1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mush

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MUSH, the chief town of a sanjak of the same name of the Bitlis vilayet of Asiatic Turkey, and an important military station. It is situated at the mouth of a gorge in the mountains on the south side of the plain, the surrounding hills being covered with vineyards and some oak scrub. There are few good houses; the streets are ill-paved and winding, while the place and its surroundings are extremely dirty. The castle, of which there are some remains, is said to have been built by Mushig, an Armenian king of the province Daron, who founded the town. A khan, with two stone lions (Arab or Seljuk) in bas-relief, deserves notice, but the bazaar is poor, although pretty embroidered caps are produced. Good roads lead to Erzerum and Bitlis. There are 1400 inhabitants, consisting of Kurds and Armenians, about equally divided. The climate is healthy but cold in winter, with a heavy snow fall. Mush is the seat of the Gregorian and Roman Catholic Armenian bishops and some American mission schools. Some miles to the west at the edge of the plain is the celebrated monastery of Surp Garabed or St John the Baptist, an important place of Armenian pilgrimage.

Mush plain, 35 m. long by 12 broad, is very fertile, growing wheat and tobacco, and is dotted with many thriving Armenian villages. The Murad or eastern Euphrates traverses the western end of the plain and disappears into a narrow mountain gorge there. Vineyards are numerous and a fair wine is produced. Wood is scarce and the usual fuel is tezek or dried cow-dung. There are several sulphur springs, and earthquakes are frequent and sometimes severe. It was on the plain of Mush that Xenophon first made acquaintance with Armenian houses, which have little changed since his day.