|• Mayor||Mustafa Haznedar (AKP)|
|• Kaymakam||Fatih Kaya|
|• District||1,093.61 km2 (422.25 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,130 m (3,710 ft)|
|• District density||4.6/km2 (12/sq mi)|
The town is known for its historic architecture, including many Ottoman-era houses. It is also notable for its commanding view of the river Karasu (Euphrates) flowing south through a gorge above the Keban dam.
Eğin may have been founded by Paulician Armenian Christians in the 9th century. Alternatively, the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica reports that Eğin was settled by Armenians who emigrated from Van in the 11th century with Senekherim (presumably Senekerim I of the Artsruni dynasty).
Eğin became known as a center of Armenian musicians, and later, literary poets.
Armenian historian Vahakn Dadrian reports that in 1896, the town was evenly divided between Armenians and Muslims (Turks and Kurds). He says that Eğin was notable for its prosperity and had previously escaped the 1895–1896 Hamidian massacres through a ransom payment by the Armenians of 1500 Turkish gold pounds. However, British archaeologist David George Hogarth writing for the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica noted a massacre of Armenians in Eğin on November 8, 1895.
Although Dadrian reports that Eğin escaped during the Hamidian massacres, he says it was less fortunate when the Ottoman government retaliated for the 1896 Ottoman Bank Takeover by Armenian Dashnaks (itself a response to the Hamidian massacres). On September 15, 1896, three weeks after the Ottoman Bank Takeover, Ottoman troops killed "upwards of 2,000 Armenians" including "many women and children" according to a report by the French Ambassador. Of the 1,500 houses located in the Armenian quarter of Eğin, 980 were pillaged and burned. Eğin was chosen to be the target of the massacre because the leader of the bank raiding party, Papken Siuni, was a native of Eğin. According to a report by the British Consul at Harput, the pretext used to attack the town's Armenian quarter was that the Armenians of the town were "set to cause trouble". The same report by the Consul said that there were no revolutionary movement whatever and no powder magazine exploded during the massacre. A few pistols and revolvers were found in the ruins of the burnt houses. Hogarth's report for the Encyclopædia Britannica 15 years later also notes a massacre of Armenians at Eğin "in the summer of 1896".
By 1911, Hogarth estimated the population of Eğin at 20,000 and assessed them as "fairly evenly divided between Armenian Christians and Moslems". He described Eğin as an important town in the Mamuretülaziz Vilayet "...picturesquely situated in a theatre of lofty, abrupt rocks, on the right bank of the western Euphrates, which is crossed by a wooden bridge. The stone houses stand in terraced gardens and orchards, and the streets are mere rock ladders."
On 21 October 1922, following the Turkish War of Independence, a decree was issued renaming Eğin as Kemaliye (and Selinti as Gazipaşa) in honor of Mustafa Kemal Pasha. The former name is still known and used locally and sometimes even beyond. Kemaliye was administered as part of Elazığ Province until 1926, and within Malatya Province between 1926 and 1938. In 1938 it was transferred to Erzincan Province.
Geography and Economy
The immediate region is defined by the steep contours of the Euphrates (Karasu) gorge. Agricultural land is scarce and industrial development has been modest. The most notable industries have been forestry products and, increasingly in recent years, tourism. The original features of many of the old houses in Kemaliye have been restored, and the town has begun to attract an increasing number of visitors. The section of the Euphrates flowing past Kemaliye has become a popular rafting route. Kemaliye retains a strong handicrafts-production industry, particularly in ironmongery. The town is also famous for its honey.
Kemaliye has traditionally been a source of emigrants, especially to Istanbul, creating ties to Turkey's former capital where certain crafts and trades, such as the meat industry, were reserved, sometimes by means of imperial decrees, for natives of Erzincan Province for centuries. The trend of emigration continues today, although thanks to improving general awareness of the town's natural and architectural attractions, assisted by the presence of sizable and active communities of natives abroad, there is an increasing movement of visitors towards Kemaliye as well.
- Mehmet Can Akyıldız (born 1989), Turkish journalist
- Hasan Basri Aktan (born 1952), politician; transport minister for Turkey (1999)
- Ahmet Cömert (1926-1990), Turkish boxer, coach, refree, boxing judge and sports official
- Enver Gökçe (born 1920), Turkish poet
- Krikor Torosyan (1884-1915), Armenian satirical writer
- Misak Metsarents (1886–1908), Armenian poet, born in the upstream village of Pingian, (now Adatepe, in Divriği district of Sivas province)
- Sait Munzur (born 1959), Turkish cartoonist
- Doğu Perinçek (born 1942), Turkish politician
- Siamanto (1878–1915), Armenian poet
- Papken Siuni (1873–1896), Armenian revolutionary
- Ahmet Kutsi Tecer (1901–1967), Turkish writer, poet and national figure (born in Jerusalem to a father from the village of Apçağa near Eğin)
- "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- Hogarth, David George (1911). "Egin". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Playfair, James (1813), A System of Geography, Ancient and Modern 5, p. 136, retrieved 2 June 2011
- Dadrian, Vahakn N. (2003). The History of the Armenian Genocide. Berghahn Books. p. 146. ISBN 1-57181-666-6.
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