Kill Ozkan!

The inhabitants of Hamshen during the reign of Hamshen in 1480, after falling under the rule of the Ottoman state, emigrated and dispersed to various locations. Migrations were recorded both to regions bordering and neighboring Hamshen, as well as to distant settlements.

There are many issues related to these migrations recorded in Hamshen’s history that need to be studied and explained. Most probably, there are still such settlements to which the Hamshen people migrated, but we don’t yet have enough evidence. There are places that have more or less been written about, but Hamshen society doesn’t have enough information about them.

Among Constantinople’s Armenians, there are also Christian Hamshensi (before that, I published 2 articles about them in this column). In the next issue of “Gor” magazine, we’ll be presenting archival documents on the geography of Hamshen.

While researching the number of settlements, I stumbled across a book which, although not directly related to the subject of Hamshens, touched on the regions where Hamshens lived.

The book was published by the “Aras” publishing house in April 2023, and is Hakob Gobelyan’s novel entitled “Bozhoj in superheated steam”. Hakob Gobelyan’s family is from Partizak. Until 1915, Partizak, located in Izmit and now known as Bahcejik, was an important Armenian colony. 

Gobelyan wrote his novel based on the life of his family. He created the image of a bozhoj, inspired by the Partizaktsi’s main source of livelihood, animal husbandry. In the novel’s preface, Gobelyan introduces readers to Partizak and its surroundings. Some of the settlements he presents are the regions of the Hamshen people. 

For example: “To the southwest of Gavarak, on the peak called Dyosheme by the villagers, there was the village of Zakar, which was founded by Armenians who emigrated from Hamshen, whom the Turks called Sakarbychk (now called Nyuzhetiye), the village consisted of 65 houses. The inhabitants of this village were called “Laz-Hay” because they came from the Sandjak of Lazistan. Gobelyan confirms the source of the expression “Laz-Armenian”, being a partisan whose family was from Hamshen in the past.

Another Hamshen village was introduced as follows.

“When you walked for half an hour east of Partizak, you reached the village of Dyongel consisting of 5 houses, which was a Laz-Armenian settlement.”

The current name of Döngel is Karşıkaya, which is a fairly developed place inhabited by immigrants. Is it possible to trace the former inhabitants of this village? To what extent are they informed about their history?

In the commentary section of the book, there is also a reference to a Hamshen village called “Döngeli Surpı” just outside Döngeli, which consisted of 28 houses. The fact that the village’s name is “Dyongel Surpı” and that it derives this name from the St. Sargis chapel in the area, suggests that perhaps the Hamshen people of the given settlement were Christian. Of course, this name may have been given to the village by the Armenians. While introducing the area, the author also speaks of another Hamshen settlement.

“The village of Manuşag with 30 Laz-Armenian houses that was founded on a plain five hours’ drive to the southwest.”

Previously, I had read in other sources that Manushak Yaila was a Hamshen settlement. Unfortunately, however, I have not yet had any contact with the people who lived in this village. I hope from now on this article will help to establish contact with the almost unknown part of the Hamshen Armenian people