Bitlis

Bitlis

Things to do - general
Country Turkey
Province Bitlis
Area
 • District 1,128.14 km2(435.58 sq mi)
Elevation 1,545 m (5,069 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Urban 46,111
 • District 64,725
 • District density 57/km2 (150/sq mi)
Website www.bitlis.bel.tr
Country Turkey
Visa requirements

Arakel Paghishetsi (1380-1454) Armenian musician, hymnologist
Hovhannes Paghishetsi (1678-1741) 49th Armenian patriarch of Constantinople
Vardan Paghishetsi (???-1705) Armenian chronographer
Vardan Paghishetsi (16th century) Armenian medieval illuminator
The city was the home of the sixteenth century Kurdish historian, Sherefxan Bedlisi (also: Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi), author of the Sharafnameh, and who was also an appointed prince of the Persian and later Ottoman Empires.

Ottoman administrator and Kurdish religious scholar and author Idris-i Bitlisi is claimed to have been born in Bitlis also. He was instrumental in conquest, Ottomanization and administration of Ottoman lands from Urfa, Mardin to Egypt.

Said Nursi (Nurs, Bitlis, 1877) notable Kurdish Sunni Muslim Theologian. Writer of the Risale-i-Nur collection used as the foundation of movements such as the Nurcu in Turkey and the Gulenist movement founded by Fetullah Gulen.

Fuat Sezgin (Bitlis, 1924), a prominent Historian of Science, Orientalist was born in Bitlis. He is the author and editor of numerous publications. His 13-volume work Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums (1967-2000) is the cornerstone reference on the history of science and technology in the Islamic world. The 5-volume Natural Sciences of Islam documents the items in the Frankfurt museum. Since 1984 he has edited the Journal for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science.

American writer William Saroyan's parents were immigrants from Bitlis to Fresno, California. He wrote a play entitled "Bitlis" about his "return" to the city he considered his homeland, which he actually did visit in later years.[18]

Kâmran İnan (Hizan, Bitlis, 1929), a well known Turkish politician, diplomat, and scholar was from Bitlis. He has written about the history of Bitlis.

Languages spokenTurkish
Currency usedTurkish Liras
Area (km2)1,128.14 km2 (435.58 sq mi)

Sports & nature

Bitlis (Armenian: Բաղեշ Baghesh/Paghesh; Kurdish: Bidlîs‎; Classical Syriac: ܒܝܬ ܕܠܝܣ‎ Beṯ Dlis; Ottoman Turkish: بتليس‎; Medieval Greek: Βαλαλης Balales) is a city in eastern Turkey and the capital of Bitlis Province. The city is located at an elevation of 1,545 metres, 15 km from Lake Van, in the steep-sided valley of the Bitlis River, a tributary of the Tigris. The local economy is mainly based on agricultural products which include fruits, grain and tobacco. Industry is fairly limited, and deals mainly with leatherworking, manufacture of tobacco products as well as weaving and dyeing of coarse cloth. Bitlis is connected to other urban centres by road, including Tatvan on Lake Van, 25 km to the northeast, and the cities of Muş (Mush), 100 km northwest, and Diyarbakır, 200 km to the west. The climate of Bitlis can be harsh, with long winters and heavy snowfalls. Summers are hot, and often humid.

 

Nightlife info

Ancient and medieval
The origin of the name Bitlis is not known. A popular folk etymology explanation, without historical basis, is that it is derived from "Lis/Batlis", the name of a general said to have built Bitlis castle by the order of Alexander the Great.[4] To Armenians, it was known as Balalesa or Baghaghesh, and later Baghesh.[5] According to one popular Armenian folk story, on a cold, wintry day a donkey left its stable and wandered down the valley below. The donkey died of the freezing temperatures and was only discovered in the spring, once the ice had melted; thus, it received the name Pagh Esh, or "Cold Donkey."[6]

Baghesh was one of the most important cities of the Kingdom of Armenia's province of Aghdznik', and it served as the primary fortress of the province's canton of Salnodzor.[4] Some medieval Armenian writers, such as Anania Shirakatsi and Vardan Areveltsi, later mention it as a part of the canton of Bznunik'.[4] The fortress guarded the Baghesh Pass, which linked the southern reaches of the Armenian Plateau to northern Mesopotamia. The Arabs conquered Baghesh at the end of the seventh century and it eventually became the capital of the Zurārid emirs of Aghdznik'. Because it was on an important trade route, it prospered greatly.

The next two centuries, however, marked a turbulent period in the town's history. After Bugha al-Kabir's destructive 852-855 campaign in Armenia, the Shaybanid emirs of Arzan wrested control of Baghesh from the Zurārids;[7] thereafter, in the first quarter of the tenth century, it was taken by the Kaysite emirs of Manzikert. In his 929-30 campaign against the Kaysites, the Byzantine general John Curcuas was able to capture and annex Baghesh.[4] Following the devastation of the Arab emirs in the second half of the tenth century, a great number of Kurds settled in Baghesh and at the end of the tenth century, the city fell into the hands of the Kurdish Marwanid dynasty after breaking from Buyid rule.[4] At the end of the eleventh century, with the collapse of Byzantine power after the Battle of Manzikert, Bitlis fell under the control of Togan Arslan, a subject of the Shah Arman (Also called Ahlatshah) dynasty based in Akhlat' after brief Dilmachoglu rule. It was also ruled by Ayyubid (1207–1231), Khwarezm Shahs (shortly rule in 1230), Sultanate of Rûm (1231–1243) and Ilkhanate (1243–1335).

Culture and history info

Bitlis preserves more medieval and traditional architecture than any other town in eastern Turkey. They are of a high quality and are mostly constructed from locally quarried light-brown stone, sometimes called Ahlat stone.

The town contains a large number of late-medieval Islamic buildings in the form of mosques, medresses, and tombs. Also commercial buildings such as "Han's Caravanserais. Commissioned mostly by its local Kurdish rulers, the architectural style of these buildings is very conservative and similar to much earlier Seljuq-period structures. Important monuments include the 12th-century Ulu Mosque with its 15th-century minaret, and the Gokmeydani Medresesi and Sherefiye Mosque from the sixteenth century. Until 1915 there were five Armenian monasteries and several churches in Bitlis – only a 19th-century Armenian church survives, now used as a warehouse.

Bitlis is also notable for its many old houses. These are built of cut stone and are often large and impressive structures. Most have two stories, but three stories are also found. Ground floors were generally intended for storage and stables, with the residential quarters on the upper floors. Ground floor rooms have few windows, upper floors are well lit. Roofs are flat and covered with beaten clay. Unlike traditional houses in nearby Erzurum or Van, Bitlis houses do not have bay windows and balconies.

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