Elazig is a unique city kneaded with Anatolian culture, located in the Upper Euphrates Basin of our Eastern Anatolia Region. It is one of our precious cities with different richness in Anatolian history, with its geographical location, culture, art, musical harmony and literature. He is a complete Anatolian from a cultural point of view, from his dressing to folk dances, from his original music to his local dishes and to his speech.
The accumulation of being home to dozens of civilizations and the fact that the historical city region of Harput is an important stop on many trade and travel routes has ensured the cultural and artistic enrichment of the city. The natural result of the interaction brought about by living together with different ethnic identities has formed a unique culture with its own, colorful and pleasant motifs.
What is Elazig famous for, one of the cultural heritages of Anatolia? Honestly, if I count it as someone who has spent more than 20 years of his life there, it wouldn’t end. The world-famous rare cherry-coloured marble, Harput, the old city district with historical artifacts spouting from all sides, Keban Dam, one of Turkey’s first big investments, handcrafted octagonal hats by gradually decreasing masters, and the famous oxeye grapes are the first things that come to mind.
I can count the game of kindling in tea, which is indispensable for almost every wedding and henna night in the East, the tradition of the chair of the chair, which is still maintained in old Harput houses, orcigi, cedene coffee, Şavak tulum cheese, Agin roasted chickpeas, and almond candy. Its cuisine is a hidden treasure.
Behind all this cultural and artistic richness, its rich multicultural structure, which has been a settlement for many years, has a serious contribution. Elazig has a special place in Anatolia; He blended both Eastern and Western characters very well. It is said that Elazig is Western according to the East and Eastern according to the West.
Elazig Travel Guide
Elazig, the homeland of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which give life to the fertile soil of Mesopotamia, is actually a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. The Keban Dam is surrounded to the north, and there is Tunceli beyond it. To the west and south of it, there is the Karakaya Dam and the city of Malatya. It is adjacent to Bingöl in the east and Diyarbakır in the south.
It is a geography with a lower average elevation and relatively less ruggedness compared to other cities of Eastern Anatolia. For this reason, it has become a frequently used route for trade routes. It has a wet and fertile plain in the great arc drawn by the Euphrates, and its soil is fertile. Almost everything is grown in Elazig. It is a self-sufficient city with vineyards, fruit and vegetable gardens.
Harput, the oldest settlement of Elazig, is located on the hill 6 km north of the current city center. When we look at the story of Harput, one of the oldest settlements in Anatolia, we see that it was a special settlement that was both a province and a sanjak from time to time. During the Ottoman period, Malatya hosted regions with different cultures and beliefs such as Adıyaman, Bingöl and Tunceli under its banner.
Since it is located on the caravan routes connecting Anatolia to Mesopotamia, it has become the industrial center of its surroundings. Evliya Çelebi, who came to Harput, where the important industrial branches of the period, leather making, blacksmithing and copper work were highly developed, says that there are more than 600 shops in the city.
In 1867, in the 5th year of the accession of the Ottoman Sultan, Sultan Abdulaziz, the name Harput was changed and the city was named ‘Mamurat ül-Aziz’, which means ‘the place where the saint prospered’. Since it is difficult to say, his name was briefly ‘El Aziz’ among the people.
Due to the change in the understanding of urbanization at the beginning of the 19th century and the difficulty of natural conditions, Harput was moved to the plain where Elazig is located today. During the First World War, when the Armenian population of the city was transferred to other places, the Muslims migrated to El Aziz below, and Harput turned into an abandoned city.
During Atatürk’s visit to the city in 1937, the name ‘Elazık’ meaning ‘province of food’ was given, and this name was changed to Elazig by the decision of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
Although most of the historical heritage of the city, which was once a cultural and political center, has been destroyed over time, some of it still stands as if it defies time. The old city center of Elazig, Harput, which has been declared a ‘Historical-Urban Site’, is an open-air museum today. Every corner is full of vivid traces of its rich past.
The main artery of Elazig is Gazi Street, which extends westward in front of the İzzetpaşa Mosque, which is considered the heart of the city. Many passages and various small bazaars and shops are lined up along the street. The Government House was built on this street in 1896, after the city center was moved from Harput to the plain. Elazig Community Center, which now serves as a teacher’s house, is also located on this street.
The Historical Grand Bazaar, located close to this most lively street of the city, is one of the most interesting corners of the city. Every product that springs from the fertile soil of the region meets the consumer here.
1. İzzet Pasha Mosque and Historical Government House
İzzet Pasha Mosque , a mosque built from mud brick in 1866, which forms the center of the bazaar of Elazig, was demolished and its construction began in 1966. It was opened to worship in 1972 as the first mosque with a minaret with an elevator in Turkey. Apart from the huge 20-meter main dome, it has 25 small domes.
The area around the mosque is the most crowded point of the city. There are many jewelers and currency exchange offices in the passage known as the Jewelers’ Bazaar, located under the mosque.
The Historical Government House , located opposite the İzzet Pasha Mosque, is one of the Ottoman civil architecture works built in 1896. The building with round arched windows was used as an exhibition and gallery hall for a while, and also as a temporary governor’s office for a while after the restoration.
Along with the Post Office building opposite, it overlooks the old Post Office Square, the new name of which has been changed to ‘July 15 Democracy Square’, where the dynamism of daily life is felt. 40 years ago, this was where the city’s transportation buses departed.
From our house in Abdullah Paşa Neighborhood, which was 8 km outside of the city but now completely united with the city, to the Art School I studied in the center of Elazig, I used to take the buses that left from here. Just behind the PTT Building is the Historical Grand Bazaar.
3. Historical Grand Bazaar
Historical Grand Bazaar is an important shopping point that should be on your list of places to visit in Elazig. There is what you look for in the bazaar; Spice shops, cheese makers, pulp makers, kadayıf makers, dried fruits, butchers, bakers and coppersmiths… what and what… The bazaar, which is the mirror of city life, makes you say ‘I am in a different place’ in every aspect.
The bazaar has two north-south and four east-west entrances and exits. It is not very big. Since 1928, this place has been the commercial heart of Elazig. You can shop for all kinds of fresh local products here. There are also Fishermen’s Bazaar, Butchers’ Bazaar, and Coppersmiths’ Bazaar, where there are coppersmiths and tinsmiths’ shops, within the historical place.
In the past, the smell emanating from here always made my nose ache. Now these scents mean nostalgia for me. It was like an illusion to watch the production of freshly produced wire kadayif on special cooking plates in the bazaar, which was renovated and turned into a more decent place. Kadayif cooked in the stove of our house would never be missing in our house.