Harpoot (also called Harput, Karpoot, or Kharpert; Armenian: Խարբերդ) is an ancient town in Turkey, in the Ottoman Empire, falling under Mamuret-ul-Aziz Vilayet by the end of the empire; its site is now in Elazığ Province. Artifacts belonging to around 2,000 BC were found in the area. The town is famous for its Harput Castle, and incorporates a museum, old mosques, a church, and the Buzluk (Ice) Cave.
The name Kharput is of Armenian origin, it comes from the Armenian Kharberd or Karberd which contains the word "berd" meaning castle.
Harput was an ancient Urartu fortress town which Armenians established as their capital city in the 10th century, until taken by the Ottomans in 1515. However, this claim seems highly unlikely since the castle was occupied by Çubukoğulları in 1085, by Artukoğulları in 1112, and by Seljuks of Rum in 1234.
Rev. Dr. Herman N. Barnum account of Harpoot in the 1800s,
The city of Harpoot has a population of perhaps 20,000, and it is located a few miles east of the river Euphrates, near latitude thirty-nine, and east from Greenwich about thirty-nine degrees. It is on a mountain facing south, with a populous plain 1,200 feet below it. The Taurus Mountains lie beyond the plain, twelve miles [19 km] away. The Anti-Taurus range lies some forty miles [64 km] to the north in full view from the ridge just back of the city. The surrounding population are mostly farmers, and they all live in villages. No city in Turkey is the center of so many Armenian villages, and the most of them are large. Nearly thirty can be counted from different parts of the city. This makes Harpoot a most favorable missionary center. Fifteen out-stations lie within ten miles [16 km] of the city. The Arabkir field, on the west, was joined to Harpoot in 1865, and the following year…the larger part of the Diarbekir field on the south; so that now the limits of the Harpoot station embrace a district nearly one third as large as new England.
The United States consulate started from January 1, 1901 with Dr. Thomas H. Norton as the consul; he had no previous experience in international relations, as the U.S. was just recently establishing its diplomatic network. The consulate was established to assist missionaries. The Ottoman Ministry of Internal Security gave him a teskireh travel permit, but the Ottoman Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially refused to recognize the consulate.
Two eyewitnesses wrote about reports of genocide in Harpoot. One of them being Dr. Henry H. Riggs, the congregational minister and ABCFM missionary who had been the head of Euphrates College, a local college founded and directed by American missionaries for mostly the Armenian community in the region. His report was documented and sent over to the United States, and then published under Days of Tragedy in Armenia, 1997. The second eyewitness was Leslie A. Davis, an American consul at Harpoot from 1914 to 1917.