Elazig Tourist Attractions
Eastern Anatolia (eastern Taurus)Situation and ImportanceElazig (Elâzig) is situated at the foot of the 1,724m/5,658ft Kartal Tepesi on the northern edge of the Uluova basin. In addition to being a sizable industrial center it is a busy market town, serving a large rural area. It has a university, founded in 1966. Much the most important development of recent years however has been the Keban Dam project on the Euphrates, from which the town has benefited enormously.HistoryBy Turkish standards Elazig is still something of a new town. Its story really begins in 1834 when the Ottoman governor Resid Mehmet Pasa moved his residence from the old hilltop stronghold of Harput to Mazra'a, a village a few miles away on the plain. Faced by rebellious Kurds and the insurgent Mehmet Ali, the Ottoman army then established a headquarters in Mazra'a (the German military adviser H. von Moltke spent some time there in about 1838). In 1862 the Ottoman Sultan Abdul el-Aziz transformed the village into a town, renaming it Mamuret el-Aziz (settlement of el-Aziz) of which Elazig is a later corruption. Mazra'a was probably the site of ancient Mazara.
Elazig's predecessor Harput lies some 6km/4mi to the northeast at an altitude of 1,270m/4,168ft, commanding a magnificent view over the plain and the town. Until 1862 Harput (Arabic Khartabirt, Armenian Kharpert, meaning "fortress rock") was itself the provincial center, with a population of about 20,000. The citadel is almost certainly Urartian in origin, but reconstructed a number of times. Harput may also have been the capital of the ancient region of Sophene Karkathiokerta. It was in several different hands from the 10th century onwards until conquered by the Ottomans in 1515.Apart from the citadel ruins the building of most interest is the Ulu Cami, founded around 1165. Also dating from the Seljuk period are the ruined Arapbaba Camii and the Alaça Camii, the latter housing a small archeological collection of mainly Urartian and Roman finds from the surrounding area. The Sarâ Hatun Camii was built in the 15th century by the Akkoyun Emir Uzun Hasan Bey, in honor of his mother Sara Hatun. There are also three Ottoman caravanserais.
Hazar Gölü (altitude: 1,248m/4,096ft), about 22km/14mi south of Elazig, not far from the district town of Sivrice, is the source lake of the Tigris (Dicle Nehri). From the lake the 1,900km/1,180mile-long river flows for some 523km/325mi across southeastern Turkey, reaching the Iraqi frontier south of Cizre.
Completed in 1975 the Keban Baraji (675sq.km/260sq.miles; 30 billion cu.m/39 billion cu.yd) is one of the biggest reservoirs in the world. The most northerly of a whole series of dams built on the Euphrates as part of the GAP project, the Baraji collects water from two of the river's great arms, the Murat Nehri and the Karasu. The dam itself is 207m/680ft high and 1,100m/1,200yds long at the rim.The Keban Baraji's chief function is to produce electricity (1,249 megawatts). Numerous villages in the Euphrates Valley had to be relocated to enable the dam to be built.
Constructed in the reign of the Sultan Murat, Kömürhan stands by the Euphrates about 55km/33mi southwest of Elazig (to the north of the road). Driving further west, before reaching Kussarayi (Izoglu), the Tomsa fortress can be seen standing guard near the village of Hatip Usagi. Lower down, to the right of a rock arch, in a spot now flooded by the waters of the Karakaya Baraji, a Urartian cuneiform inscription was discovered on a rock face (by H. von Moltke in 1839). In it Sardur II boasts of his victorious exploits over the King of Melitene (Malatya, 754 B.C.). There are now plans to re-site the inscription elsewhere.
Above Palu, a town set amid fertile plots on the north bank of the Euphrates (Murat Nehri), a fortress of Urartian origin caps the crest of a steep hillside overlooking the ruins of Eski Palu (Old Palu). There is a staircase tunnel dating from the same period in the northwest side of the hill and, on the west side, an isolated boulder with an inscription by King Menua. Archeologists suspect that a Urartian settlement lies hidden beneath the ruins of the old town.In the form seen today the fortress is attributed to the Genoese. Also on the hill are the remains of two mosques and a church. It was from Palu that H. von Moltke set out on his journey downstream by kelek (a raft made from 60 animal skins) to investigate whether the Euphrates was navigable.Pinar Tepesi, the hill to the west of the town, has proved a rich source of archeological finds from the Chalcolithic period (fourth millennium B.C. right up to the Middle Ages.