Bashkala, the chief town of a sanjak of the vilayet of Van in Asiatic Turkey. It is a military station, situated at an elevation of 7500 ft. above sea-level in the valley of the Great Zab river. It stands on the east slope of lofty bare mountains, overlooking a wide valley on the farther side of which flows the Zab. On a knoll above is a ruined fortress formerly occupied by a Kurdish Bey. The population numbers some 10,000, principally Kurds, but including 1500 Armenians and 1000 Jews. The place is important as the centre of the Hakkiari sanjak, a very difficult mountain district to the south-west containing numerous tribes of Kurds and Nestorian Christians, and also the many Kurdish tribes along the Persian frontier. The houses are well built of sun-dried brick, and the streets are wide and fairly clean. Good smiths' and carpenters' work is done. The bazaar is small, although a thriving trade is done with the mountain districts. Owing to the great elevation the winter is extremely severe, and the summer of short duration. Wheat, barley, millet and sesame are cultivated on the plain, but fruit and vegetables have mostly to be imported from Persia. Roads lead to Van, Urmia in Persia and Mosul through the Nestorian country.
The Kurd and Nestorian tribes in the wilder parts of the Hakkiari Mountains are under slight government control, and are permitted to pay tribute and given self-government in a large degree.
(F. R. M.)