Pasinler, Erzurum

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Not to be confused with Basiani.
Coordinates: 39°58′47″N 41°40′32″E / 39.97972°N 41.67556°E / 39.97972; 41.67556Coordinates: 39°58′47″N 41°40′32″E / 39.97972°N 41.67556°E / 39.97972; 41.67556
Country Turkey
Province Erzurum Province

Pasinler or Basiani (Turkish: Pasinler; Greek: Φασιανοί Phasianoi; Latin: Phasiani; Georgian: ბასიანი, Basiani; Armenian: Բասեն, Pasen; formerly Hasankale and Hesenqele, meaning "the fortress of Hasan"), is a town in Erzurum Province, Turkey on the Aras River. It is located 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of the city of Erzurum and is the site of Hasankale Castle (sometimes called Pasinler Castle). It was the birthplace of the Ottoman poet Nef'i.[1] The old name "Hasankale" could be based upon the Aq Qoyunlu ruler Uzun Hasan or upon Hasan the governor of the region in the 1330s or after Küçük Hasan, grandson of Coban, who attacked the town in 1340.[2]


The name Pasinler is derived from ancient Colchis tribes called Phasians (Phazians). The name of this tribe seems to have survived in latter-day regional toponyms – Georgian Basiani, Greek Phasiane, Armenian Basean,[3] and Turkish Pasin.[4] Based upon pottery finds, Pasinler was part of the Kingdom of Urartu during the Iron Age.[5]

These areas were contested by the Arabs and Byzantines between the 7th and 9th century. After Arab weakening, it was liberated by the Georgian princedoms of Tao-Klarjeti. In the 10th century, the border between the Byzantine Empire and Tao-Klarjeti went along the Aras river, therefore part of northern Basiani became a domain of the Georgian Bagratids. In 1001, after the death of David Kuropalates, Hither Tao and Basiani were inherited by Byzantine Emperor Basil II, who organized them into the theme of Iberia with the capital at Theodosiopolis. However, after formation of the Georgian Kingdom, Bagrat’s son George I inherited a longstanding claim to David’s succession. While Basil was preoccupied with his Bulgarian campaigns, George gained momentum to invade Tao and Basiani in 1014, which caused unsuccessful Byzantine-Georgian wars. Despite the territorial losses to Basil II, many of the territories ceded to the empire were conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 1070s-1080s, but were then retaken by the Georgian King David IV. In the 13th century, at Battle of Basian, Georgians defeated the army of the Rum Sultanate. The province was part of the united Kingdom of Georgia as an ordinary duchy till 1545, when Basiani was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans made Hasankale the centre of a sanjak and entirely rebuild the citadel.[2] They also built several mosques such as Ulucami (1554 repaired in 1836), Sivasli (1388 rebuild in 1912) Yeni (16th century rebuild in 1810) and baths.[2] Other sights are the Coban bridge likely built in 1297 by a notable Ilkhanid Mongol named Coban and which was later restored several times.[2] There are also two Islamic tombs nearby the town, Ferrah Hatun built in 1324 and the other likely in the 13th century.[2] The nearby location of Avnik, has a ruined citadel with an old Muslim cemetery and mosque.[2] After the 11th century, Turks and Kurds settled in these areas next to the local Armenians and in time the Turks became the most numerous group.

During the 19th century, several Russo-Ottoman wars took place in this region and had as a consequence that many Armenians emigrated from this region towards Russian held territory in Transcaucasia. When World War broke out the Russians advanced to the plain of Pasinler but quickly retreated together with many of the local Armenian population, some 4,000 remained and were deported. Between 1915 and 1917 it was occupied by Russia and then held by the Armenians, who committed anti-Muslim atrocities in the region. During World War I some Armenians apparently broke the headstones of some old Islamic graves in Avnik.[2] The Turkish army regained control of the town on 13 March 1918.


  1. ^ Miller, Louis (1988) "Nef'i (Ömer)" Ottoman Turkish Writers: a bibliographical dictionary of significant figures in pre-Republican Turkish literature P. Lang, New York, page 108, ISBN 0-8204-0633-3
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sinclair, T.A. (1989). Eastern Turkey: An Architectural & Archaeological Survey, Volume I. Pindar Press. pp. 228–231–232–233. ISBN 9780907132325. 
  3. ^ "When thc historic sources mention Basean, they do not always mean Pasinler or the Pasinler region. Despite its prominent position, the early historical identity of Pasinler [historic Hasan Kale], highlights the problems dealing with ancient toponyms. Various scholars have tentatively Identified modern Pasinler as Faunitis, Ügümü, Gymnias, Vagharšakert (Armenian: Վաղարշակերտ), and Boghberd (Armenian: Բողբերդ). The arguments for its ancient identity are greatly influenced by the surviving castle on the southern spur of the Hasanbaba Mountain overlooking the modern town of Pasinler. This castle, Hasankale, takcs its current name from one of the Hasans, Ottoman governors of the region in the 14th century, though it is uncertain who is meant." Sagona, Antonio G. and Sagona, Claudia (2004) An historical geography and a field survey of the Bayburt province (in the series: Archaeology at the north-east Anatolian frontier) Peeters Press, Louvain, Belgium, page 57, ISBN 90-429-1390-8
  4. ^ Sadona, A. G. (2004), Archaeology at the North-East Anatolian Frontier, p. 58. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 978-90-429-1390-5.
  5. ^ Sagona, Antonio G. and Sagona, Claudia (2004) An historical geography and a field survey of the Bayburt province (in the series: Archaeology at the north-east Anatolian frontier) Peeters Press, Louvain, Belgium, page 58, ISBN 90-429-1390-8

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