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 ecoomic legacy of a people rooted for millennia on the Armenian Plateau.
Located in the southwestern sector of the plateau, Tsopk or Sophene (later Kharpert or Harput) had close ties with Mesopotamia and Syria, stood for centuries as a buffer zone beween rival empires, and served as a conduit for cultural-political currents flowing in and out of Armenia. It both shares a history with and has a history distinct from that of Greater Armenia lying to the east. Below the great citadel of Kharpert is a fertile plain, traversed by tributaries and branches of the Aratsani or Eurphrates River. For the Armenians, the shimmering waters and the waves of grain made this their Voski Dasht—Golden Plain.
Armenian Tsopk/Kharpert is the third of the conference proceedings to be published. Scholars from various disciplines present the story of Armenian Tsopk/Kharpert from beginning to end. Other regions or communities featured in in this series are Van/Vaspurakan; Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush; Karin/Erzerum; Sebastia/Sivas; Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa; Cilicia; Constantinople; Kars and Ani; the Black Sea Coast and the Pontus; and Smyrna/Izmir and Asia Minor.