Summary Information About Tunceli

Tunceli Province, formerly Dersim Province, is located in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. The least densely-populated province in Turkey, it was originally named Dersim Province (Dersim vilayeti), then demoted to a district (Dersim kazası) and incorporated into Elâzığ Province in 1926. The province is considered part of Turkish Kurdistan and has a Kurdish majority. It is moreover the only province in Turkey with an Alevi majority.


Tunceli means the land (el) of bronze (tunç) in Turkish, a partial calque of the city’s archaic name “Dersim” (or Dêsim), means silver (sim) door (der) in Kurdish. Whether the name of the town is Tunceli or Dersim has been a reason for political quarrels. The local authority decided to call it Dersim in May 2019, while the Governor said it was against the law to call it Dersim.


Tunceli is situated just to the north of the intersection point of two rivers, Munzur and Pülümür, both flowing southwards. The city is founded in the valley of Munzur which is known for its picturesque appearance. It is surrounded by high mountains called Munzur mountains. The city has a limited means of transport to other cities.



Not Known







History of Tunceli

The history of the province stretches back to antiquity. It was mentioned as Daranalis by Ptolemy, and seemingly, it was referred to as Daranis before him. One theory as to the origin of the name associates with Darius the Great. Another, more likely hypothesis, considering the region’s Armenian background, says the name Daranalis or Daranaghis comes from the historical Armenian province of Daron, of which Dersim belonged.


The area that would become Dersim province formed part of Urartu, Media, the Achaemenid Empire, and the Greater Armenian region of Sophene. Sophene was later contested by the Roman and Parthian Empires and by their respective successors, the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires. Arabs invaded in the 7th century, and Seljuq Turks in the 11th


As of the end of the 19th century, the region, called Dersim, was included in the Ottoman sancak (sub-province) of Hozat, including the city and the Mamuret-ul-Aziz Vilayet (now Elazığ), with the exception of the actual district of Pülümür, which was in the neighboring sancak of Erzincan, then a part of the Erzurum Vilayet. This status continued through the first years of the Republic of Turkey, until 1936 when the name of the province (“Dersim”) was changed to Tunceli, literally ‘the land of bronze’ in Turkish (tunç meaning ‘bronze’ and el (in this context) meaning ‘land’) after the brutal events of the Dersim rebellion. The town of Kalan was made the capital and the district of Pülümür was included in the new province.

Districts of Tunceli

  • Çemişgezek
  • Hozat
  • Mazgirt
  • Nazimiye
  • Ovacık
  • Pertek
  • Pülümür

Point of Interests in Tunceli

Tunceli is known for its old buildings such as the Çelebi Ağa Mosque, Elti Hatun Mosque, Mazgirt Castle, Pertek Castle, and the Derun-i Hisar Castle.


Tunceli’s language distribution is 69.5% Kurdish, 29.8% Turkish and 0.74% Armenian. Kurmanji Kurdish is the main dialect around Pertek, while Zaza is spoken in Hozat, Pülümür, Ovacık and Nazımiye. Both Kurmanji and Zaza is spoken in Tunceli town and Mazgirt


Let's see the cuisine of Tunceli


For more information about Tunceli



For more information, you may visit the official government website of TUNCELI


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