I. A province or vilayet of Asiatic Turkey, comprising the greater part of Turkish Armenia, and bounded N. by Tre-bizond, E. by the Russian dominions and Persia, S. by Kurdistan, and W. by Sivas; pop. estimated at from 400,000 to 600,000. It consists mainly of lofty table land, the elevation of which is estimated at G,000 ft., traversed E. and W. by several ranges of mountains, between which lie rich and extensive valleys. Cultivation is here well attended to, and the soil produces a profusion of excellent fruits, • rye, barley, and flax, and furnishes pasturage for large herds. The climate in winter and spring is severe, and in summer the heat is excessive. The rivers Euphrates, Aras, Kur, and Tchoruk have their sources here. The mountains are inhabited mainly by Kurds, who acknowledge but a nominal allegiance to the sultan. II. The capital of the province, and the principal city of Turkish Armenia, situated on the Kara-su or W. branch of the Euphrates, in a beautiful plain about 6,000 ft. above the level of the sea, 30 m. long and 20 m. broad, 110 m. S. E. of Trebizond, its nearest seaport.
The population in 1829 was estimated at 130,-000; but the large emigration of Armenians that year reduced it to about 45,000. A triple wall of stone which nearly surrounds the old part of the town, and a large massive citadel, encompassed by a double wall, and having four stout gates covered with plates of iron, are its principal defences. The citadel, however, is commanded by a hill in the neighborhood. The streets are narrow and filthy; the houses are mostly of wood, mud, or bricks dried in the sun; and the whole city is infested with savage-looking dogs. The principal buildings are the Greek and Armenian churches, and the custom house, besides which there are about 40 mosques and numerous caravansaries. Outside of the city are four suburbs. The caravans travelling from Teheran to Mecca usually halt here, and an active trade is carried on with all the adjacent countries. Shawls, silk, cotton, rice, indigo, tobacco, and madder are imported from the east, and broadcloth, chintz, cutlery, etc, from the west by the Black sea.
The exports are furs, gall, and live stock. - Erzerum was built by a general of the emperor Theodosius II. about A. D. 415, and named Theodosiopolis. A little E. of it was the Armenian town of Arzen or Ardzen, the inhabitants of which, on the destruction of their place by the Seljuks in 1049, removed to Theodosiopolis. The name Erzerum is therefore supposed to be a corruption of Ardzen Rum, the Turks frequently applying the word Rum (or Rome) to any territory anciently recognized as a part of the Roman or Byzantine empire. Erzerum was twice destroyed by fire and pillage, and in 1829 was taken by the Russians under Paske-vitch. Its position, which commands the road from Persia to Constantinople, renders it still an important military post, as it was in the time of its Byzantine masters, and also a point of great commercial interest. It is the seat of the Turkish governor general, of English and other foreign consuls, and of a United Armenian bishop; and it is the focus of the transit trade between Europe and Trebizond and central Asia and Persia. Several American missionaries reside here.