From early antiquity, the Armenian people developed a rich and distinctive culture on the great highland 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 highland.
Located along the Taurus Mountains between the Armenian Plateau and northern Mesopotamia, Tigranakert and Edessa hold special significance in Armenian history. It was in the vicinity of Tigranakert that Tigran the Great built an opulent new capital city in the heart of his expansive empire in the first century B.C. And it was by way of Edessa that early Christianity made its way to Armenia through the Apostles of Christ. For centuries the regions of Tigranakert and Edessa were on the front lines in the unceasing contest for dominance between the empires of the southeast (Parthian, Sasanian, Arab, Turkmen, Mongol, and Safavid) and the northwest (Roman, Byzantine, Crusader Europe, Ottoman). But these zones of military contact were also areas of active economic and cultural exchange as demonstrated in their caravan routes and marketplaces, their art and architecture, their literature and popular traditions.
Armenian Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa is the sixth in the conference proceedings to be published. The contributors offer a multi-disciplinary approach to the Armenian presence in these regions from antiquity to the calamitous twentieth century. Other regions featured in this conference series include Van/Vaspurakan; Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush; Karin/Erzerum; Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia; Cilicia; Constantinople; Kars and Ani; the Black Sea Coast and Pontus; Smyrna/Izmir; Caesarea; New Julfa; Iran; and Jerusalem.