website of Jelle Verheij, historian


Haneputye/ Diri Han/ Pouthkouvank, Bahçesaray district, Van

“Haneputye” Monastery is situated on a altitude of over 2.150 m., in the mountains north of the district town of Bahçesaray (Müküs/ Moks), not far from the source of the Müküş Çay, one of the tributaries to the Tigris.

It has been claimed that this monastery was built in the time of the Kingdom of Vaspurakan (10th century), but Armenian churc specialist Jean-Michel Thierry, who visited the site in the late 1960s found no inscription to support this claim. Thierry classified the building however as “considerably old” (“fort ancienne”).

From preserved manuscripts it is clear, that this monastery in the 13th century was one of the most important cultural centres in the area.

The Monastery’s location is remote, and not reachable by car. Until the mid 20th century however is was right on what was at that time the main caravan route from Lake Van to Müküs and further to the South. Mir Hasan-ı Veli, one of the Kurdish beys of Müküs, in the second half of the 16th century built a kervansaray/han directly adjacent to the Monastery (1), for travellers to spend the night. The place is therefore also known as “Diri Han” (Monastery Han) or Haneputye (from “Han” and “Pouthou”, the Armenian name of the Monastery). It was also known under the names of “Sarıvan” (“Yellow Monastery”) and Horozvank (“Monastery of the Cock”)

When Thierry visited this place in the late 1960s he found the buildings fairly intact. A kurdish family lived there permanently. Nowadays it is uninhabited, but in the summer season local people camp next to it with their animals.

The back side of the Monastery was severely damaged since Thierry’s visit, probably in the 1990s.

all photos by Jelle Verheij, 2008

- Thierry, J.M., Monastères arméniens du Vaspurakan IV, in: Revue des études arméniennes ns 7 (1970) pp. 123-170

- Sinan Hakan, Müküs Kürt Mirleri tarihi ve Han Mahmud (İstanbul, 2002, Pêrî yayınları).