1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Erzingan
ERZINGAN, or Erzinjan (Arsinga of the middle ages), the chief town of a sanjak in the Erzerum vilayet of Asiatic Turkey. It is the headquarters of the IV. army corps, being a place of some military importance, with large barracks and military factories. It is situated at an altitude of 3900 ft., near the western end of a rich well-watered plain through which runs the Kara Su or western Euphrates. It is surrounded by orchards and gardens, and is about a mile from the right bank of the river, which here runs in two wide channels crossed by bridges. One wide street traverses the town from east to west, but the others are narrow, unpaved and dirty, except near the new government buildings and the large modern mosque of Hajji Izzet Pasha to the north, which are the only buildings of note. The principal barracks, military hospital and clothing factory are at Karateluk on the plain and along the foot-hills to the north 3 m. off, one recent addition to the business buildings having electric power and modern British machinery; some older barracks and a military tannery and boot factory being in the town. The population numbers about 15,000, of whom about half are Armenians living in a separate quarter. The principal industries are the manufacture of silk and cotton and of copper dishes and utensils. The climate is hot in summer but moderate in winter. A carriage-road leads to Trebizond, and other roads to Sivas, Karahissar, Erzerum and Kharput. The plain, almost surrounded by lofty mountains, is highly productive with many villages on it and the border hills. Wheat, fruit, vines and cotton are largely grown, and cattle and sheep are bred. Water is everywhere abundant, and there are iron and hot sulphur springs. The battle in which the sultan of Rum (1243) was defeated by the Mongols took place on the plain, and the celebrated Armenian monastery of St Gregory, “the Illuminator,” lies on the hills 11 m. S.W. of the town.
Erzingan occupies the site of an early town in which was a temple of Anaitis. It was an important place in the 4th century when St Gregory lived in it. The district passed from the Byzantines to the Seljuks after the defeat of Romanus, 1071, and from the latter to the Mongols in 1243. After having been held by Mongols, Tatars and Turkomans, it was added to the Osmanli empire by Mahommed II. in 1473. In 1784 the town was almost destroyed by an earthquake. (C. W. W.; F. R. M.)