The region which was named as Çemişgezek in the 16th Century, Dersim in the 19th Century, and Tunceli in the 20th Century under the rule of Ottoman Empire has been a virgin land about which not many people have had much information for centuries. During the Ottoman period, an effective state organisation could not be established in the region; accordingly the region has been independent for centuries without being under the rule of any state. Mountainous structure of the region and the lack of central authority made Dersim an unsafe region for the outlanders. For this reason, the region was almost never visited by Western travellers. Due to the weak state organization in the region and lack of travellers who visit the region, gathering information about the terriotory had been difficult. That is why the work of Armenian Traveller Antranik who visited Dersim in the 19th Century fills the abovementioned gap as it presents fundamental information about the region. This study aims to reveal socio-cultural and religious affiliations of Armenians and Kizilbashes in Dersim within the context of Antranik’s travel book. In addition, the debate of these days that is if Dersimi Kizilbashes are originally Armenian is discussed in the light of the information given by the traveller.
Armenian, Kizilbashes, Antranik, Dersim, Ottoman