Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Bitlis

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BITLIS, town of Asia Minor and capital of the former Turkish vilayet bearing the same name, situated on the Bitlis Chai, a tributary of the Tigris. The beginnings of the town date back to the time of Alexander the Great, to whom is attributed the building of a castle now in ruins that dominates the town. It is situated about 5,000 feet above the level of the sea, and is a place of considerable strategic importance. The inhabitants are composed of Turks and Armenians, the latter having most of the trade of the district of which the town is the commercial center. The principal articles of trade are fruits, manna, gum, spices, arms, wool, and tobacco. In the course of the World War it was occupied by the Russian armies on March 2, 1916. It has been the scene of terrible massacres of the Armenian inhabitants, a large number of whom have been exterminated or deported. It is included within the territory of the new Republic of Armenia created by the decision of the Peace Conference. Before the war it had a population of about 36,000.