- x0x Tunceli
The Hittites, who established the first Anatolian Empire in history,
came even as far as Tunceli. The Babylonian and Assyrian Empires
spread their influence and effectiveness in the region. In the 6th and
8th centuries B.C., during the reign of the Medes and the Persians,
the region was attached to the Iranian Empire. In the mid 7th century
the Arabs arrived in the region. Tunceli became part of the Islamic
Empire in the 8th century. From 1071 to 1252, Tunceli was occupied by
the Mengüceks who ruled Erzincan. Following the Seljuk and Mongol
raids which stretched from the mountainous regions to the Kýzýlýrmak,
scores of Turkish tribes began to settle in Tunceli. Due to the rugged
terrain on the road to Tunceli, only the town of Çemiþkezek
flourished. During the Ottoman era, Çemiþkezek was divided into four
towns, namely Çemiþkezek, Pertek, Saðman, Mazgirt.
Hozat township which is attached to Tunceli was a district before the
proclamation of the Republic and it became the Province of Dersim
following the declaration of the Republic. DERSIM is the Persian word
for silver door.
In 1935, Tunceli Province was established with its temporary center in
Elazýð. At the time, Pülümür, Erzincan, Nazimiye, Hozat, Petek,
Ovacýk, Mazgirt and Çemiþkezek townships in Elazýð formed Tunceli
Province. Tunceli was administered from its temporary center, Elazýð,
until 1946 and in 1947 the provincial center was moved to the town of
Tunceli province is located in the upward part of the Euphrates in the
East Anatolian region. The Munzur Mountains and Karasu are in the
north, the Bingol Mountains and the Peri brook in the east, Keban Dam
Lake in the south and the Euphrates in the West. Erzincan, Bingöl and
Elazýð border Tunceli.
Tuncelis surface area is 7774 square km and it is 1050 m above sea
Tunceli resembles an island. Except for an area in the south, the
province comprises rough terrain with steep mountains and deep river
Munzur brook and Pülümür stream divide Tunceli province into three
parts like a Y
The Munzur Mountains, Pülümür stream and Manzur brook, which surround
the triangle, comprise the highest and steepest parts of the region.
The region has many small rivers especially, the Laç and Kutudereleri.
Water is plentiful in this region. Tacar, Hozat, Geyiksuyu (Deþt
brooks), Munzur brook, Pülümür stream, and Peri brook are the
principal waterways of the province. Keban Dam Lake is situated in the
southern part of the province where 51 villages are located.
Tunceli has a varied plant cover. Munzur Mountains are bare, but
towards the south dense wooded areas increase.
The forest is oak. A continental climate prevails in the province.
Summers are arid and temperatures are above normal. The winter and the
fall are rainy but temperatures are normal.
Tunceli is a province, which greatly contributes to the promotion of
Turkey with its geographic and topographic features, natural wonders
and historic sites.
Steep mountains covered with snow during all seasons, jagged rocks,
oak forests, extensive meadows and grasslands create a sense of calm
in the province. Curative spas springing forth from the depths of the
mountains, taking on the extraordinary hues of the places they run
through, the most delicious trout swimming in these deep, clear
streams make Tunceli one of the most interesting touristic sites in
The high and precipitous Munzur Mountains extend from the west to the
east in the northern part of Tunceli. The icy Munzur River springing
from the foot of these bare mountains is a source of life for Tunceli
and provides the city with unusual natural scenery.
The spring issuing from the Munzur River, today called Gözeler in the
district of Ovacýk, is a picnicking and recreation site. The narrow
and deep valley through which the river flows winding up in the center
of the city has been declared a national park area.
Munzur Valley, Mercan Valley and Pülümür Valley National Park, which
provide tourists with varying panoramas, are visited by many tourists
during all seasons.
The Gelin Spring or Gelin Waterfall located 63 km away from Nizamiye
Township, is another attractive site.
Pertek Township which is near Keban Dam has numerous orchards of
varying shades of green.
Baðin Thermal Springs in Mazgirt Township and the historical Kale
Village ruins, Buyer Baba plateau in Pülümür township, the panorama
from Baðýrpaþa Mountain which affords a charming atmosphere with its
spectrum of colors at dawn, Gelin Springs, the stalactites and
stalagmites formed out of the flowing streams, troglodyte dwellings in
the western part of Çemiþkezek township, and the lovely handicrafts
and rich folklore are other important features of the city.
Access to Tunceli province is possible only by highway. There are
three main highways, two connecting Erzincan province and one linking
Elazýð province to Tunceli.
The distance between Tunceli and Elazýð is 131 km by road. The
Tunceli-Pülümür-(Mutu)-Erzincan highway is one of the state highways
which connects Southeastern Anatolia to the Eastern and Black Sea
Archeological excavations have not been carried out in Tunceli. The
historical structures may be cited as follows:
The castle, inundated by the waters of the Keban Dam Lake resembles an
island today. The edifice was built on a steep cliff by the Seljuks
and was restored by the Ottomans. At the southern façade, red bricks
and blue ceramics were sprinkled among the stones.
Access to the castle is by a way of a cave. There are forty steps in
front of the cave. Although some parts of the city walls have been
destroyed, most are still standing. A pavilion for the Sultan and a
wind-mill were built on the highest level of the castle.
There are bridges built by the Seljuks and Ottomans in Çemiþkezek,
Pertek, Mazgirt and Pülümür townships.
A Historical ruin around Tunceli
Mosques and others
Baysungur and Çelebi Mosques, which were saved from being inundated by
the waters of Keban Dam by a team of the METU Restoration Department,
were moved to the center of Pertek township. The mosque had been taken
apart and reassembled at the new location. Saðman Mosque and Saðman
Castle located at a distance of 18 km from Pertek,Yelmaniye Mosque, a
Seljuki work in Çemiþkezek township known for its exquisite stone
carvings, the Seljuki Mazgirt Center Mosque and the historical sites
in Kale village are among the well known historical buildings in the
Important days and festivals
The Annual Mulberry and Cheese Festival is held in Çemiþkezek township
during the last part of June.
The Annual Honey Festival is held in Pülümür during the first week of
The Third Annual Munzur Culture and Nature Festival is held in the
city of Tunceli during the last week of July.
The annual Pertek Cheese and Grape Juice Festival is held in Pertek in
Atatürks arrival in Pertek is celebrated every year on November 17.