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A view from Erciş city center
A view from Erciş city center
Erciş is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 39°01′52″N 43°21′35″E / 39.03111°N 43.35972°E / 39.03111; 43.35972Coordinates: 39°01′52″N 43°21′35″E / 39.03111°N 43.35972°E / 39.03111; 43.35972
 • Elected MayorYildiz Çetin (HDP)
 • District GovernorNuri Mehmetbeyoğlu
 • District1,876.38 km2 (724.47 sq mi)
 • Urban
 • District
 • District density88/km2 (230/sq mi)
Post code

Erciş (pronounced [eɾˈdʒiʃ]; Kurdish: Erdiş‎,[3] Armenian: Ականց, Agants; historically Արճեշ, Arjesh) is a town and district located in the Van Province, Turkey on Lake Van.


In the 2019 local elections of March 2019 Yildiz Çetin from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was elected mayor.[4] In October 2019 he was dismissed and accused of terror related charges.[5] District Governor Nuri Mehmetbeyoğlu was appointed as a trustee for the Erçis municipality.[6]


The majority of the city's population is Kurdish. The total population of the district is 145,229 and spread among the capital city and villages. The rural population is 66,832, while the urban population is 78,397. Population density is 47/km². The population of the city of Erciş is 77,065 inhabitants.


The district has total of 2,115 km² area and is surrounded by Muradiye on the east, Bitlis on the west, Ağrı on the north and the Lake Van on the south. There are 143 settlement areas, including 3 municipalities, 14 districts, 2 subdistricts, 85 villages and 39 other entities.

It is one of the most developed cities in eastern Turkey and it is the place where the folk songs are still alive. Many kinds of fruits and vegetables are raised. Planting of poplar trees is widely seen in the city and surroundings.

History of Artchesh[edit]

In Classical Antiquity, it was known as Arsissa, and as Arjish in Arabic and Western Armenian during the Middle Ages.[7] The Byzantines knew it as Arzes (Ἂρζες or Ἀρζές) and the 10th-century emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos records in his De administrando imperio (Chapter XLIV) that it was under the rule of the Kaysite emirate of Manzikert. This small district several times was the capital city of some ruling states. It was a main center of the province of Turuberan as part of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia. The city changed hands on several occasions between the Arabs and the Byzantines, in the early Middle Ages. From the mid 1020s onwards Erçis was governed by the Byzantines until in 1054, it was captured and sacked by the Seljuk Turks commanded by Tuğrul[8] after an eight-day siege. It was fortified in the early 14th century by the Ilkhanid vizier Ali Shah. Erciş was part of the Karakoyunlu state and later became a part of the Ottoman Empire.

From 18th century, because of the increase of level of Lake Van the old town (called Artchesh) slowly disappeared. And in the second half of the 19th century the buildings, churches and dwelling houses were not seen. After old Erciş was covered by water, the city was moved to north to a much higher place called Alada in 1841. There the new town was built called Akants (Նոր Արճեշ (Armenian pronunciation: [ɑɾtʃɛʃ], New Artchesh in Armenian and Erciş (Turkish pronunciation: [eɾdʒiʃ]) in Turkish).[9] In 1890 64% of the population of the district was Armenian. After the Armenian Genocide in 1915, the Russian forces captured the city as part of the Caucasus Campaign. They were replaced by Russian Armenian troops after December 1917. These were eventually driven out by the Ottomans on April 1, 1918.

In July 1930 in Erçis occurred the Zilan Massacre in which the Turkish army massacred thousands of Kurds.[10]

The city suffered a major earthquake on 23 October 2011.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ Adem Avcıkıran (2009). Kürtçe Anamnez Anamneza bi Kurmancî (PDF) (in Turkish and Kurdish). p. 57. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  4. ^ Şafak, Yeni (2020-03-03). "Van Erciş Seçim Sonuçları – Erciş Yerel Seçim Sonuçları". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  5. ^ "Trustees Appointed to 4 HDP Municipalities". Bianet.
  6. ^ "Trustees appointed to four HDP municipalities in Turkey's southeast - Turkey News". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  7. ^ Baldwin, M.W., ed. (1969), A History of the Crusades, Volume I: The first hundred years, University of Wisconsin Press, p. 630
  8. ^ Sinclair, T. A. (1987). Eastern Turkey: An Architectural & Archaeological Survey, Volume I. Pindar Press. p. 328. ISBN 0907132324.
  9. ^ Tadevos Hakobyan, ՊԱՏՄԱԿԱՆ ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԻ ՔԱՂԱՔՆԵՐԸ - ԱՐՃԵՇ (The cities of Historical Armenia - Artchesh), Yerevan, 1987
  10. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Freedom of the Press 2010 - Turkey". Refworld. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  11. ^ Güney, D. "Van earthquakes (23 October 2011 and 9 November 2011) and performance of masonry and adobe structures" (PDF). Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. Retrieved 1 March 2020.

External links[edit]