From early antiquity, the Armenian people developed a rich and distinctive culture on the great highland plateau extending from eastern Asia Minor to the Caucasus. On that crossroad, they interacted on many levels with civilizations of the Orient and Occident. The continuity of Armenian life in most of this historic homeland was brought to an abrupt end as the result of war and genocide in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The UCLA conference series, “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces,” is organized by the Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History with the purpose of exploring and illuminating the historical, political, cultural, religious, social, and economic legacy of a people rooted for millennia on the Armenian Plateau.
The fortress city of Karin or Theodosiopolis, later called Erzerum, lay at the strategic center of the region known as Bardzr Hayk (Upper Armenia) and of the broader area of Greater Armenia itself. It has been the site of countless battles down through the centuries, as control of this highland is key to dominion over the entire Armenian Plateau. From the four gates of the once-walled city, roads radiated in all directions, taking merchants, travelers, and soldiers to and from Iran, the Caucasus, the Black Sea ports, and the interior neighboring cities and provinces. The plain of Karin/Erzerum, spreading to the north of the city, was dotted by numerous Armenian villages and several renowned monasteries lying near the headwaters of the Euphrates River. This to the Armenians was the “Bosom of the World.”
Armenian Karin/Erzerum is the fourth of the conference proceedings to be published. Scholars from various disciplines present the story of Armenian Karin from beginning to end. Other regions featured in this series are Van/Vaspurakan; Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush; Tsopk/Kharpert; Sebastia/Sivas; Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa; Cilicia; Constantinople; Kars and Ani; the Black Sea Coast and Pontus; Smyrna/Izmir; and Caesarea/Kesaria.