Mus province which has a large tourism potential with its natural, historical and cultural assets, is located at the Upper Murat - Van region of the Eastern Anatolia.
Not more findings related with the province’s history goes beyond the period prior to Urartus. Cultural history commencing with the period of Urartus, is definitely the major resource of tourism in the province. Following the Urartu Kingdom, the province of Mus had been under the reign of Persian, Roman, Sasani and Byzantine civilizations. The region had undergone radical changes by the spread of Christianity. Turkish - Islamic culture has started to be propagated in the region after the sovereignity of the Turks. 1071 Malazgirt Battle, which opened the gates of Anatolia to Turks had occured within the borders of Mus province.
There exist considerable impacts of the Turkmen clans who had sovereignty in the region. Sheep head shaped monuments of Karakoyunlu and Akkoyunlu civilizations can be found in the vicinity of Varto. During the Ottoman Empire, Mus province was under the sovereignty of several tribes. By the establishment of the railway road in 1955, during the Republic, development of the region has been positively effected. Traces of history in the province which is also known as the “town of tulip”, has reached today by some considerable historical artifacts. Some of these artifacts are Mus castle, Kayalıdere Castle, Ruined Castle in Malzgirt, Surp Garabet Church, Murat River Bridge, Mus Grand Mosque, Haci Seref Mosque, Aslanli Inn and a few historical houses.
Counties of Mus province are: Bulanik, Haskoy, Korkut, Malazgirt and Varto.
Kayalıdere Ancient City
The ancient city is located inside the borders of the Kayalıkaya village which is 40 km. to the Mus city center and 20 km. to the Varto district. The ancient city is a military settlement of Urartu civilization. The ruins of the temple, castle wine cellar, and a rock tomb had been discovered at the official excavations
The construction date of the castle was assumed to extend to the period of the Urartu King II. Sarduri (BC 764 - 735); and a bronze statue of a lion dated BC VII. Century, buttons, arrowheads, bronze pins and arch pieces depicting lion hunt had been discovered at the castle. Various objects that were found in the burial grounds are exhibited in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.
Mercimekkale (Mercimek Castle) Tumulus
The tumulus which is located at the centre of the province is considered to be used for communication during Byzantine times. Tumulus is supposed to be constructed during Urartu times.
Bostankale (Bostan Castle) Tumulus
The tumulus which is located at the Bostankaya village of the Malazgirt town is a settlement of Urartu civilization. Tumulus is a 1st degree protected (SIT) area.
An Urartu tablet was found in the tumulus which is located in the Kepenek village.
The castle which is located at the centre of the province is one of the ancient residential areas. The construction date and who had constructed the castle is unknown. It was conquered by Muslims during caliph Omar. At the west of the castle which was destructed by the effect of long lasting wars, Arabian, Seljuk and Ottoman cemetery ruins are scattered.
The castle which is located at the Kizil Ziyaret (Red Visit) Hill was constructed during Urartu times. However it lost its originality by the restorations that were performed during the latter periods. Following the renovations, the castle was also used during the Middle Age.
The construction date of the Castle is unknown, the castle walls and two of the towers are still stand today. Two destructed watching towers are located at the vicinity of the Castle in Sogucak village.
MOSQUES AND MAUSELOUMS
The mosque was constructed by Sheikh Muhammed-i Magribi who was buried in the courtyard. Its construction time was dated as the second half 14th century due to it’s architectural features. The mosque is a rectangular shaped building made of rubble stones. Simple crown door is made of cut stones and placed beneath a niche with pointed arches. It’s minaret was destructed during an earthquake and it was renovated by remaining true to the original.
Hacı Seref Mosque
It is located inside the Arslanli Inn which is a Seljuk building. The squared shaped mosque was constructed in the 17th century; it was covered with a large dome in the middle and with flattened domes at the sides. It has a simple mihrab with a curved arch.
Alaaddin Bey (Pasha) Mosque
It was constructed in the 18th century by the mayor of the province Alaaddin Bey. It is square shaped and includes nine naves. The main hall is reached through a crown door which is covered by three flattened domes. Minaret of the mosque is cylindrical shaped with a square base and made of two colored cut stones.
İbrahim Samidi (Zerzemi) Mausoleum
It is located in the garden at the opposite of Alaaddin Bey Bath. Rectangular shaped mausoleum has two rooms and it resembles Seljuk-Turk architecture style.
Kesik Bas Mausoleum
The only things survived from the mausoleum which is located in the courtyard of Haci Seref Mosque are the two tombs which are adjacent to the wall of the mosque. These tombs were renovated recently. They are covered with iron framework and the facade is covered with ahlat stone. According to the rumor, the person buried here, continued to fight although his head was removed from his body, by taking his head under his arm, and he was martyred at the place where the tomb is located.
CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES
Surp Garabet Church
The church is located at the Upper Yongali Village of Yaygin borough of Mus province. The church was used as a "temple of fire" at the first construction period. The church was opened for the worship of Christians in the year 399 by Sasani civilization. The ruins of the church is one of the the most frequently visited places.
The monastery which is located at the Kepenek village of Mus Province, was assumed to be constructed by Sasani civilization in 499. Monastery which is spreaded in a large ares has 360 rooms. The rooms represent the dys of the year, and the reliefs are recognizable. The construction has been used as a church - monastery and a shopping mall throughout the history.
The church is located at the Kirkoy village of Mus province, and was constructed in 651. Almost nothing is left today, the church is in ruins
Meryem Ana (Mother Mary) Church
The church is located at the city center of Mus province. The exact construction date is not clearly known. Only the upper ceiling of the church had been collapsed and is open for visit.
INNS, BATHS, BRIDGES
Alaaddin Bey Bath
The bath which is located at the centre of Mus province was constructed by Alaaddin Bey, at the same time of Alaaddin Bey Mosque. The bath is a work of latest Ottoman period and is still in use today. Major characteristic of the bath is the turtle relief placed just above the door through the entrance of the main lodge.
The bath which was destructed during the earthquake was made of adobe and it was blocked up with Horatian plaster and rubble. The construction characteristic of the bath is the usage of the triangle which is called “Turkish triangle” to provide support for the domes.
Two-floored Yildizli Inn was constructed in 1307. Bottom floor is made of cut stones and the upper floor is made of adobe in accordance with the Seljuk architecture. The inn which consists of 52 stores was partially destructed. Facade of the inn was renovated; however, stone engraving motifs on the main entrance were not ruined. The inn is located at the center of the province.
The bridge is located 11 km away from Mus province and three out of 12 cells were destructed. The bridge which is a spectacular Seljuk architectural work is 147 meters long. It is made of two colored cut stones.
OTHER CULRURAL AND TOURISTIC ASSETS
Traditional Mus House
Houses in the texture of the streets which are similar to the settlements of the other provinces in the region are generally two-floored buildings with a courtyard in the front. By the side of the courtyard which is entered through a main entrance connected with the street, there exist an oven consisting a large earthen jar buried in the ground, cellar and seating place under the trees which act as a pergola. Most of the houses have barns.
Window sides which have aesthetic and simple looks are constructed in helmet dome style by the influence of the Seljuk culture. Bay windows are recognizable and parapets are used to support the bays.
Main entrance doors are double-winged and completed with simple and usually metallic door knobs or lock connections. Bottom floors generally consist of kitchen, bathroom, restroom, cellar and the doorways beneath the stairs.
At the upper floor there exist the sofa which is common in the traditional Turkish houses, and the living room facing at the exterior of the house. All the rooms at the upper floor are located at the sides of this living room. In every room, by the side of the window sofas with 30 - 50 cm height and 50 - 90 cm width are placed.
Most important and one of the largest divisions of the house is the kitchen. Kitchen is located just beneath the dining room, and the food and the beverages are transferred to the dining room through a lift like pulley system which is installed in the space within the wall. An interesting feature of the bathroom at the bottom floor, is the separate and open part which resembles bath tubes of today, placed at the corner to prevent water from spilling.
Today, most of these houses are likely to be destructed, and are beaten by the developing technical structures. A few of such houses can be found at the centre of the city.
The main rivers of Mus which is located within the Firat basin are Murat and Karasu; and the main lakes of the province are Haclı (Kazan), Great Hamurpet (Akdogan), Small Hamurpet and Kaz (Gaz)
Hacli (Kazan) Lake
The lake is located to the southeast of the Bulanık district and the waters of the lakes are mostly muddy. Various fresh water fish, mainly carp could be found in the waters of the lake. Bird species that live in the region has gained an important bird space statue to the lake and the Bulanık plain.
(Great and Small Hamurpet) The great Akdogan lake is located to the east of Varto district center and has a surface area of approximately 11 km². The fresh water fish like carp and trout could be founded in the lake. The surrounding area of the lake hosts hunting animals like beaver, wild duck and crane.
Kaz (Gaz) (Goose) Lake
This small lake is located at the northeast section of the Aktuzla locality of Malazgirt district and is a carstic lake.
Some suitable areas for hiking are Kizil Ziyaret Hill in the central district of Mus, and vicinities of Hacli, Hamurpet (Akdogan) and Koz Lakes.
Mus province has a great potential of winter and nature sports but there has not been adequate tourism structuring, however studies towards this direction have been carried out.
Meat dishes constitute the base of the Mus cuisine. Mus meat ball (hafta diregi), meat, rice and tomatoes wrapped in cabbage leaves (kırkcikli kelem dolması), stuffed hez (hasut), corti, keskek (a dish of mutton or chicken and coarsely ground meat), cavbelek, mırtoge and herse can be counted as the main traditional meals of Mus.
Rug and carpet weaving, felt making, mat knitting, beading, lacework and sock knitting can be counted among the traditional handicrafts in the province, besides, jug bags and tents made of hair, are weaved to be used in the plateaus. www.mus.bel.tr www.mus.gov.tr