The ruins of the Armenian Church of Saint John the Baptist and the remains of the Armenian town of Kharberd. 

Kharpert was known as Harput to foreigners and today has been renamed Elazığ by the Turkish authorities as part of the Turkification process. Kharpert means "rocky fortress" in Armenian. The region was settled by proto-Armenian tribes at around 2,000-1,800 BC. In 900-800 BC the Kings of Armenia built the fortress of Kharpert.

In 1185 AD the city was conquered by the Turks. In 1236 the city was conquered by the Mongols. In the following centuries the city would be captured by the Turko-Mongol warlord Tamerlane, and the Turkic Ak Koyunlu and Kara Koyunlu tribal confederations. In 1507 the Persians plundered and destroyed the city.

In 1515 the Turks conquered the city. The Turks greatly persecuted the local population and many were forced to convert to Islam, as a result much of the population fled to the major cities in western Turkey. In 1617 the Turks destroyed the city and slaughtered its remaining population. In the 18th century the city witnessed a revival as Armenians from the countryside resettled in there.

By 1800 there were 8,000 people living in Kharpert. In 1852 the Euphrates College (Եփրատ Քոլեջ) was opened in the city. The College offered classes in: the Armenian language, classical and modern Armenian grammar, Armenian history, theology, anthropometry, philosophy, and cosmology. In 1865 the Smbatyan School was opened in Kharpert. In 1880 the first play entitled "Քաջն Վարդան" (Armenian for "Vardan the Brave") was performed. In 1889 the Armenians opened the city's printing press. During the 1894-1896 Hamidian Massacres, 2,000 Armenians were massacred in Kharpert. In addition to that 8 of 12 buildings of the Euphrates College were burnt down to the ground. In 1909 the Armenians began printing the "Եփրատ" (meaning "Euphrates") newspaper in the city.

In 1914 24,000 (40%) of the 60,000 Armenians in the US were from the Kharpert Province. In 1914 the city was home to 20,000 people: 10,000 Armenians and 10,000 Muslims (Turks, Kurds, etc.). 5,000 of the 10,000 Armenians were outright massacred, the other 5,000 were exiled to the Syrian Desert. The expulsion began in July of 1915, 2 caravans each composed of roughly 2,500 Armenians were forced to march out of the city. The Armenians of Kharpert were forced to march to Dikranagerd (Diyarbakır) 158 km (98 miles) away, from Dikranagerd (Diyarbakır) to Ras al-Ayn another 158 km (98 miles) away, from Ras al-Ayn to Deir ez-Zor another 201 km (125 miles) away. Most were killed along the way, while most of the few survivors were killed at Deir ez-Zor. Only 200 managed to live past the massacres at Deir ez-Zor, those survivors spread out across the world.

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