Online Encyclopedia

KHARPUT

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 773 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KHARPUT, the most important town in the Kharput (or Mamuret el-Aziz) vilayet of Asia Minor, situated at an altitude of 4350 ft., a few miles south of the Murad Su or Eastern Euphrates, and almost as near the source of the Tigris, on the Samsun-Sivas-Diarbekr road. Pop. about 20,000. The town is built on a hill terrace about l000 ft. above a well-watered plain of exceptional fertility which lies to the south and supports a large population. Kharput probably stands on or near the site of Carcathiocerta in Sophene, reached by Corbulo in A.D. 65. The early Moslem geographers knew it as Hisn Ziyad, but the Armenian name was Khartabirt or Kharbirt, whence Kharput. Cedrenus (11th century) writes Xapirore. There is a story that in 1122 Joscelin (Jocelyn) of Courtenay, and Baldwin II., king of Jerusalem, both prisoners of the Amir Balak in its castle, were murdered by being cast from its cliffs after an attempted rescue. The story is told by William of Tyre, who calls the place Quart Piert or Pierre, but it is a mere romance. Kharput is an important station of the American missionaries, who have built a college, a theological seminary, and boys' and girls' schools. In November 1895 Kurds looted and burned the Armenian villages on the plain; and in the same month Kharput was at-tacked and the American schools were burned down. A large number of the Gregorian and Protestant Armenian clergy and people were massacred, and churches, monasteries and houses were looted. The vilayet Kharput was founded in 1888, being the result of a provincial rearrangement, designed to ensure better control over the disturbed districts of Kurdistan. It has much mineral wealth, a healthy climate and a fertile soil. The seat of government is Mezere, on the plain 3 M. S. of Kharput. (D. G. H.)
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