1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Erivan (town)

ERIVAN, or Irwan, in Persian, Rewan, a town of Russia, capital of the government of the same name, situated in 40° 14′ N., 44° 38′ E., 234 m. by rail S.S.W. of Tiflis, on the Zanga river, from which a great number of irrigation canals are drawn. Altitude, 3170 ft. Pop. (1873) 11,938; (1897) 29,033. The old Persian portion of the town consists mainly of narrow crooked lanes enclosed by mud walls, which effectually conceal the houses, and the modern Russian portion is laid out in long ill-paved streets. On a steep rock, rising about 600 ft. above the river, stand the ruins of the 16th-century Turkish fortress, containing part of the palace of the former Persian governors, a handsome but greatly dilapidated mosque, a modern Greek church and a cannon foundry. One chamber, called the Hall of the Sardar, bears witness to former splendour in its decorations. The finest building in the city is the mosque of Hussein Ali Khan, familiarly known as the Blue Mosque from the colour of the enamelled tiles with which it is richly encased. At the mosque of Zal Khan a passion play is performed yearly illustrative of the assassination of Hussein, the son of Ali. Erivan is an Armenian episcopal see, and has a theological seminary. The only manufactures are a little cotton cloth, leather, earthenware and blacksmiths’ work. The fruits of the district are noted for their excellence—especially the grapes, apples, apricots and melons. Armenians, Persians and Tatars are the principal elements in the population, besides some Russians and Greeks. The town fell into the power of the Turks in 1582, was taken by the Persians under Shah Abbas in 1604, besieged by the Turks for four months in 1615, and reconquered by the Persians under Nadir Shah in the 18th century. In 1780 it was successfully defended against Heraclius, prince of Georgia; and in 1804 it resisted the Russians. At length in 1827 Paskevich took the fortress by storm, and in the following year the town and government were ceded to Russia by the peace of Turkman-chai. A Tatar poem in celebration of the event has been preserved by the Austrian poet, Bodenstedt, in his Tausend und ein Tage im Orient (1850).