Elâzığ (Turkish pronunciation: [eˈlazɯː], Armenian: Մեզիրե/Խարբերդ, romanized: Mezire/Kharberd, Kurdish: Elezîz/Xarpêt), officialy known as Elazığ, formerly Mamuretülaziz or al-'Aziz, is a city in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, and the administrative centre of Elâzığ Province. It is located in the uppermost Euphrates valley. The plain on which the city extends has an altitude of 1,067 metres (3,501 ft). Elâzığ resembles an inland peninsula surrounded by the natural Lake Hazar and reservoirs of Keban Dam, Karakaya Dam, Kıralkızı and Özlüce.
|• Mayor||Şahin Şerifoğulları (AKP)|
|• District||2,211.07 km2 (853.70 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,067 m (3,501 ft)|
|• District density||270/km2 (690/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (TRT)|
|Area code(s)||(+90) 424|
The historical name of the city is Mezre (also spelled Mezireh, Mezere, etc.), which was once a suburb located on the plain below the ancient fortress town of Harput (Kharput, Kharberd, now a suburb of Elâzığ). Heinrich Hübschmann believed Mezre to be the settlement of Mazara (Μαζάρα) mentioned by Ptolemy, while Nicholas Adontz derived the name from an Arabic word meaning arable land or hamlet (borrowed into Turkish as mezra, "hamlet"). Mezre may be a shortening of Ağavat Mezrası ("hamlet of the aghas/landlords"), explained by the fact that some notables from Harput had been exiled from the city and settled in nearby villages in the late 18th century. Some Armenians from Harput are said to have settled on the site in 1617, so Mezre was sometimes called Nor Kharberd ("New Harput") in Armenian.
In the 19th century, during the reign of Mahmud II, the governor Reşid Mehmed Pasha started an expansion of Mezre. During the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz (r. 1861–1876), military barracks, a hospital and a governor's mansion were built to accommodate the seat of a new vilayet (province). The town was renamed "Mamuretülaziz" (Ottoman Turkish: معمورة العزيز, lit. 'made prosperous by Aziz') in 1866 on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the enthronement of Sultan Abdulaziz, although he was not the initial founder. In time the city became known as "Elâzîz" due to its ease of pronunciation. On November 17, 1937, President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk changed the name of the city to "El'azık". However, since this was hard to pronounce in Turkish, on December 10, 1937, the government changed the city's name to its final form, "Elâzığ".
The town of Mezre (future Elâzığ) was founded on the fertile plain below the hill on which the much older fortress and settlement of Harput was constructed. It was located about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) to the southwest of Harput. The Hurrians, who settled in this area in c. 2000 B.C., are the earliest known inhabitants of the area. Harput and its surrounding region was part of the kingdom of Urartu at its maximum extent, and the Urartians may have been the first to build a fortress here. Hakob Manandian believed it to have been the main fortress of the earlier Hayasa-Azzi confederation. It is possible that Harput stands on or is near the site of Carcathiocerta (more commonly identified with Eğil), the first capital of the Kingdom of Sophene. The early Muslim geographers knew Harput as Ḥiṣn Ziyād ("the fortress of Ziyād"), but the Armenian name, Khartabirt or Kharbirt, whence Kharput and Harput, was generally adopted in time.
Ottoman Harput and Mamûretü'l-AzîzEdit
Harput and its vicinity fell under Turkish control in the year 1085 as a result of the Battle of Manzikert, which took place on August 26, 1071. The region around the fortress changed hands frequently in the subsequent centuries, coming under the control of the Çubukoğulları, Artuqids, Sultanate of Rum, Ilkhanate, Beylik of Dulkadir, Aq Qoyunlu, Safavids and Ottomans.
According to an official history written in 1883, Mezre was originally small hamlet in the vicinity of Harput which served as the official residence of the Çötelizades, one of the notable families exiled from Harput in the 1780s-90s. In 1834–36, the Çötelizades hosted the governor and military commander Reşid Mehmed Pasha, who turned the hamlet into a garrison for his campaigns in the eastern regions of the empire. In the 1850s and 60s, Mezre grew into a small town or suburb of Harput with a prosperous Armenian bourgeoisie. In 1869, an Armenian named Krikor Ipekjian (later Fabrikatorian) founded a silk factory in Mezre. In 1878, it was made the administrative centre of the Mamuret-ul-Aziz Vilayet (commonly referred to as the Harput Vilayet). According to census data from the 1880s, the population of Mezre consisted of 2,126 non-Muslims and 548 Muslim inhabitants, making it the only vilayet centre with an Armenian majority besides Van. Meanwhile, Harput proper had a population of 12,974 people (5,125 were non-Muslims and 7,849 Muslims). The populous villages on the plain below also had mixed Armenian-Muslim populations. The population of Mezre were mainly merchants, craftsmen and bureaucrats.
In 1892, the Armenian National Central Academy (Azgayin Kedronakan Varzharan) was founded in Mezre. By 1911, there was also an Armenian girls' school and a seminary, as well as two colleges run by French and German missionaries, among other educational institutions. There were four Armenian churches built in Mezre in the 19th (two Armenian Apostolic, one Catholic and one Protestant). Mezre, like Harput, also had a minority population of Syriac Christians. The building of the American consulate in Harput, established in 1901, was in fact located in Mezre.
Harput was an important station of the American missionaries for many years. The missionaries built Euphrates College, a theological seminary, and boys' and girls' schools. It operated until 1915 when its buildings were confiscated and used by the Ottoman army as barracks. In November 1895, government-backed Turks and Kurds massacred, looted and burned the Armenian villages on the plain. In the same month, Harput was attacked and the American schools were burned down. During the Armenian genocide, many residents were killed.
Turkish Republican eraEdit
Elâzığ was the seat of the Fourth Inspectorate-General from 1936 until 1952. The Inspectorate General included the provinces of Elâzığ, Erzincan, Bingöl and Tunceli and it was governed by a Governor Commander under the military authority. He had wide-ranging power over the civilians and could order the capital punishment without the permission from the Turkish parliament. The office of the Governor Commander was eventually left vacant in 1948 but the legal framework for the Inspectorate-Generals was only abolished in 1952.
Elâzığ rapidly developed into a modern city in the Republican era, while Harput was largely an abandoned ruin in the 1930s and 1940s. Efforts began in the 1950s to renovate the old town of Harput: some historic monuments were restored, a new municipality building was built and a museum was opened. Over time, Harput was turned into a suburb of Elâzığ, and facilities were created for tourism and recreation. The ruined Armenian neighborhoods of Harput were levelled in the 1960s and 70s.
Harput is still partly settled today, but due to its high elevation and lack of water, it is slowly in the process of being abandoned, with most of its residents moving to Elâzığ. Harput still has a few thousand inhabitants.
Harput has been the seat of a Syrian Orthodox bishop as early as the eleventh century, whose diocese was initially called Ḥiṣn Ziyād and later Harput. Unlike many Christian dioceses in Turkey, this one is still functioning even after the massacres that took place in the city during the Assyrian and Armenian genocides, in which the bishop and most of his flock were killed. The diocese has two priests, with the main church being based in the ancient Merymana Kilisesi next to the wall of the old fortress.
An Armenian Evangelical Church, built in the 19th century, survives as a ruined shell of its former self in the middle of a car park.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Elâzığ exported raisins, apricots and almonds to Europe. Opium was also grown in the area. Honey was also produced, but not so much exported, but used by locals. Gold was also found in the area in the early 20th century.
More than 30,000 people and at least 212 villages were affected by the construction of the Keban Dam in 1966–1974, which flooded several formerly populated areas. Many of those who were forced to move by the construction of the dam chose to settle in Elâzığ and invested the indemnities paid to them by the state in houses in Elâzığ or in small businesses. However, over 80% of families in zones affected by the Keban dam were landless peasants and thus ineligible to receive compensation or peasants with little land who would receive very little money (Koyunlu 1982: 250)
The dam, industry, and mining accounts for the high level of urbanization (42.7% in 1970) surpassing the average levels for Eastern Anatolia. The main agricultural activity of the area centers around vineyards and Elazığ also serves as a market hub for other agricultural products. The state-run vineyards of Elazığ are notable for its production of Buzbağ, a full-flavored red wine.
Today, Elâzığ is the capital of the Elazığ Province. It is a busy city with a university and an industrial base, although historic monuments are scarce. The exception is the ancient citadel and town of Harput, a dependency of the greater municipality of Elâzığ today situated three miles (4.8 km) to the north of the city centre. Elâzığ is the most developed city (and province) in the region, according to a report carried out by the Ministry of Development, making it the most developed region of Eastern Anatolia Region.
Elâzığ is situated at the northwestern corner of a 30-mile-long valley, known locally as Uluova (literally the Great Valley). The area's Armenians called this valley "Vosgetashd" (the Golden Plain). Its altitude is 3,300 feet (1,000 m), latitude and longitude of 38 degrees and 41 minutes North, and 39 degrees and 14 minutes East. Elâzığ Province is surrounded by the Euphrates in the north, and since the completion of Keban Dam the rivers came to cover almost ten percent of the surface area (826 square kilometres (319 sq mi)) of the province (8,455 square kilometres (3,264 sq mi)). Elâzığ's adjacent province borders are with: Tunceli (North), Erzincan (North-West), Bingöl (East), Diyarbakır (South), and Malatya (West).
Elâzığ has a continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dsa or Trewartha climate classification: Dca) with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. However, due to the natural and artificial lakes around the city, some variation from this climate is experienced.
|Climate data for Elazığ (1991–2020, extremes 1938–2020)|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.0
|Average high °C (°F)||4.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−22.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||37.8
|Average precipitation days||8.03||8.63||9.60||10.53||10.03||3.70||1.47||1.00||2.87||6.73||6.70||8.90||78.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||89.9||101.7||151.9||180.0||251.1||303.0||334.8||303.8||261.0||198.4||132.0||65.1||2,372.7|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||2.9||3.6||4.9||6.0||8.1||10.1||10.8||9.8||8.7||6.4||4.4||2.1||6.5|
|Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service|
Elâzığ cuisine is the second richest among all cities in Turkey with 154 different types of food and drinks according to a study conducted by Ankara Chamber of Commerce. Particularly those originated in the historic city of Harput have an important fame in the region and the country. Apart from famous meat platters most of which include meatballs, naturally dried fruits and vegetables and using them in main dishes are unique to Elâzığ cuisine. Several examples could include:
- Kofik dolma - stuffed dried peppers or aubergines
- Kelecoş - fried meat and onion served over a bed of flatbread pieces softened in yogurt
- İşkene - a breakfast soup containing broth and vegetables
- Harput köfte - meatballs made with a mixture of minced meat, cracked wheat, herbs and spices boiled in tomato sauce
- Taş Ekmeği - unleavened flatbread baked over hot stone or hotplate served with butter and jam
- Işkın yemeği - a wild rhubarb dish
- Sırın - pan-broiled handmade filo pastry roundels with a layer of yogurt and tomato sauce on top
- Kömme - baked handmade filo pastry roundels built with a layer of meat filling and a layer of walnut paste
- Gaygana - a mixture of eggs, yogurt, bicarbonate, and flour drops fried in oil
- Orcik - walnut halves sewn in a thread, dipped into deep grape syrup
- Orcik şekeri - caramelised sugar coated walnut pieces
Elâzığ is served by Elazığ Airport which lies about 12 km (7 mi) from the city center. The airport is the 19th busiest airport in Turkey in terms of passenger traffic. There are daily domestic flights from/to Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir. During summer months there are some international flights from/to cities such as Düsseldorf and Frankfurt as well as from/to Antalya and Adana.
There are local companies provide coach service to almost all cities in Turkey. Ferryboat services are also present over the reservoir lakes to supplement highway connections to towns such as Ağın, and Pertek and Çemişgezek of Tunceli.
The Blue Train (passenger express) provides connection from Elâzığ to Ankara.
- Fırat University
- Harput Castle
- Elazığ Culture Park
- Elazığ Botanical Park
- Elazığ Gazi Caddesi
- Buzluk Mağarası (Ice Cave)
- Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography
- Hazar Gölü (Lake Hazar)
- Hazarbaba Ski Centre
- Historic mosques (Cami in Turkish), churches and shrines (Türbe in Turkish). Do note they are in Harput, on a hill out of town, but near enough to pay them a visit.
- Ulu Camii: Built by Artuqid Sultan Fahrettin Karaaslan in 1156. It is one of the oldest and important structures in Anatolia
- Sarahatun Camii (also known as Sarayhatun Cami): Built by Sara Hatun, mother of Aq Qoyunlu (White Sheep Turkomans) Sultan Bahadır Han (also known as Uzun Hassan), in 1465 as a small mosque. It was renovated in 1585 and 1843.
- Kurşunlu Camii: Built between 1738 and 1739 in Harput during the Ottoman era.
- Alacalı Camii
- Ağall Camii: built in 1559.
- Arap Baba Mescidi ve Türbesi: Built during the reign of Seljuk Sultan Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev III (son of Kılıçarslan IV) in 1279. The shrine contains a mummified body which is known as Arap Baba among commons.
- Fetih Ahmet Baba Türbesi (Shrine of Fetih Ahmed)
- Mansur Baba Türbesi
- Mary Church
- Sefik Gul Community Centre of Culture
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
- Feyzi İşbaşaran - (died 1956) politician and businessman
- Kenan Çoban — actor, known as abdulhey in Valley of the Wolves
- Vedat Dalokay — architect and a former mayor of Ankara
- Cahit Kıraç — Governor of multiple provinces
- Reha Denemeç — Co-founder of the Justice and Development Party (AKP)
- Belek Ghazi — commander
- J. Michael Hagopian - (died 2010) Armenian-American documentary filmmaker
- Hamastegh - (died 1966) Armenian writer, student of Tlgadintzi
- Bekir İrtegün — footballer
- Ahmet Kabaklı — (died 2001) writer
- Esat Kabaklı — musician
- Dursun Karataş — founder and leader of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party–Front (DHKP-C)
- George Kiraz — Armenian poet and writer
- Fatih Kısaparmak — musician
- Stephen P. Mugar — (died 1982) Armenian-American businessman and entrepreneur
- Shahan Natalie — (died 1983), Armenian writer and principal organizer of Operation Nemesis
- Catholicos Nerses IV — (died 1173), Armenian church leader, theologian and writer
- Erkan Oğur — musician
- Ahmet Tevfik Ozan — poet and writer
- Necati Şaşmaz — actor
- Raci Şaşmaz — film producer, writer and actor
- Mümtaz Sevinç — actor
- Yakup Şevki Subaşı - military officer in the Ottoman and Turkish armies
- Tlgadintsi — (died 1915) Armenian writer
- Vahan Totovents — (died 1938) Armenian writer, student of Tlgadintzi
- Mahir Ünlü — writer, from Harput
- Namık Kemal Yolga — diplomat and statesman
- Ashur Yousif — (died 1915) Assyrian journalist and teacher at the Euphrates College
- İhsan Yüce — (died 1991) actor
- Rupen Zartarian — (died 1915) Armenian writer, student of Tlgad
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