Sivas, Or Siwas
SIVAS, or SiWAS, a pashalic and capital of a pashalic of great importance in Asia Minor. The town is situated on the right bank of the Kizil Irmak (Halys), in a plain of some 16 to 20 miles in length and 4 to 6 in breadth. From the south the approach is by a good road among the mountains, and the aspect from the heights is pleasing. Dotted here and there with trees, some in large extended clusters, the houses and citadel cover a considerable space and appear much scattered. On the north a military road has been constructed to facilitate communication with the coast. Sivas is 4670 feet above the level of the Black Sea, and should be a healthy residence for Europeans. The population, estimated on the spot in 1S64 at 10,000 houses, more than a fifth being Armenians, is stated in Murray's Handbook of 1878 to consist of 5000 Turkish and 1200 Armenian families. There are some respectable residences but not many buildings or monuments of note ; and the streets are narrow and ill-maintained. The bazaars are fairly stocked with goods, British as well as of other European nations.
Sivas is the ancient Scbasteia (not to be confounded with Sebaste or Cabira on the Lyons, the modem Niksar), the capital of Armenia II., and the seat of an archbishop. In 1021 it was ceded by the emperor Basil to the Armenian king, Senekharim. It again became Greek in 1080, but soon after fell to the Seljtiks. In the 13th century Marco Polo speaks of Sevaste as the place "where the glorious Messer Saint Blaise suffered martyrdom." It was, when he wrote, in the possession of the Turkinans of Kara-mania, living under the government of the Seljuk princes. In the 14th century we have the testimony of Ibn Batuta, who says (ii. 289) : - " It is one of the possessions of the king of Irak, and the largest town owned by him in the country. His chiefs and his collectors reside there. It is well-built, and has wide streets and crowded markets." Colonel Goldsmid visited Sivas in July 1864, and was shown some fine monuments described as the mausolea of the Seljiiks, the inscriptions on which he found to date no earlier than 670 of the Hijra, though the actual tombs might be traceable to a former period.