The history of Elazig, the settlement area of various civilizations, is examined as the history of Harput. The city of Elazig developed as a continuation of the city of Harput, which is supposed to be founded in the years of 3000 B.C., in the plains.
The most ancient inhabitants known in the history of the region were Hurrians. Afterwards, the Hittites, Urinians, Romans, Byzantine, Sassanids, Azeri Turks and Arabians alternately ruled in the region. In Harput, which had entered under the reign of Turks after the Battle of Manzikert, Cubukogullari, Artukogullari, Seljuqs, Dulkadirogullari and Akkoyunlular had reigned. It was integrated to the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Selim the Grim in 1515. The city was named by Ataturk in 1937 as “El'azik” which means granary, abundance and profusion; in the course of time Elazig started to be used because of its conformity with the Turkish euphony and pronunciation easiness.
Elazig is located at the southwest of the Eastern Anatolian Region and upper Firat Basin. The city is composed of 11 districts, 537 villages and 709 field settlement areas with the central district.
The districts of Elazig are Agin, Akcakaya, Aricak, Baskil, Karakocan, Keban, Kovancilar, Maden, Palu and Sivrice.
The history of the district dates back to the Hurrinans who settled in this region. One of the branches of Firat, Karasu joins with the Murat River around Keban and constitutes the actual Firat River. The district is famous with the rock tombs from the Romans and roasted chickpeas.
The district having natural beauties has a waterfall worth to see and a small lake named Golalan. There is a historical structure named Murat Inn in the district.
The highest mountain of the city, Haci Ali Mountain of 2517 meters height is within this district. Mirvan Brook, from which the Dicle River springs, flows through the district center. Moreover, there is a waterfall breathtaking with its beauty in the town of Erimli of the district.
The district is in a mountainous region. In the excavations in the district, it has been found that the area had been a settlement area in the Roman and Byzantine period.
Peri Brook flows inside the district. Every year, thousands of people visit Golan Spas at the edge of Peri Brook in the district, which has rich natural beauties.
In the excavations done for the construction of the Keban Dam in the district, it had been found that it is a settlement area belonging to the X. century. IV. Murat had stopped by the region on his way to Bagdat expedition and had a caravansary built close to the village of Denizli. In the district, there is Keban Dam which is one of the biggest dams of our country and a mosque built by Yusuf Ziya Pasa and called after him and a historical mausoleum belonging to his children.
The history of the district is quite old. There are works belonging to the Antiquity and the Middle Age in the region. Simsat Castle near Palu, had been a rather significant castle in certain periods.
The history of the Sunken City below the Hazar Lake has not been definitely found out. Hazar Lake, the most significant value of Sivrice district, is a rare lake. Hazar Lake is also suitable for fishing besides tourism.
THE MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL RUINS
Archeology and Ethnography Museum
Archeology and Ethnography Museum consists of two halls which are Archeological Works and Coins Hall, Carpet Rug and Ethnography Hall and the warehouse part where various works are kept.
In the Archeological Works and Coins Hall, several works are exhibited belonging to the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Calcolithic, Bronze (Protto Huri – Hittite), Iron, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq and Ottoman periods, found during Tulin Tepe, Tepecik Ruin Place, Degirmen Hill, Haraba Tumulus, Norsun Hill, Asvan, Sakyol (Pulur), Agin Kalaycik Tumulus, Agin Kalecik Tumulus, Pagnik Ruin Place, Han İbrahim Sah, Semsiye Hill, Yenikoy excavations and the surface researches carried out at Karatas Kayaalti Siginagi, Kullunun İni, Aktas and Yikilgan, which were carried out due to Keban and Karakaya Dam projects.
In the Carpet Rug and Ethnography Hall, handmade carpets and rugs special to the region and ethnographic materials are exhibited.
The museum accommodates regional handicrafts and ethnographic materials. Moreover, some inscriptions belonging to various historical buildings in Harput have been taken under protection in the museum.
Harput, which has continuously been a settlement area since the Urinian period and of which the first traces are found in Harput İc Castle, has been the host of various civilizations throughout the history.
Harput had been used as an important end castle in every period and had been the capital of Cubukogullari and Harput Artuklulari. It has been left after the 1910s.
Harput Castle, standing with its historical grandeur in our times, has the traces of the Urinian period. There are stairs carved into stone, tunnel, cells and water way in the castle. Harput has at least 4000 thousand years of history, known as a fortified post with its castle since the 9th century B.C.
The first syllable of Harput, “Har” means “stone” (rock), the last syllable “put” means “castle”.
There are many structures belonging to various periods that reached us and the most important of these are: Meryem Ana Church, İc (Sut) Castle, Ulu Mosque, Esediye Mosque, Alacali Mosque, Fatih Ahmet Baba Mosque and Tomb, Mansur Baba Tomb, Ahi Musa Mosque and Tomb, Arap Baba Mosque and Tomb, Sara Hatun Mosque, Meydan Mosque, Kursunlu Mosque, Aga Mosque, Ahmet Bey Mosque, Kale Bathhouse, Hoca Bathhouse and Cemsit Bey Bathhouse.
Palu has continuously been a settlement area since the Urinian period like Harput. Besides the pin-written inscription belonging to Urinian King, Menua found in Palu Castle, the most important structures that reached our times are: Alacali Mosque, Cemsid Bey Mosque and Tomb, Merkez Mosque, Ulu Mosque, Kuçuk Mosque and Anonymous Bathhouse belonging to the Ottoman period and Middle Age Church and Old Palu Bridge, which is an Artuklu structure.
Old Pertek, which has been a settlement area in various periods, has remained under the Keban Dam Lake today. There is only Pertek Castle which is seen like an island.
There are structures like church, palace, mosque, tomb, bathhouse, alms house and weighting house under the dam lake. These structures show that Pertek had attained special importance in the Seljuq and Ottoman periods.
MOSQUES, CHURCHES, BATHHOUSES
The mosque built by the Artuklu Monarch Fahrettin Karaaslan in 1156-1157 A.D. in Harput, is among the oldest and most important structures of Anatolia. The mosque is rectangular planned, has a structure of being closed to outside. It is interesting, as its minaret is curved and its bricks had been used as ornament elements.
It is the most beautiful example of Ottoman period mosques in Harput. It had been constructed between the years of 1738 – 1739. The mosque is square planned, covered with a large dome. The last parish place has three domes. The domes are covered with lead. Its minaret was built with hewn stone.
Sara Hatun Mosque
The mosque was built by Sara Hatun, the mother of Akkoyunlu Monarch Bahadir Han in the 15th century. Its pulpit is among the most beautiful samples of stone craftsmanship. Although it was constructed as a kulliye, there only remained the mosque section today. The mosque is square planned; its centre is covered with a dome standing on four thick columns and its edges are covered with vault. Its minaret was built with two coloured hewn stone.
Meryem Ana Church
It is located at the left side of Harput Castle. Its construction date is 179 A.D. This church is also known as Kizil Church, Suryani Church and Yakubi Church.
Other than these buildings, among the historical works there are: Alacali Mosque, Aga Mosque, Merkez Mosque, Arap Baba Mosque and Tomb, Fetih Ahmet Baba Tomb, Mansur BabaTomb.
Hoca Hasan Bathhouse
It is one of the classical Ottoman bathhouses that succeeded to reach our times. It has two entrance doors. It is interesting that although the west door is simple, the east door is domed. The dressing place is square planned and covered with dome. The bath place consists of four liwans, its center with a large dome and one domed halvet (small, hot places).
Cimsit Bey Bathhouse
It is a classical Ottoman structure, located adjacent to Sara Hatun Mosque. The dressing place is square planned and covered with dome. It has two doors. This structure was built by Cimsit Bey, one of the Sipahi Governors of the Sultan Selim the Grim in the first half of the 16th century. It has been repaired and put into service today.
OTHER CULTURAL AND TOURISM VALUES
Elazig deserves to be praised with its natural beauties besides its historical works. It allows every tourism activity with its caves, lakes, dams, spas and mountains.
It is in Harput, 12 km. away from Elazig. It has a view of Keban Dam Lake.
Ice sheets, stalagmites and stalactites are formed naturally in the cave during summer, whereas ice is replaced by hot air during winter. It is known that the history of Buzluk Cave is earlier than the history of Harput of which the foundation history dates back to the Urinians.
Karakocan – Golan Spa
Golan Spa, 18 km. away from Karakocan district, is at the south coast of Peri Brook. It is used for drinking and bathing.
Harput – Dabakhane Water
It has got three marble basins. The water inside the basins is continuously renewed. The temperature of the water is 50 degree; the water is colourless, odourless, clear and drinking water.
It is a tectonic lake stuck between Hazar Baba and Astar Mountains, 22 km. away from Elazig. It is an important lake of Eastern and Southeastern Anatolian regions with its original beaches and where water sports and fishing are available. Two of the beaches had attained Blue Flag from the European Environmental Education Society.
The lake reflects every shade of blue and green, having a different spectacle in every hour of the day. Its length is 22 km.; width is 5 – 6 km. The water of the lake is clear, has no sodium carbonate and salt.
Besides the education and relaxation facilities of about 25 public institutions and entities around the lake; there are hotels, motels, pensions, restaurants and daily picnic areas certified by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and fishing houses operated by the private institutions. The number of the people resting in the tents of the open camp areas in the shores of Hazar Lake during June, July and August increase and people spending their holidays here get various services.
Around the lake, the population density increases during the summer months. In the researches executed in 1990, a sunken city has been discovered in the lake and this added a different aspect of mystery to the lake. The sunken city was determined to begin around Kilise Island of Hazar Lake and extend to the district of Sivrice.
Keban Dam Lake
It is the biggest artificial lake of Turkey. The length of the dam lake through Murat Valley is 125 km. Its width changes in various places. Beside the electricity production, the activities of fishing and fish production are executed in Keban Dam Lake. It is one of the first investments of Turkey regarding energy. Its construction began in 1965.
There are numerous picnic areas and fish houses at the shores of Keban Dam Lake where people can rest. The surrounding area of the waterfall known as Circir Waterfall, which was formed during the construction of Keban Dam Lake, is now a natural park and resort area. There is the opportunity to camp at the shores of Keban Dam Lake.
There are numerous fish restaurants especially in the wharfs of the lake, from where one can go to the three districts by ferryboat and along the coast on the Elazig-Bingol highway.
Cip Dam Lake
Cip Dam at the 10 km. west of Elazig, is on the Cip Brook which joins with Murat River. With the lake water formed with the construction of the dam, an area of 800 hectares is irrigated. The vicinity of the lake is used as a resort area. There is the opportunity to camp in the resort area of Cip Dam.
Among the other available places for camp – caravan, there are; Sivrice district, the village of Guney, camp place in Hacibey with the capacity of 300 vehicles, 200 tents, 50 caravans within the structure of Tur-Pol Tourist Facilities certified by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, camp place with the capacity of 20 vehicles and numerous tents within the structure of Plajkoy Casino and Relaxation Facilities belonging to the Gezin Municipality and camp place with the capacity of 200 vehicles, 100 tents belonging to the Elazig Municipality.
There are hunting parties organized by the Hunting Club in Elazig in the hunting season. While animals like partridge, rabbit, quail and fox can be hunted, fish can also be caught in Firat River and Keban Dam Lake.
Elazig – Sivrice Hazarbaba
The Ski Facility on the Hazarbaba Mountain within Sivrice district of Elazig became operational in 1999.
Hazarbaba Ski Center is 6 km. away from Sivrice district, which is 25 km. away from Elazig. In the Hazarbaba Mountain, which has an altitude of 2347 m., the snow thickness is about 100-200 cm. in the normal winter conditions. The ski season starts in December and continues to March. Terrestrial climate is prevalent in the region.
There are two buildings in Hazarbaba Ski Center, which are Ski Lodge and Cafeteria. The facilities and tracks, T-bar facility were upgraded to 1700 meters in 2000; the track was improved to provide a comfortable skiing opportunity for the amateur and professional skiers.
Elazig-Harput regional cuisine displays a great variation. There are numerous types of food special to the city and remembered by the name of the city. Kellecos, isgene, Harput kofte, tas ekmegi (hard bread), peynir ekmek (bread with cheese), fodula, gomme, ufalama, sogurtme, iskin, pirpirim, hesude, gaygana, pestilli yumurta, dolangel, kalbur hurmasi and dilber dudagi are some of the examples of food and deserts special to Elazig.
Orcik and pestil made with the local grape and walnut, mulberry flour, orcik candy, ceden coffee, delicious Buzbag wine produced from the local grapes, handicraft works, embroideries, local carpets, rugs, copper crafts and coloured handkerchiefs are the products special to the region that should be seen or even bought. www.elazig.bel.tr www.elazig.gov.tr