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.
In 1813, James Playfair's "A System of Geography" described Eğin as "[A] little town in the form of an amphitheatre, at the foot of a mountain, in a fruitful tract that reaches to the Euphrates."
The British explorer Francis Rawdon Chesney followed the course of the Euphrates for a survey expedition between 1835 and 1837, and mentions Eğin as "a town of 2700 houses on the right bank". In comparison, he counts about 3000 houses in Erzincan and 2923 families in Malatya. Chesney describes Eğin's situation in a deep valley where the "mountains rise to about 4000 feet on each side of this singular fissure, which is so narrow that it is crossed by a bridge between lofty limestone precipices seeming to overhang the town and as it were to threaten its destruction." 
It is a picturesque town, hung in a theatre of rocks so steep and high that there is very short sunlight in the day. An abundant spring, whence the name, rises at the top of the town and supports much vegetation from which the air takes a heavy, moist character. The streets are mere rock ladders. The stone houses standing in the terraced gardens, and orchards, are amongst the best in Anatolia. The bazar is good but there is little outside trade. Cotton cloth (manusa) is manufactured. There is no decent khân and private lodging must be sought. The goitre is a common disease in the district. Of the 10,000 inhabitants, half are Armenians, in whoso largest church is preserved an 11th centy MS. of the Gospels, said to be written by a king of Sasun for his daughter. There are also some good Persian tiles. The spring head and mosque near it are worth seeing. Many of the young men seek work in Constantinople, Smyrna and other towns. They have a high reputation as bankers and money-changers, and are also found as cooks, kaïkjis and hammals at Stambûl. When they have saved enough money they return build a house, and settle down. Egin was one of the places in which the Armenians who emigrated from Vasburagan, with Senekherim, in the 11th centy., settled.
Charles William Wilson (1895). Handbook for Travellers in Asia Minor, Transcaucasia, Persia, Etc. pp. 251–252.
By 1911, Hogarth 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."