Part five: the province Mush of Bitlis’ Vilayet
Gegham M. Badalyan
Keywords – Taron, the city of Mush, Chhur-Chukhur, ZiaretHandrez, Aghdzhan-Kosur, St. Karapet, Srbots Arakelots monastery, surb Hovhannes monastery in Egrdute, Havatamq Mountains, Serokov Mountains, Seghansar, Baghlu melikate.
A serie dedicated to Bitlis is going to begin with this article about Mush city and Mush province, which was the most densely populated by Armenians vilayet in Western Armenia. Mush Province was one of the most populated provinces of Western Armenia. On the eve of the Armenian Genocide, their number was greater than 95,000 (including the city of Mush). It was about 37% of all Armenians of Bitlis Vilayet, and 68% of the provincial population. Moreover, without taking into account the population, the Armenians were to ¾ of Mush province. In this respect, Mush was also one of the most populated provinces of Western Armenia. Armenians have been distributed in 111 rural settlements of the province, in 33 of which the population was more than 1000 people. While in Ahdzhan, Avran, Ziaret and Vardenis there were from about 2000 to 3000 people, and in Norshen and Tsronk – 4000 Armenian residents. Even more Armenians were in Hasgegh (5,000 inhabitants), which was, one might say, the largest rural settlement in Western Armenia. The article also separately presented the city of Mush, Taron’s 3 famous monastery – SaintKarapet, Saint-Apostolic, and Saint Hovhannes of Eghrdut. The article also referred to the Upper Chkhur that was the eastern part of the historic Taron and by administrative division subordinated to the governor of Bitlis. The article also referred to the Armenian semi-independent melikate Baghlu, which survived until the 40s of the 19th century.