catherine's Mansion" it had been destined as a health resort for Nicholas' sick son Alexei, and generally served as a recreational ground and hunting facility for the Russian czar and his family. The architectural style, according to which the wooden building was erected, is called "Baltic."