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Yusufeli is located in Turkey
Location in Turkey
Coordinates: 40°48′38″N 41°31′37″E / 40.81056°N 41.52694°E / 40.81056; 41.52694
 • MayorEyüp Aytekin (AKP)
741 m (2,431 ft)
Time zoneUTC+3 (TRT)
Postal code

Yusufeli (Armenian: Բերդագրակ, Berdagrak; Georgian: ახალთი, Akhalti) is a town and district of Artvin Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. It is located on the bank of Çoruh River 104 km south-west of the city of Artvin, on the road to Erzurum. It is the seat of Yusufeli District.[2] Its population is 7,306 (2021).[1]

The town of Yusufeli sits in a valley where the Çoruh River is joined by the Barhal. To its north are the Kaçkar Mountains running east to west, with villages in other valleys between the mountains. The micro climate allows the cultivation of olives, grapes, and citrus fruits, the driving forces of the economy in addition to tourism. The town can be reached by air via Erzurum Airport, 135 km (84 mi) away from Yusufeli or by road from Artvin, Erzurum and Trabzon (via İspir in Erzurum Province).

There is a widely criticised plan to dam the Çoruh at Yusufeli, which would submerge 15,000 homes.[3][4][5]


Yusufeli has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb).

Climate data for Yusufeli
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 80


The history of Yusufeli, formerly Perterek or Pertarek, is traced to 3000 BC, the Bronze Age. The area has since been inhabited by Hurri, Urartu, Persians, Armenians, Ancient Romans, Byzantines and Georgians. In the Turkish era the area has been settled by Seljuks, Saltuks, Ilkhanids, Tamerlan, Akkoyunlu, Safevids and the Ottoman Empire. In the kingdom of Armenia in antiquity it was part of Tayk province, known as the Canton of Arsiats por.[7] In 1879 the area was the district of Kiksim in the county of Çıldır. Then following the war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia it became a county of Erzurum. Most of the population is descended from Armenians or Georgians who converted to Islam in the 1700s.[8]

Because of the rocky geography it was difficult for people from all villages to reach the city center, so a local district was established centred on Ögdem, but this was still inaccessible so Kılıçkaya (Ersis) became the center of county. Ersis means "a place where no boys live", so-called because so many sons of the district were lost in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878 and First World War. In the year 1912 the county name became Yusuf İli, i.e. "province of Yusuf" so the name Kiskim should not be confused with the name Keskin which was a county of Ankara at that time.


The folk music and culture is typical of the Black Sea region featuring the clarinet type zurna, a drum and bagpipes.

There are a number of historical Georgian churches in the valleys of Yusufeli, including the ruins of the Four Churches (Dört Kilise) in a village off the road to İspir (Map).

Places of interest

There are many medieval forts and Georgian churches in the valleys of Yusufeli. Some of them:[9]

Notable natives


  1. ^ a b "Address-based population registration system (ADNKS) results dated 31 December 2021" (XLS) (in Turkish). TÜİK. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  2. ^ İlçe Belediyesi, Turkey Civil Administration Departments Inventory. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  3. ^ The Yusufeli dam project
  4. ^ Friends of the Earth: Campaigns: Corporates: AMEC and Spie pull out of Yusufeli Dam
  5. ^ Balfour Beatty withdraws support for the Ilisu Dam Archived April 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Climate: Yusufeli". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-10-25. Retrieved 2020-03-02.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Simonian, Hovann H. (2007). The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey. Routledge. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-7007-0656-3.
  9. ^ Yusuefli forts and monasteries (Turkish) Archived November 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
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