Located in the eastern province of Elazığ, Harput is today a small town in the mountains overlooking the city of Elazığ. Although there is not too much to experience in Harput – a day trip is enough time – there is still more than enough to keep a history buff entertained. Having been settled for thousands of years (of course), the region was one of the first in Anatolia to come under Turkish control 1,000 years ago.
One of the must see sights of Harput is the strategically located castle which, although unfortunately badly destroyed by a recent earthquake, still offers amazing views of the valley beneath it. It was also in this castle’s dungeons that the Turks imprisoned the Count of Edessa and the King of Jerusalem, two Christian Crusader leaders.
Harput is essentially a village in ruins, with a dwindling population that is slowly moving to the modern city of Elazığ beneath. Besides the castle, the city is also home to numerous religious shrines of saints as well as Ulu Camii – the first Turkish mosque in Anatolia.
You can read more about Harput here.
Getting to Harput is relatively easy. If you are in Elazığ, a minibus service can take you to Harput within twenty minutes. Elazığ itself is relatively well connected to the rest of the country, with a major eastern highway passing through it. There is also an airport with the usual daily flights to Istanbul and Ankara – although I would frankly only recommend making your way out here if you are already in the area.
Speaking of being in the area, go on to page 7…