The city of Muş is built on the north slopes of Kurtik Mountain – an important peak of the Haçreş Mountains, which are an extension of the Southeast Taurus Mountains – and between the valleys where the Çat and Karni Streams flow. With a long history and many civilizations, Muş is home to dozens of historical sites and a cultural heritage that is worth seeing.
Muş Castle (Muş Kalesi) is in the city centre of Muş. Although the castle is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the city, its date of construction is not known. What is known is that the castle witnessed many battles following the Mongol invasion in the mid-seventh century, during the time of Caliph Osman (Uthman). Destroyed cemeteries can be observed on the west side of the castle. This area has been made into a park by the Muş Municipality and is one of the most popular recreation areas for Muş residents.
Muş Grand Mosque
The mosque was constructed on a slope at the foot of the Muş Castle in 1571, according to the inscription on the entrance door. The original minaret of the transversely rectangular mosque has not survived. However, the new minaret, being loyal to the original, was built by the General Directorate of Foundations in 1968.
The establishment of Malazgirt dates to ancient times. Allegedly Menuas, an Urartian king, established a city here. Malazgirt is an important and historical district as it is was the entrance gate into Anatolia for the Turks following the Battle of Malazgirt in 1071.
The majestic Malazgirt Castle (Malazgirt Kalesi), in Malazgirt, has two parallel ramparts surrounding the town. The castle saw numerous battles, both in the early period of Islam and during the Byzantine period. Even though the walls of the castle were deteriorated over time, much of it has been repaired and it continues to stand today.
Varto is a district in northwest Muş. Dating to antiquity and carrying a part of history in every residential area, the known history of Varto begins with one of the great civilizations of Anatolia, the Urartian period. In the district, important historical remains from the Urartian periods include Kayalıdere Castle, Temple, Hırsız Castle, rock cemeteries and inscriptions in Boylu Village, tombstones in Oğlakçı Village, and the Kaynarca Bridge.
Varto Kayalıdere Archaeological Site (Old Town)
The archaeological site is in Kayalıkaya Village, 20 km from Varto. The region was an Urartu settlement; the castle dates from the reign of Sarduri II, King of Urartu (764-735 BCE) and is quite solid and in good condition. This ancient site was discovered during excavations in 1965. A castle, temple, wine cellar, tombs and small items were unearthed during the excavations. Bronze lion statues, buttons, arrowheads, bronze needles and arch fragments with lion-hunting depictions were also found in the castle courtyard. These historical assets are now exhibited in the Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
Historical Murat Bridge
Built in the Seljuk period, the exact construction date of the Historical Murat Bridge (Tarihi Murat Köprüsü) is not known. The bridge is 143 meters long, 4.77 meters wide, and 16-18 meters in height. The bridge is actively used today.
Alaaddin Bey Mosque
The Alaaddin Bey Mosque (Alaaddin Bey Cami) was built in the early 18th century by Alaeddin Bey, the city's governor at that time. The main layout of the mosque is square and it has nine naves. The altar (mihrab) in the middle nave features a rectangular wall column and plant patterns. There are oil lamp relief patterns on the sides of the crown door. The minaret of the mosque is cylindrical with a square base; it is made of two-colour cut stone.
Alaaddin Bey Turkish Bath
Located in the Muş city centre, the bath is still in use today, is one of the late Ottoman works. Plant patterns were used in the interior decoration of the structure, which is similar to the Alaaddin Bey Mosque in terms of building materials and architectural features. An interesting feature of the bath is a tortoise relief at the entrance of the large lodge.
Yağcılar (Evran) Tumulus
Located in Yağcılar Town, the mound is not fully visible due to both the dense settlement built on it and the surrounding buildings. Before Yağcılar Tumulus (Yağcılar Höyüğü) located 24 km north-west of Muş, on the Muş-Elazığ road, was within the borders of Yağcılar Town. The dense ceramic fragments found above and around the mound suggest that the region was a settlement during the Urartu period.
Hasbet Castle (Hasbet Kalesi) is located on a slope in the eastern extension of the Kızıl Ziyaret Mountain in the south of Muş. The ramparts and two towers of the castle remain sound. The exact construction date of the castle is not known.
Muşet Castle (Muşet Kalesi) is on the Kızıl Ziyaret Mountain south of the city. It is believed that the castle belongs to the Urartu period. It is estimated that the castle, is believed to have been used as a fortress during the Middle Ages
Katerin Castle (Katerin Kale), also known as Zincirli Castle (Zincirli Kale), is located on Katerin Mountain in the Malazgirt district. The castle is a Byzantine piece of art. Legend has it that Malazgirt Castle and Katerin Castle were once connected to each other via a bridge made of thick chains.
The Tıkızlı Castle (Tıkızlı Kale) is in Tikizli Village in the Malazgirt district. The castle was built by the Urartians – apparently there was no mortar used in constructing the hilltop castle, which was built with large stones.
Bostankale is 10 km from Malazgirt. Surface surveys determined that the castle belonged to the Urartians. The castle is a rock-cut structure.
The Arak Monastery (Arak Manastırı) was built on the eastern side of a peak of the Karaçavuş Mountains. Arak (Kepenek) Village, having given its name to the monastery, is located at the foot of the peak. The word arak means wine in Persian, which suggests that grapes were stored in the village and the production of grape juice took place.
Built on a wide plain, the monastery features a large Bell Tower, about 200-250 meters from the structure. The monastery’s Roman style workmanship and building materials are a standout. Rumor has it that, in the region, which witnessed the Roman-Sassanid struggle and remained under Sassanid rule for 400 years (CE 226-624), Sassanids hired Roman architects and craftsmen to build this monastery as a gesture of goodwill and strength and granted it to the Romans as a present.
Çengilli (Beyaz) Church
The Çengilli (Çanlı Surp Garabet) Church (Çengelli Kilisesi), located within the borders of Çengilli Village in the city centre of Muş, was used as a fire temple in antiquity. The church was turned into a sanctuary for Christians in CE 399 by the Sassanids, who reigned after the Roman period. The church in the village centre takes its name Beyaz (which means white) from the material used in its construction.
The mosque, located in Esenlik Village in the Bulanık district, is a Seljuk work. It was built by Sheikh Abdülmelik in 1194 from ignimbrite regionally called as Ahlat stone. The mosque has a single dome, four windows, and two doors. There are also four small windows on its dome.