A Historical View from Harput Castle

Old stone buildings, baths, houses with bay windows, tombs, historical texture has a lot to whisper to people. Places that remind us of their cities, past years and people, and involuntarily remind us of the word "who came and who passed".

One should visit historical cities by following that feeling that makes us think that history is not just what we read and what we learn in lessons, and that allows us to follow the traces of those who live in those places.

Must wish to feel when he touches stone walls.

Should be viewed a city from its highest point.

Must be seen from a dominant vantage point before gets lost in streets.

Should know what one is against and what one is in, and one must have a place.

Castles are the ones that protect the cities, their surroundings and their hills.

A texture where we can feel the traces of history, the work of time, and the living.

Like the city, the shelter of time is also the castles.

The castles of the cities must be among the places that offer the best historical viewing pleasure.

Harput Castle, as the protective image of time and the city, has come to the present day as a reminder of the past with its history and architecture.

Harput Castle Was the Cradle of Which Civilizations?

Founded by the Hurrians, the city was known as 'Isuwa' during the Hittites period.

The construction of the castle began in the 7th century BC during the Urartian Kingdom.

The castle hosted the Roman Empire in common era, after the Medes, Scythians, Persians. The name of the city, which came under the rule of the Byzantine Empire in the 7th century, began to be called 'Harpote', afterwards, it took the name 'Harput', which means 'Stone castle'.

The region, where many civilizations such as Persian, Byzantine, Seljuk and Turkish Principalities lived, was used as the administrative center of Çubukoğulları, Artukoğulları and Seljuks in the region. The region was included in the Ottoman Empire in 1515, during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim.

The region, where Greek, Armenian, Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkish communities live together, has always been a popular settlement in terms of culture, economy and education.

Harput Castle is one of the most known ancient settlements of the region 

It has a structure shaped by the dominance of many civilizations

Ziata Castellum, Kharpete and Hısn-ı Ziyad are among the old known names

The historical city was included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Tentative List in 2018.

Not Without Legends

It is rumored that once upon a time there was a beautiful girl sleeping in the allurs of the castle. Only one time of the year the girl woke up and asked, “Is the Milk Castle destroyed? Have the mules lambed? Are the winds blowing in the place of the creek bath?”. It was believed that the girl, also known as Melike-i Hisar, was the guardian of the castle and that if what she said came true, the apocalypse would break and Harput would be destroyed. I don't know if their questions are considered prophetic, but just in case, it is necessary to listen to what is said about the future.

In another narrative, thirst began in the region simultaneously with the construction of Harput Castle. Despite the scarcity of water, the milk of the animals of the region increased and the ruler of the period ordered the use of milk instead of the water required for the mortar in the construction of the castle.

It is also said that the light-colored structure causes it to be called 'Milk Castle'.

Architecture of ‘Milk Castle’

The castle, which rises on 3 big rocks together with the inner and outer walls, is surrounded by cliffs.

The building, which was designed as a fortress city, was widely preferred in the Mesopotamian region as a plan that would include the public in order to be protected from external dangers. The restoration in the Artuqid period was effective in bringing the castle to its present day with its original structure. The rooms, cistern and stairs of the castle made by carving from the rock are important places preserved in the building.

In addition to its 4000-year-old history, the archaeological value of the region has increased with the dungeons and mints unearthed by the excavations in the castle. Traces of Roman, Byzantine and Turkish Principalities were found on copper and silver coins. During the recent excavations, an emporium, residence, atelier and school belonging to the Ottoman period were found.

Journey in Harput Castle

Harput Castle, located within the provincial borders of Elazig, is 10 km away from the city center. It is also easily accessible from the city center by public transport.

How about finding traces of history in Harput Castle with GoArt?

Who would not want to see Harput Castle with its neighborhood structure in the Urartian, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods, with its numerous historical artifacts and architectural texture, and to see the people of that age in their daily lives, in their streets and markets, with their period-specific clothes!

With GoArt technology and editing, it allows us to learn while traveling and more, to feel in a game.

Beyond imagining the old times, it becomes possible to experience it through the gates of time, to be a part of the revived periods of history behind Evliya Çelebi.

After reaching the castle, it is now in your hands to find GoArt's time gates and meet your virtual guide.