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History of Elazig

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The city of Kharput has a very long history to boast about. Kharput or Armenian "Kharpert" means rocky fortress. Kharput was built under the Armenian kings but owing to its high altitude and water supply problems, majority of the inhabitants moved to the city of Mezre, some 3 miles distant from Kharput.

The two cities always had regular communication. The Armenian Protestants established a huge American mission at Kharput that happens to be the headquarters of those in Armenia. The American missionaries in this region built a college, a theological seminary and several schools. In 1862, to resettle the overflowing population from Kharput, the town Marmuret-el-Aziz was founded by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz and Kharput became the capital of the vilayet of Marmouret-ul-Aziz. In November of 1895 several Armenian villages were plundered and burned by the Kurds, along with American schools in Kharput. Kharput was looted too and its people were massacred. In 1888 vilayet Kharput was founded to ensure better control of the region.

The city of Marmuret-ul-Aziz also has a long historical background. Its origin dates back to the days of ancient Anatolian civilization of Hurris, Hittites, Urartus, Byzantine, Ottoman and Seljuks. For many years Marmuret-ul-Aziz was referred to as "Elaziz" for the convenience of pronunciation. In Novemcer 1937, Mustafa kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey renamed the city as Elazik that was changed by the Govt. to Elazig, in the December of the same year.

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