Sivas

HOME - The Azarians

Abraham Azarian and Lucy Arevian/Hagopian

Abraham Azarian was born in Sivas, Turkey in 1865

Lucy Arivian/Hagopian was born in the village of Pirkinik in the Vilayet of Sivas in 1875/76. See Pirkinik


Images Old and New Of Sivas


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Sivas Train Station


Railroad Station

The railroad came to Sivas in 1930.

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.


Imperial military middle school Sivas
Library of Congress, 2012 Title: [Imperial military middle school Sivas Mekteb-i Rusdiye-yi Askeri-yi] Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1893] Medium: 1 photographic print : albumen. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-80832 (b&w film copy neg.)


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Sivas Hokumet (Government) Meydani (Square), date unknown

The buildings on the right and left are no longer standing. The domed building in the center of the images is the Kale Camii (Mosque) - built in 1580. The building with the double minarets is the Cifte Minareli Medrese (See below.). The Street on the right is Inonu Boulevard.

This is the main square in Sivas from which radiate the major roads of the city. Behind the viewer and to the left outside the picture are the Statehouse building and the Sivas Ataturk Congress and Ethnography Museum, shown in the following image.


Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.

In the middle of the image is the Inonu Boulevard with the Statehouse built in 1884 at the end of it. The first two floors of the Statehouse were cut stone and the top floor (added in 1913) was wood.

Partly visible on the left is the Sivas Ataturk Congress, which was built in 1892 as a high school.


Sivas 1877, edited by Arsen Yarman 2008, Arsen Yarman arsivi

The Statehouse and Sivas Ataturk Congress buildings are to the back middle and the back left. The double minarets of the Cifte Minerali Medessi are visible in front of the Congress building. The dome of the Kale Camii is to the right of the twin minarets. Most of the rest of the buildings have been torn down.


Sivas 1877, edited by Arsen Yarman, 2008, Arsen Yarman arsivi

This image is a shift to the left of the previous image. The twin minarets of the Cifte Minerali are no more centered in the picture.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Sivas: Umumi Gorunus


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Sivas: Umumi Gorunus


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, January 2012

A VIEW OF SIVAS, SHOWING THE HILL FORMERLY CROWNED BY A CITADEL

Situated in the valley of the Kizil Irmak, Sivas has been an important city of Asia Minor from early times. Under Diocletian it was the capital of Armenian Minor, its ancient name being Sebasteia. When captured by Timur the Lame (Tamerlane), in 1400 its bravest defenders were massacred, 4,000 Armenians being buried alive.

This images was cut from National Geographical Vol 43, 1923.

Photograph by Encababian. The Encababian Freres were photographers from Sivas, who according to several online accounts were allowed to stay in Sivas after the deportations of 1915.

In May 2012 Deborah Surabian wrote:

Karekin Encababian and his brother's studio name was "Encababian Freres" in Sivas. Immediately after my mother, Knar, was born on November 22, 1922, the family left everything behind in Sivas and for safety reasons went by caravan to the city of Constantinople as it was still very dangerous for Armenians at that time due to the genocide and it was more dangerous in the outlying areas. They thought they would be safer in the city.

There my grandfather opened a second studio under the same name, "Encabaian Freres". In July 1927 the family again fled, still for safety reasons, and left everything behind in Constantinople for New York where they settled. I am very excited to see your photograph and the reference to my grandfather. I would just like to point out that the family never changed their name to a Turkish name as noted in your narrative. They kept the name Encababian which remains in the family to date. Two daughters of Karekin Encababian are still alive; my mother, Knar ( Encababian) Surabian and Claire ( Encababian) Piankian. Two other siblings have passed away. Six of his seven grandchildren are alive.

In June 2012 she added:

My grandfather and his brother were thrown in prison. However, it is true that they were eventually released and that they were spared as they were held in high regard for their skills and the Turks were persuaded that they would need professional photographers. We were told this story over and over growing up.

A view of the area that now forms part of the Govermment Square.


"Modern Hotel", Sivas

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.


Ataturk Cadessi

Elif Kebap-Lahmacun, May 2008

Tom and I had lahmacun here in May 2008.

Photo Maggie Land Blanck, May 2008


The Ziya Bey Library

All of the buildings on the right side of the image are gone.


"An Old Inn", Sivas

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.

This is a typical Caravanserai (or Khan). The animals were stabled on the bottom floor and there were rooms for people on the top floor.


Buyers in the Market Place, Sivas

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.


Market Place, Sivas

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.


National Geographic 1924, Crossing Asia Minor, The Country Of The New Turkish Republic by Major Robert Whitney Imbrie

"A Street in Sivas."


Photo Maggie Land Blanck, May 2008

The lone minaret which is situated in front of and to the right of the yellow mosque in the center of the image is the minaret on the Ulu Camii (Mosque). This could be the minaret in the center of the image "A Street in Sivas". In any event there are clear differences in the streets of Sivas between 1924 and 2008.

Ulu Camii built in 1196/97 is one of the oldest mosques in Sivas. The minaret was built in 1213.


Seljuk Sivas


Cifte Minareli Medrese (Seminary of the Twin Minarets, 1271), built under the "instructions" of the Ilkhanid vizier Sahip Semseddin Mehmet Cuveyni (Sivas, Ministry of Culture and Tourism Guide to Sivas).
National Geographic 1924, Crossing Asia Minor, The Country Of The New Turkish Republic by Major Robert Whitney Imbrie

"A Seljuk Mosque With Fallen Minarets in Sivas"

"The colleges and mosques are the most pretentious and interesting buildings in Sivas, one of the largest and most important cities in the interior of Asia Minor. Several of the mosques are now merely fragments, but their warm-tinted yellow stone and occasional brickwork, their deep doorways, with elaborately carved panels, their sky-blue tiles and tapering minarets, help to keep up the tradition al reputation and atmosphere of the East."


Cifte Minareli Medesse, May 2008

Photo Maggie Blanck, May 2008


Mosque Doorway, Sivas

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, January 2012

TOWERING MINARETS, BRICK-RED AND FRETTED OVER WITH DESIGNS IN BLUE TILING : SIVAS

Note the two figures on the platform in the minaret at the left. This is one of the Seljuk madrassahs, a relic of Islam's early glories. Many of the finest remains of Sivas date from the time of Ala-ud-din Kaikobad I, one of the most illustrious and powerful of the Seljk princes.

Photo by Encababian - See above

Image from National Geographic 1923.


Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 2012

Title: Portail de Gueuk-medresse a Sivas (1208). Dit: Tchifte-minaret / Fragments releves et recueillis par Alexandre M. Raymond, Architecte.
Title Translation: Portal of the Gok medrese at Sivas (1208). Called the Tchifte [i.e. Cifte] minaret Creator(s): Raymond, Alexandre M., artist
Date Created/Published: [Pera, Constantinople: Librairie Raymond, 1924]
Summary: Lithograph showing the front facade of the Cifte Minaret Madrasa (Gok Medresse) with door and two minarets, Sivas, Turkey. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-22255 (digital file from original item)


Central Anatolia

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.


In the Country East of Sivas

Allah Dethroned, a Journey Through Modern Turkey Lilo Linke, published in 1937.


The Old Way

The title that Ms. Linke gave this photo refers to the fact that by 1930 Anatolia could be crossed by railway with bridges that spanned the rivers.

This photo and the previous two photos give some idea of the harshness of the Anatolian terrain. Abraham and Lucy and/or their families left Sivas before the advent of the railroads. I do not know the route they took to Constantinople. The two possibilities are: overland all the way, or overland from Sivas to Samsun on the coast of the Black Sea and then by boat from Samsun. Either way it required some overland travel.

In addition to overcoming the difficulties of the terrain the traveler had to beware of brigands and murderers.

Rev. L. Bartlctt and wife, of Ceaarea, and Dr. Davis and wife, with Miss Laura Chamberlain, of Sivas, were robbed while journeying from Broossa to Cesarea in 1879. Rev. J. Leonard and wife, with Miss Eliza Fuleher, of Marsowau, were robbed and Mr. Leonard beaten by Circassians while journeying at a few hours' distance from their home in 1879. Rev. J. W. Parsons and his servant were robbed and murdered on the mountains near Baghchejuk* in 1880. Rev. H. Perry was robbed while journeying east of Sivas in 1881. Rev. H. N. Barnum was robbed on his journey from Harpoot to Sivas in the spring of 1881.

(Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States By United States. Dept. of State - 1883)

Theses pictures also give some idea of the difficulty encountered by the women and children on the forced marches in 1915.

*In May 2012 Deborah Surabian wrote:

I was also very excited to see reference to Baghchejuk as my mother's family had a "summer home" there and up until now I have never been able to find any information about this area as I never had the correct spelling.

Bridge on the road between Sivas and Ersinjan

A Ride Through Western Asia

Book collection of Maggie Land Blanck


House of the American Consul in Sivas

Across Asia on a Bicycle, Century Magazine, May 1894.

Periodical collection of Maggie Land Blanck


The "Flirting Tower" in Sivas

Across Asia on a Bicycle, Century Magazine, May 1894.

No information was provided about the "Flirting Tower"

Periodical collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Periodical collection of Maggie Land Blanck

National Geographic May 1915

"Theses springless carts are the chief means of conveyance throughout Asia Minor". This type of cart was called an araba and was the main from of wheeled transportation in Anatolia.


Pictures from the National Geographic 1924, Crossing Asia Minor, The Country Of The New Turkish Republic by Major Robert Whitney Imbrie


The Khan at Tarsus

The Interior of an Asia Minor Khan

"Through Sivas runs the Great Road of Asiatic Turkey, the road over which, since history's dawn, Have passed the caravans from Bagdad to Constantinople, a road now fallen into disrepair, but still enormously important as a trade route from the Black Sea coast to the interior. The camels nearly always tied head to tail and led by a diminutive donkey, grunt along with a supercilious sneer upon their lips."

Freight Transport in Asia Minor
Armenians in the village of Pirkinik were reputed to be muleteers who moved merchandise across Anatolia. See Pirkinik and Armenians


"One of the Disk-Wheel Carts of Anatolia. Such a vehicle, with its buffalo team, travels at the rate of a mile and a half an hour."

A snapshot of Sivas in 1891

The following information and listed given in the Annuaire oriental of 1891.

Sivas (l'ancienne Sebaste), (Chef-lieu du Vilayer), en armenien Sepastia ancienne capital du Royaume du Pont, 39,369 habitants, dont 23,619 musumans, 14,439 armeniens, 725 grecs, 362 catholiques, et 225 protestants.

[Sivas (ancient Sebaste), (Capital of Vilayet) in Armenian Sepastia ancient capital of the Kingdom of Pontus, 39.369 inhabitants, 23.619 Muslims, 14.439 Armenians, 725 Greeks, 362 Catholics and 225 Protestants.

La ville est situee dans une position riante, au milieu d'une grande plaine, avec un chateau-fort, type moyen-age.

La position central de Sivas dans l'Asie-Mineure est tres-importante, si l'o- considere qu'elle fraie la route du plateau de l'Anatolie

L'Halys, le plus grand fleuve de l'Anatolie, arrose Sivas, et rend tres fertile sc- territoire. Malheureusement, les produits de agridulture, en raison de la cher des frais de transport, ne sont pas multiplies dans la mesure dont le sol est su- ceptibel de produire. Une tonne de ble, rendue de Sivas, a un port de la mer Noire, coulte de 40 a 50 francs, tandis que le prix net de la marchandise ets -- 10 francs a peine.

[The city is situated in a pleasant position in the midst of a great plain, with a fortified castle of the middle ages.

[The location of Sivas in central Asia Minor is very important on the routes of the Anatolian plain.]

The Halys, the largest river in anatolia flows through Sivas and makes the territory very fertile. Unfortunately, agricultural products, due to high transportation costs, are not raised to the extent that the soil would allow. A ton of wheat, grown in Sivas, at a port on the Black Sea brings 40 to 50 francs ...........

La population de ce vilayet est nombreuse, mais une grande, misere desole-- pays; et les emigrants se comptent par milliers qui, chaque annee, partent pour d'autres provinces limitrophes, pour la capital et ses enviorns.

The population of the vilayet is large but there is much misery, thousands of emigrants leave each year for other provinces or the capital in its environments.]

Climat froid, sources d'eaux chaudes et tiedes dont les plus importantes so-celles de Sidjak Tchermique et de Soghouk Tchermique.- Ruines des mosque et des tours du temps de Seldjoucides. - 2 prison pouvant contenir 800 prisoniers des deux sexes. 2 hopitaux pour les detenus, 1 hopital civil. - 1 Palais du gouverneur d'une jolie construction, 1 paliais de justice 1 caserne

[Cold climate, hot springs and tepid, the most important ---- Sidjak Tchermique Soghouk Tchermique. - Ruins of the mosque and the towers of the time of Seljuks. - 2 jail for 800 prisoners of both sexes, Two hospitals for prisoners, a civilian hospital. - A Governor's Palace a beautiful building, a justice Paliais, a barracks]

Industrie - Bas en laine renommes, tapis, (Kilim), armes, chaises mecaniques, t-- les indigenes en coton et soie, lin et laine.

[ Woolen stockings, renowned carpet (Kilim ), weapons, mechanical chairs, t - the indigenous cotton and silk, linen and wool.]

Importation et commerce: manifactures, coton, cotonnades, toile imprimee, draperies, soieries, fez, horlogerie, cafe, the, sucre, quincailleries, denrees, coloniales bougies, savon, huile, petrole, cuirs, peaux ouvrees, fer, etain, zinc, et.

[manifactures, cotton, cotton fabric, printed fabric, draperies, silks, fez, clocks, coffee, tea, sugar, hardware, wares, colonial candles, soap, oil, petroleum, leather, skins worked,   iron, tin, zinc, etc.]

Exportation: ble, orge, pommes de terre, farines, laine, peaux de chevre, de mouton, et de boeuf, tiftik (mohair), opium, djehri (a berry used in dying), kitre ( another dying plant Kitre), bas en laine, toile indigene (lire), etoffes en laine dite Gurun, chales de Gurun, tapis, beurre, cire, cuivre, etc. etc.

[Export: wheat, barley, potatoes, flour, wool, goat skins, sheep, and beef, tiftik, opium, djehri, kitre, woolen stockings, canvas native (read), wool fabrics called Gurun, shawls of Gurun, carpets, butter, wax, copper, etc.. etc..]

La ville contient huit ecoles armeniennes de garcons frequentees par 1,042 garcon; 5 de filles frequentees par 540 filles; elles sont administrees par la Societe Sinekerimian. Une ecole grecque frequentee par 20 garcons et 13 filles; deus elcoles protestantes frequentees par 143 garcons et 83 filles. Une ecole dirigee par les PP. Jesuites, frequentes par 58 eleves.

[The city has eight schools of Armenian Boys   frequented by 1.042 boys, 5 girls frequented by 540 girls and are administered by the Sinekerimian Company. A Greek school frequented by 20 boys and 13 girls; deus elcoles Protestant frequented by 143 boys and 83 girls. A school run by the PP. Jesuits, frequented by 58 pupils.]

Une ecole turque militaire Ruchdie* frequentee par 289 eleves, dont 200 musumland et 89 de differentes religions. Une ecole turque militaire Ruchdie* frequentee par 154 eleves.

*Primary superior school or grammar school.

[A school frequented by Turkish military Ruchdie 289 students, including 200 and 89 musumland of different religions. A Turkish military school frequented by 154 students Ruchdie.]

Une ecole Medresse* frequentee par 60 eleves. Cinq ecoles preparatoires frequentees par 829 garcons et 218 filles.

*Muslim schools which teach Islamic theology and religious law.

A Medresse frequented by 60 students. Five preparatory schools frequented by 829 boys and 218 girls.

This information is followed by a list of government officials. Most are Turks who were listed with a given name such as Ibraham, Mehme, Ali, Ahmed follwoed by an honrific like "Bey" or "Effendi". No surname was listed. These offices included: Governor general, "cadi" (judge), Treasurer, Mekloubdji, mufti, Chief of the bureau of archive, secretary and chief of counsel, inspector of agriculture, inspector of mines, chief village engineer, director of post an telegraph, cashier, and others. there were -- Armenians: Roupen Eff Kotchikian Comptable [accounting] and Mardiros Bolighian Cassier et Magasinier [Cashier and storekeeper]

Cultes [Cults]
ARMENIEN, Mgr. Bedros, archeveque [archbishop]
ARMENO-CATHOLIQUE, Pere Boghos
LATIN, Pere Furget, superieur des Jesuites
PROTESTANT, Rev. Aw. Habert, missionnaire americain (Was this "Albert Hubbard" who was and American Missionary to Sivas from the 1864 to 1902?)
PROTESTANT Rev. English, missionnaire americain.

EGLISES

4 armeniennes, Ste Marie (cathedrale)1 St Sarkis2, St Sauveur et St Minas
1 armenienne catholique, St Jean
1 greque, St Georges (ancienne eglise armenienne cedee aus grecs) batie sur les terres noires (historique)
1 catholique, St Gregorie
1 armenienne protestant
MONASTERES
3 armeniens, St Nichan, St Jacques, et Anabad

Corps Consulaire
ETATS UNIS D'AMERIQUE, H. M. Jowett, consul-general pour l'Anatolie
FRANCE, Seon, vice consul

LISTE GENERALE DES ADRESSES DES PROFESSIONS DES COMMERCANTS, etc.
(PAR ORDRE ALPHABETIQUE)
DE LA VILLE DE SIVAS

Avocats [lawyers]
Hamamdjioglou (Mehemd Effendi)
Mehmed Effendi (Karsli), de la regie
Bains turcs [Turkish bath]: Haji Emim Effendi
Banque im. ott.: Podigas (E.) repr.
Cafes: Afonian - Celedie - Messia.
Souli - Tekeli - Tchardak Couchli
Changl's de monnaies [money changers]: Baronian.
Boghossian. - Ghedikian
Commissionn: Afionian Freres
Keuroglian - Pamboukian.
Confiseurs: Caloust. - Hassan
Cordonniers [shoemakers]: Balikdjian.
Momdjian. - Stambollian. - Yozgatha (K)
Cuirs (Marchands de)[ leather merchants]: Gamisdjian.
Stambollian.
Dentiste: Altounian.
Draps: Bastandjiogluo.
Boyadjian. = Proudian. - Tafedjian.
Droguistes: Chamli. - Ibrahim.
Norhad. - Soghomon.

Ecoles [schools]
ARMENIENNES, des garsons: Sahaghian, - Nersessian. - Mesrobian. - Aramian. - Sahaghian. - Torkomanian. - St Sauveur. Roupinian. - Haigastan
ARMENIENNES, des filles: Loussinian. - Kripsimian. - Beghikian. - Haiouhialz. - Margarian, dirig. par le conseil admin. de la Societe Senekerimian
GRECQUE, dirigee par l'ephorie de l'eglise St. Georges.
LATINE, dirigee par le superiour des PP Jesuites
PROTESTANTE, des garcons et filles, dirigee par le missionaire americain
TURQUE, Ruchdie, : militaire. - Moustapha Mahir Bey, directeur - Ruschie, civile, Selim Eff. directeur. - Dur el Mou-llimin, Bouab Hussein Agha directeur. - Bahliar Bostan, Yahia Bey, Kale Arde, Said Pacha, ganam, preparatoires pour filles et garcons
Etoffes [fabrics]: Bostandjioglou. - Proudian. - Tachdjian. - Tafedjian
Exploitation de mines [mining]: Bodossina. - Chahinian
Farines Negociants en [flour merchants]: Caratejeian. - Chahinian. - Kirkor
Horlogers [watches]: Aghiaghian. - Madoyian. - Osghihan
Hotels: Beledie - Keupru Bachi. - National.
Huiles (Negociants en) [Oil merchants]: Keuroglian (A.)
Imprimerie [printing]: Sivas Ali Aali Effend. directeur
Indiennes (Marchands d') [Indian fabrics cotton merchants]: Tachdjian. - Tafedjian
Ingenieurs: Selim Effendi, ingenieur en chef des ponts et chaussees de Vlayet. - Hassan Effendi, de mines [Engineers: Selim Effendi chief engineer of bridges and highways of the provence of Sivas. Hassan Effendi of mines]
Jardin public [public garden]: Kavak Meidan.
Journal: Sivas, officiel (en langue turque) administr, Mohamed Moukbil Ef. Directeur, Ali Aali Effendi. Redacteur en chef, Ali Avni Effendi Abonnement annuel: Piastres 5 -
Libraire: Chekerdji (Caloust)
Lithographe: Mehemd Emin Effendi
Manufactures: Bostandjioglou, Byadjian. - Prodian. - Khorighian. - Tachdjian. - Tafedjian
Medecins: Chirinian (Artin) - Karekin - Mahmoud Effendi de la municipalite
Merciers [haberdashers]: Afionina - Chirinian
Moulins [millers]: Rifaat-Pacha, Directeur Niazi Bey Yeni Fabrica directeur, Boutchadjian (Sarkis)
Negociants [Merchants]: Afionian. - Antreassian. - Apkarian. - Bakalian Freres. - Bekir Agha. - Bostandjioglou. - Chahinina. - Derbabain. - Keuroghlian. - Kirmizian. - Kolchounina. - Kurdjian. - Mekhitarian. - Mozian. - Pamboukian. - Panossian - Potoukhian. - Proudian. - Sabri Hafes. - Tachdjian. - Tandirdjian. - Tevfik. - Topbachian.
Orfevres [goldsmiths]: Balbalian. - Chamlian. - Gorgothian
Orphelinat Orphanage: Armenien de jeunes filles et de garcons
Papeteries [Stationers]: Chekerdji (Caloust) - Derbabian. - Keuroghlian, - Sabri
Pharmacien: Nessiaian (Ohanne) De la municipalite
Porcelaines et Verreries [China and glass]: Afionian. - Babikian. - Kassardjian - Sabri Eff.
Parfumeries: Afionian
Societes: Oussoumnasiralz, Sinelrimian, Akhkadakhenam
Savons (Negociants en) [soap merchants]: Keuroghlian - Khassardjian - Khazarian
Tabacs (Debits de): Chami. Chuk - Kapikian - Kirkor - Norhadian
Tabacs: Depot de la Regie

A SIVAS: Repres. hon. l'Adm. de "Annuaire Oriental, M Setrak Karadjian, drogman du vice-consulate de France

VILAYET DE SIVAS - Chef-lieu, SIVAS

Population 857,032 habitants, dont 708,557 musulmans et 148,475 de differents religions. - 58 constructions, appartenant au gouvernement; 137,363 maisons, 10,548 boutiques et magasins, 97 bains publics, 175 hans*, 1,113 mosquees, 557 mesdjid**, 23 tekes***, 12 monasteres, 113 eglises, 9,016,373 deunums de terrain cultivable.

Population 857.032 inhabitants, 708.557 and 148.475 Muslims from different religions. - 58 construction, government-owned; 137.363 houses, 10.548 boutiques and shops, 97 public baths, 175 Han, 1.113 mosques, 557 mesdjid, 23 Tekes, 12 monasteries, 113 churches, 9,016,373 deunums of cultivable land.

*Caravanserai or Khan, an inn where travelers and their caravans could rest after the day's journey.

** Place of worship

***Sufi place of worship or or shrine.

Note: Only males counted in a Moslum census.

Productions: Ble, orge, mais, haricots, pois-chiches, tabacs, raisins, fruits et particulierements les pommes d"Amassia et les prunes dites Tozli de Darendeh, legumes et pommes de terre.

Wheat, barley, corn, beans, chickpeas, tobacco, grapes, fruits particularly the apples of Amassia and plums called Tozli of Darendeh, vegetables and potatoes.

Commerce: Cereales, beurre, miel, cire, opium, cuivre, tabacs, peaux, laine, tiftik, djehri, etc. etc.

cereals, butter, honey, wax, opium, copper, tobacco, hides, wool tiftik djehri [kinds of fabric dyes], etc.

1. Sandjak de Sivas

Population 352,000 hab. dont 281,759 musulmans et 70,241 de differentes religions. - 1,305 villages - De ce Sandjak dependent:

  1. Le Caza de Sivas (124,000 habitants), avec ses Nachies Cangal, Karagheul, Gunech, Bederli Hanli, Hairanli, Delik Tach, Haviz, Dichlik, Aladjahan, Tchalli, Aile, Ghihghik, et Mesdjidli - 174 villages dont le plus importants sont Canga, Mandjilik, (residence d'un archeveque armenian), Aladja Han et Pirkinik (residence d'un eveque armeni-catholique [Home of an Armenian Catholic bishop])
  2. Le Caza de Cotchghiri (Zara) (34,000 habit) ............248 villages
  3. Le Caza de Divriki (23,000 habits) ..........125 villages
  4. Le Caza De Gurum (18,000 habt.) ...... 38 villages (poissons d'eau douce renommes dits ala Balek)
  5. Le Caza de Darendeh (17,000) habitants) 20 villages (producteur de prunes renommee dites Tozli
  6. Le Caza de Tonous (Chahr Kichla) (30,000 Hab.) ....... 123 villages ges dont les plus importants sont: Ghemerek, Tchepni, Tonous, renommes pour la fabrication des Tapis (Kilim) dits Chahr Kichla
  7. Le Caza de Yeldiz Eli (Yedi Han) (26,000 habit.) ...... 123 villages.
  8. Le Caza de Hafik (32,000 habit) ........ 175 villages (poisson sales d'eau douce).
  9. Le Caza d'Azizie (47,000 hab.) .......... 282 villages dont les plus importants sont Sarmissaki, Sarioglan et Egrek (fabriques de joies ctavaches circassiennes)

    Revenus generaux du Sanjak environ 8,103,457 piastres

Notes :
  • A sandjak (sanjaq) was a an administrative subdivision of a vilayet. Administrative units consisted of: vilayet, sanjak, kaza and village council. In this case there were a vilayet, a sanjak, a kaza and a city all called Sivas.
  • I did not include the names of the Nahies [nahiye = townships] mentioned in "Cazas" 2 through 9.

Information in this section from:

Annuaire oriental (ancien Indicateur oriental) du commerce, de l'industrie, de l'administration et de la magistrature... Publisher : [s.n.?] (Constantinople), Date of publication : 1891, Type : texte,publication en serie imprimee, Language : French, Format : application/pdf, Identifier : ark:/12148/cb32698490c/date, Source : Bibliotheque nationale de France, departement Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l'homme, 8-J-5986, Relation : http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32698490c, Provenance : bnf.fr, Date de mise en ligne : 11/05/2010

1

2St Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church was located on what is now Uzunyol Cd. I have not found an image of this church as of August 2012.


Sivas in 1892 - La Turquie d'Asie: geographie administrative, statistique ..., Volume 1 By Vital Cuinet

The administrative district of Sivas was divided into; 4 sandjaks, 26 cazas, 257 nahies and 4,761 villages.

The population statistics differ from those given in the Annuaire Oriental and are listed by La Turquie d' Asia: as follows

The total population of the administrative district was 1,086,015.

Musulman sunnites: Turcs, Turkmenes, Tcherkes 559,680
Musuilmans chyites: Kizil-bach, etc. 279,834
Armeniens gregoriens 129,523
Armeniens protestants   30,433
Armeniens catholiques   10,477
Grecs orthodoxes   76,068

The Merkez-sanjak of Sivas was listed as follows: 547,015 habitants, comme suit: Musulmans sunnites, Turcs, TurkmŹnes, Tcherkes ses, elc 300,810, - chyites, Kizil-bach, etc 150,404, Armeniens gregoriens 42,579, - protestants 14.193, - catholiques 7,096, Grecs orthodoxes 31,933

A further division gives the following in the Cazas of Sivas:

  • Musulmans - 57,447 Sunnites, 28,724 Chytes
  • Armenians - 11,356 Gregorians, 3,783 Protestants, 1,894 Catholiques,
  • Grecs - 8,515.
  • Total 111,719

The city of Sivas was listed as follows: Population. - The population of the city of Sivas is 43.122 inhabitants, as follows: Muslim: Sunni 22.003 - 10.501 Chyites, Armenians: Gregorian 8.823 - 93 Protestants, - Catholics 173, Greek-Orthodox 1529, total 43.122

The Armenians of Sivas were described as money lenders:

For most, the Armenians of the province are involved in lending money, currency exchange and other similar traffic.

The Armenian race has not, in these parts, the same force as in the provinces of Erzerum and Van. They seem weak of body and character, having no energy for any activities but money lending.

Armenian Catholics were in a minority and their education was mostly under the auspices of the Jesuits. Instruction was in French, Turkish and Armenian. The Protestants were mainly under the care of American missionaries.

Transportation was by camel, horse, mules and donkeys. The trip from Sivas to Samsun took 7 days.

The city of Sivas contained numerous canals and waterways "overhung with willows and poplars". There were three major bridges: on the road to Caesarea, on the road to Bagdad and the on the road to Tokat. The bridge on the road to Tokat dated to Roman times.

The houses were built of mud brick made of black mud mixed with straw and dried in the sun. The dark color gave a "sad aspect" to the city. Some houses were plastered with lime. The roofs on older houses were flat and covered with clay. Newer houses had tiled roofs. In the winter the inhabitants were forced to shovel the snow off the flat roofs to prevent them from collapsing. The snow was thrown in the street. The street then became blocked hindering the movement of pedestrians, carts and animals. The streets were unpaved and frequently filled with mud and puddles. In the summertime the city was very dusty. There were no street lights.

The surrounding country side was "bleak" and barren.

Une belle chaussée traverse la ville d'un bout à l'autre; c'est la grande voie postale entre la mer Noire et Bagdad. Quelques monuments modernes contribuent de leur côtè à l'embellissement de Sivas. Le Palais du Gouvernement, qu'il faut citer en premier lieu, est un édifice magnifique, construit en pierres de taille. Bâti à deux étages entre cour et jardin, il ne contient pas moins de s oixante pièces ouvrant sur une vaste salle au rez-dechaussée. Au premier étage, la partie centrale est occupée par un grand salon aménagé en djami. Ce palais est richement meublé et décoré d'élégantes fresques. Chaque soir, une bande de musiciens récemment organisée par la municipalité se fait entendre dans le jardin. Bâti sur le même plan, mais dans des proposons moins grandioses, le Palais de Justice (Adlïé) s'élegrave;ve à peu de distance parallèlement, un peu plus loin, suivant la même symétrie; les prisons complètent un ensemble architectural imposant. En ce moment, de vastes constructions sont en cours d'élévation au centre de la ville. Un grand édifice est destiné à recevoir les services municipaux, et les nombreux magasins, chambres, boutiques, etc., qu'il renfermera, donnés en location, constitueront des revenus ál'édilité. Stimulés par l'exemple de l'ancien gouverneur Ali Rifaat Pacha, plusieurs particuliers ont déjà commencé à bâtir aussi quelques grandes maisons, dans de bonnes conditions de salubrité, avec tout le confortable moderne.

A beautiful road crosses the city from one end to the other; it is the great post road between the Black Sea and Bagdad. Some modern monuments contribute to the beauty of Sivas. The Palace of Government which should be mentioned first is a magnificent stone building. A two story building with a courtyard it contains no less than sixty rooms opening onto a large ground floor. Upstairs the central part contains a large living area converted into a djami [a kind of mosque]. This palace is richly furnished and decorated with elegant frescoes. Each evening a band of musicians recently organized by the town is heard in the garden. Built on the same plan but less grandiose the Palace of Justice stands a short distance further along following the same symmetry; the prisons complete an imposing architectural ensemble. At this moment large buildings are being erected in the city center. A large building destined to house municipal services, many rooms, shops, etc which will be leased for income. Stimulated by the example of the former Governor Ali Rifaat Pasha, several individuals have already started building a few large houses, in good sanitary condition, with all the modern conforts.

The city was said to have 30 mosques. The most important Oulou-djami (the grand mosque) was once an ancient Armenian Church dedicated to Saint Eranos. It ia a fast parallelogram of imposing architectural proportions. In the Southern part of the town was smaller mosque also said to have originally been an Armenian church. (The name of this mosque was not mentioned.) Inside this mosque the whitewashed walls reveal traces of crosses and Byzantine inscriptions.

The "Georgian" Armenians had four churches. The cathedral built in 1840 was dedicated to the Virgin.

It is a cruciform building of vast proportions, built in stone in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by walls several meters high. The interior is nothing remarkable.
The other Christian churches were described:
The Armenian Catholics have a church where the disrepair is a pitiful sight. The RR. PP. Jesuits built a small chapel near their home, they brought from Paris a beautiful organ to accompany the ceremonies of worship. The Protestant Armenians have a temple served by two missionaries of the Presbyterian rite which also have an organ. This temple is adjacent to the chapel of the Jesuits. The Greek Orthodox celebrate their worship in a church which once belonged to the Armenians, and they kept, by appropriating the old patronage of St. George (Kevork, Surp).
The Armenian Catholics were reported not to have their own school in the city but to receive thier education from the Jesuits had a school with 200 students.

Annals of the propagation of the faith, Volume 59 By Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1896

"At Sivas, more than seven thousand Christians were massacred on the 12th. November, while the wounded numbered hundreds, and many young girls and children were carried off. Above a thousand stalls and shops were plundered and about five hundred and fifty houses met with the same fate. Sixty-eight safes were robbed in a newly-built khan, in which were the counting-house of the richest Armenian merchants of the city. The Circassians succeeded in smashing open the safes by discharging a shot from a Martini-rifle into the key-hole of the locks. The spoils from this khan amounted to 92,000 pounds. Twelve other khans were also plundered, and the Armenian losses in Sivas were estimated at 689,200 pounds."


Across Asia Minor on Foot by W. J. Childs, 1917

"The mosque of Abd-el-Wahab, called also the Church of Saint John, which stands so boldly on another rock, is likewise another disappointing structure. The rock is indubitable, and the position a fine one - a precipitous headland thrust into the plain, with the Pirkinik river at its base, the city's outskirts beyond the river, and the mosque and minaret at the tip of the promontory. But the building is small and mean and shabby, and by no persuading can you be brought to think of it as an old Christian church appropriated to Moslem use. Yet this is the history given by Armenians, who count it one of several churches so lost to them in Sivas."
Childs noted that Sivas was at the Cross Roads of Anatolia. The roads that met in Sivas included the roads from Constantinople to the Russian frontier, the Black Sea to Bagdad, the Blanck Sea to the Mediterranean as well as minor roads to "other parts".


A Trip to Sivas May 2008

In May 2008 Tom and I had a fabulous trip to Turkey. It could not have been better if a fairy godmother had magically arranged the whole thing.

We were joined on the flight from Istanbul to Sivas by Metin Evliçoğlu — a friend of a friend. Metin had some business in Sivas and had agreed to act as our translator.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Sivas as seen from the plane. This was actually leaving. It was raining and overcast when we arrived.


In Search of Pre 1915 Houses

We were met at the airport by Kağan Çaşkurlu, a native of Sivas and a friend and business associate of Metin's.

We made a brief stop at the hotel and then we were off to find some examples of the old style houses of Sivas (Almost all of the current housing in Sivas is in apartment buildings). Kağan knew exactly where to take us, showing us some houses in ruins, some restored houses and the Inönü Konaği Museum (where we got a sense of the interior of houses at the end of the 19th century).

We saw houses of a variety of sizes. Some were quite large while other were more modest. Most of the older houses we saw were in the northeast part of the city, not too far from the Inönü Konaği Museum. The Sivas Guide from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism says that the city was divided in residential and commercial districts.

All of the house that we saw date from the 19th and 20th century, having replaced the older style flat roofed, one story houses, constructed of sundried brick. Remains of the earlier type of houses are much less common and we did not see any on our visit.

In Many Hill Yet To Climb John Minassian indicates that the neighborhood we were in had many Armenian homes. A map in the book shows the location of the Armenian Hospital on AliBaba street (which is where we took a number of photos). Minassian went to visit the home of some friends of his mother's and while he was waiting for the door to be opened he looked around:

"Across the street was a beautiful two-story building. When I was young I used to read on the building large letters in gold: GARARBED PERANIAN 1905 — he was a local merchant from Gurum. On another corner in a stone building, one of the best ever made, was the candy-make Avak. A few blocks away was the Armenian hospital, supported solely by Sivas's Armenian community."
He listed several other Armenian merchants in the vicinity: Topbashian, Tomajian and Murmurian.

Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

A date over this door is 1890


Photo by a contributer who wishes to remain anonymous

The same building pictured above. Photo taken in 2004.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

This is the side of the same building pictured above.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Another side of the same building.


Photo by a contributer who wishes to remain anonymous

This crest over the front door indicates that the house was built or remodeled in 1890. Photo was taken in 2004.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Typical gate.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

This house and the one in the next photo are basically across the street from one another.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

This duplex has one side renovated (or maintained in good condition) and the other side derelict.

Bezirci Area, Dispanser Street Numer 27


2004 photo by a contributer who wishes to remain anonymous

This is the same house pictured in the pervious photo. This photo was taken in 2004.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

As in many places the beauty of the old becomes apparent when it may be too late in the game. This house was actually marked as slated to be renovated by some conservation group.


2004 hoto by a contributer who wishes to remain anonymous

This is the same house pictured in the pervious photo taken in 2008. This photo was taken in 2004 when the building still had two stories.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Seating is/was on cushions either on the floor or on benches along the wall.

Traditional Armenian Houses in Kayseri (a web site that seems to have disappeared)

"Along the edges of rooms, especially along walls with windows, was a seating area that in Anatolian houses is termed a sedir. This is a simple rectangular structure made of timber that is covered in carpets or cushions. Inside the sedir were box cupboards for the storage of blankets, clothes, etc."

Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Apparently it is still the custom to sit on cushions in Sivas, as we saw several stores selling these type of cushions.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Rooms were multi-functional. The same room would have been used for sitting, eating and sleeping. Bedding was put away in the closets, such as the one on the wall of this room.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

A large copper tray on a low support serves as a table.

See Explore Turkey


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Many homes contained elaborately carved wooden ceiling panels.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The Inönü Konaği Museum, Ali Baba Cad.

Ismet Inönü, the second president of the Republic of Turkey lived in this house from 1891 to 1897 while he was completing his secondary education.

This house typifies a home of the upper class of Sivas in the late 19th century. The foundation is stone. The upper two stories are timber frame filled with sun-dried bricks and plastered with lime. The roof is tiled. The overhang of the first and second floors is a feature of the historic architecture of the area.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The gate to the Inönü Konaği Museum


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Our guides, Metin and Kağan

This picture also shows something of the construction technique. The base is of cut stone with timber frame above. The spaces between the timbers is filled with sun dried brick and then the whole thing is covered with stucco.


Sivas 1877, edited by Arsen Yarman

A sketch of the home of Hagop Şahinyan, 1875, Kale-i Atik Street, Sivas.

This was the home of Ani Çapan's great grandfather, Hagop Şahinyan, an Armenian. In the 1920s it housed the Post, Telegraph and Telephone office. We did not suceed in finding this building.


Sivas 1877, edited by Arsen Yarman

Photo of the home of Hagop Şahinyan


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, 2011

Photo of the home of Hagop Şahinyan


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

These apartment buildings are typical of housing in Sivas in 2008. The facade of the blue building is covered with small tiles. This was quite common throughout the city.


We were told that the house we saw were in the old Armenian area of the city. There is no way to know that for certain. The Traditional Houses in Kayseri web site says that by the 1970 much of the old areas of the Kayseri was demolished for real estate speculation: "The former Armenian districts were the last to go, perhaps because of uncertainties over property deeds...... Most of the remaining old houses are either derelict or in ruins." This would seem to make sense for Sivas, also.

A 1914 map for the city of Sivas in Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Leser Armenia indicates that the National Hospital (Armenian) and the Armenian and Hripsiman Schools were in the part of the city where we saw the above houses.


A Tomb, A Bath, A Caravansary and A Mosque

Some of the older public buildings are near each other on Arap Şehy and Hoca Ahmet Yesevi.


Ahi Emir Kümbeti (Cupola)

This domed Seljuk grave shrine with a 'mihrab' (niche showing the direction of Mecca) dates to 1332/33. Notice how much lower the ground level was in 1332/33.

Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Kurşunlu Hamami (Baths)

This double bath with men's and women's sections dates to 1579. The bath is still in use today.

Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

In May 2012 Arsene Bajakian wrote that his father, who was born in 1905 in Sivas immigrated to Fitchburg, Ma. in 1920.

the picture of the bath "Kursunlu hammami" caught my attention. The 1915 map of the city shows a "Kursunlu Paghnic (bath)" located near the Mundar River. I think the picture and the notation shown on the map are the same.

Further in 1915, there was an Armenian tagh (neighborhood) named "Kursunlu Paghnic (bath)". So that area was Armenian at that time, perhaps an Armenian owned the bath. The deportation of that tagh was on 3 July 1915 along with several other Armenian taghs - one of which was the Holy Mother of God tagh.

Data Sources: HISTORY OF SEBASTIA and NEIGHBORING VILLAGES volumes 1 & 2 MESHAG PRESS BEIRUT 1974, ALMANAC 1903 Church of Our Savior Hospital Constantinople Madeosian Press


Behram Paş Hani or Caravansaray

Sivas was a stop on the old silk routes from Europe to the East. There are remains of several Hans or Caravansaries in the city. This one, built in 1576, is situated next to the Kurşunlu Hamami (Baths). It was once used as a calvary barracks.

It was closed when we stopped the first time but we were able to get into it later.

Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Another view of the Behram Paş Hani. The building was being used, at least in part, as some sort of granite and/or stone warehouse.
Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

We returned the next afternoon and the building was opened.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

We understand that there are plans to turn this old han back into a hotel.


Blue tile work on the minaret of the Sivas Ulu Camii (Mosque)

The Seljuk Ulu Mosque is one of the oldest in the city and dates to 1196/97. The minaret dates to 1213.

Photo by Maggie Land Blanck


Lunch

We drove a little ways out of the city to a lovely spot in the countryside for lunch. We were joined by Cem, another associate and friend of Metin's and Kağan's.

Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Arugula, tomato and pepper salad, the most yummy yogurt with cucumber, and divine eggplant salad were the appetizers. The specialty of Sivas is lamb kebab, with eggplant, tomatoes, hot peppers and roasted garlic. The kebabs are cooked in a special oven where they are hung between an open fire — the spring lamb was wonderful.


A View of Sivas From Afar, The Eğri Köprü Bridge and the Red River

On our way back to the city we stopped to view the city from afar and to see a very old bridge that was part of the ancient silk route.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

This hilltop overlooks the Cumhuriyet University Sivas. The university has faculties of Nursing, Physical Education and Sports, Health Services, Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering among others. The city is visible in the distance.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The Seljuk Eğri Köprü Bridge formed a link in the ancient silk routes between the Sivas-Malatya road and Southeastern Anatolia. Built of cut stone the bridge curves partway across to form a kind of prow against the force of the river's flow. When the winter snows melt the river can run very high potentially washing out bridges. The river called, Kizilirmak (Red River), derives its name from the muddy reddish color of the water. It flows mainly through red sandstone, gypsum and marl which give the water a permanently dull red color.

The bridge has recently been restored. In my opinion it suffers from over restoration — an all to common occurrence which somehow detracts from the charm of historic edifices.


Photo by Tom Blanck

Cem, me, Kağan and Metin


Gök Medrese (Madrasah) and Sivas Kalesi (Castle)

Before calling it quits for the day, Metin, Kağan and Cem took us to see Gök Medrese (Madrasah) and Sivas Kalesi (Castle).


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Gök Medrese (Madrasah)

Restoration began on this medrese in 2006. The structure dates to 1271 and has an inner courtyard. Medrese, meaning a place to study, was a college for the study of law and the Koran. See All About Turkey, The Medieval Madrasa


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Across the street from the Gök Medrese were some older houses — humbler and of a different style than those we saw in the morning.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Just around the corner from the Gök Medrese is the Sivas Kalesi (Castle). The "Castle" is a natural hill. Various rulers of the area took advantage of the geological mass of limestone to build fortification. Nothing remains today but the original hill from which one can see out over the city. The minarets of the Gök Medrese can be seen in the center of the photo.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Another view from the Castle. The lone minaret in the center of the photo is that of the Ulu Mosque.

After viewing the City form the Castle, Metin, Kağan and Cem drove us back to the hotel and left us to our own devices for the rest of the afternoon.


Çifte Minareli Medrese, Kale Camii, Buruciye Medrese, Şifaiye Medrese, another Caravansaray and the Zeya Bey Library

We took off on our own to visit the Çifte Minareli Medrese, the Kale Camii, Şifaiye Medrese and the Buruciye Medrese, all located in the the park near the Government Square. Other web sites have better images than I got of the Çifte Minareli Medrese, the Kale Camii, Şifaiye Medrese and the Buruciye Medrese. These buildings are among the better known and important structures in Sivas.

The Kale Camii was built in 1580.

The Buruciye Medrese was built in 1271. In 2008 it was the home of a tea house and some small shops.

The Şifaiye Medrese built in 1217 is a complex of buildings that was once a medical school. It was turned into a medrese by imperial edict in 1768. It also once housed tea houses and small shops but at the time of our visit it was under renovation or excavation

The Çifte Minareli Medrese was built in 1271. The only surviving part is the front wall. This building was used as a hospital in 1882 and later as a school.

See Dick Osseman Photos of Sivas for some great images of the historical buildings of Sivas.

After wandering around this historic area for a while we took a walk along Ataturk Cadessi to the Taş Han (Caravansary) where we had çay (tea). Then we passed the Zeya Bey Library and took a look around the fruit and vegetable the market which was pretty quiet as it was getting late. On our way back to the hotel we stopped for Lahmacun (yum!). In the evening we joined hundreds of others for a stroll on Inönü Boulevard before retiring for the night.

A very full and satisfying day in Sivas with a little help from our friends, Metin, Kağan and Cem.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The side entrance and first floor of Taş Han

Taş Han was built in the second half of the 19th century on the site of an earlier building. Notice the fountain which was an essential part of every han.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The second floor of Taş Han


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Taş Han

We were told that all of the buildings on this corner were once owned by Armenians.

In Many Hills Yet To Climb John Minassian says his father, Bedros, an Armenian who converted to Protestantism, had a partnership in a shop in the Taş Han in 1895. He says that only the best merchandise was sold there. The Minassian family moved from Sivas to Gurun in 1906. Gurum was where Bedros was born and raised and had sons from a first marriage.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Near the market is the Zeya Bey Library of Handwritten Works, build in 1908 and founded by Yusuf Ziya Başara.


A Trip to Pirkinik

The next morning Kağan introduced us to Yervant, one of 76 Armenians still living in Sivas. Yervant, Metin, Kağan, Tom and I then drove to Pirkinik, the village in which Tom's grandmother, Lucy Areivan, was born.


Photo Maggie Land Blanck

The remains of the baths in Pirkinik.

For more images of Pirkinik go to Pirkinik


The Armenian Cemetery and the ruins of an old Armenian Church

After our visit to Pirkinik, Yervant took us to the Armenian Cemetery and the ruins of an old Armenian Church.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The pre 1915 cemetery is now located on a military base, so we were not able to see exactly where it was located. However, we were told that none of the stones remained.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The new cemetery lies just outside the military base. The graves are very simple, just covered with cement slabs. There have been some problems in the past with grave robbers looking for gold. Now the soldiers keep an eye on things but the Armenian community has elected to keep things as low key as possible.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

The ruins of an Armenian church. The church was actually on the military base so we were only able to look at it from a distance.

Other images of the church can be seen at Sole Surviving Armenian Chruch in Sivas

I had hoped to find the remains of an Armenian church in Sivas itself. I had assumed that a building might still remain having been put to some other use, perhaps converted into a warehouse. That does not appear to be the case. We were told that all of the Armenian churches in the city were torn down, which seems like a lot of work.


Even stranger is the razing of the Monastery of the Holy Cross. Called Surp Nishan (Nisan) the monastery was about a quarter of an hour outside the city by horse back on the way to Tokat. Several web sties say that it was located on the military base north of the city — not far from the church pictured above. The monastery originally dated to the 11th century. It reportedly housed the Armenian king Senekerim's crown, throne, scepter and other treasures. We were told that it was completely demolished in 1978.

Byzantine stone reading desk in Chapel, St. Nishan's Monastery, Sivas Across Asia Minor on Foot W. J. Childs 1817

Childs visited the monastery in the company of one of the America missionaries and met with the "Armenian Bishop of Sivas" who was a "long-haired, black gowned cleric". Childs says that the monastery dated to the 13th century. He further noted that the Bishop was later tortured and died on the road to Mosul.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Below the Armenian Church and outside the base runs a pretty little stream. In this bucolic setting farmers raise cattle and sheep.


Lunch at Mis Kebap

Another great meal of Döner Kebab with pita, onions, tomatos and peppers


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Kağan, Yervant and Metin


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Döner Kebab at Mis


The Afternoon's Activities

After lunch, Metin, Tom and I walked through the Seljuk ruins in Goverment Square, had çay in the courtyard of the Buruciye Medrese, and tried to get into the Ataturk Museum (which was closed because it was Monday). We stopped at the Sivas Tourist booth where I obtained several booklets, maps and a CD on Sivas and its history. These publication, made available for free through the Sivas Governorship Province Directorate of Culture and Tourism have been the source of much of the information on this page.

We spent some time trying to find postcards, with no success. Guess there aren't enough tourists in the area to warrant postcards. In fact, we did not see any other tourists during our stay or on the planes coming and going.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Some old carved stones lying on the side of the Ataturk Museum


The Evenings Activities

We went back to the hotel around four o'clock and took a rest. Invigorated after our nap we again went wandering around the city. We passed another old bath, the Tarihi Meydan Hamami. We stopped at the Behran Paş Han which was open. We also found the Subaşi Han.

In a little place right in back of our hotel we had more great kabab for dinner — this time chicken and adana kebab. It was accompanied by the usual excellent tomato salad and spaghetti with yogurt — not as strange as it sounds.

After dinner we took another stoll along the Inönü Boulevard.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Tarihi Meydan Hammi — another bath house


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Subaşi Han (Caravansary)

This han has recently been restored. It is in two sections. The "Develik" or camel stables on the east were constructed of thick stone in the 14th century. Additions were made circa 1525. The section shown in this image was added in the 1800s.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Another old house in ruins.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

Dinner

This small kebab shop had some interesting wood carved plaques that depicted county life in a time gone by. The manager gave me permission to photograph them and they can be see on the Perkinik page.


Tuesday Morning

We got up early in order to make a quick trip to the Ataturk Museum. And then we were on our way back to Istanbul.


Photo by Maggie Land Blanck

On our way to the airport Kağan pointed our the ruins of another Armenian church (just about dead center in this picture and looking very much like the rocks surrounding it). This image also gives some sense of the terrain around Sivas.


Thank You Every Who Made Our Trip to Sivas so Special

We throughly enjoyed every minute of our visit to Sivas. We had fun, we learned a lot and we ate well. The people were helpful, kind and warm. The food was extraordinary: wonderful kabobs, yummy salads, great fruit and delicious creamy yogurts.

Our thanks to everyone who helped make it such a special trip: Etem who put us in touch with Metin, Metin for his good humor and great job as translator, Kağan for chauffeuring us all over the place, Cem for his pleasant company, Yervant for showing us the the Armenian sites of interest and for putting us on to the excellent book, Sivas 1877 written in part by Bogos Natanyan and added to and edited by Arsen Yarman.

And thanks to all the people who showed us small acts of generosity: the cheese man in the supermarket who gave us tastes of cheese, the produce vender who rearranged the grape leaves so I could take a picture, the fruit vendor who one evening gave us strawberries and the next evening gave us small tart green plums, the shopkeeper who gave me a free Sivas pen, and all of the merchants of various kinds who allowed me to take photographs of their stalls and shops and greeted us with such big smiles.


Dick Osserman's photos of Turkey

Dick Osserman has taken some wonderful pictures of Turkey which can be seen at Dick Osserman

His pictures of Sivas are at Dick Osserman, Sivas Turkey


Some Facts About Sivas

Sivas, at an altitude of 1275m (4,183 ft) above sea level, is the highest city in Central Anatolia. It is the second largest city in Asian Turkey with a 28,488 square kilometer area. It lies to the north of the Kizil Irmah (Red River) in a broad valley surrounded by sparsely wooded mountains.

Winters are cold and severe with frequent heavy snow falls. Snow covers the ground for 3 to 5 months of the year. Summers are hot and dry and the spring and fall are rainy.

The city may date to pre-Roman times.

During the Roman era it was called Sebastia. Under Diocletian it became the capital of Armenia Prima. Under Justinian it was the capital of Armenia Secunda.

St Blaze (Blasius), present at council of Nicaea in 325, feast day February 3, was a bishop of Sivas. The Armenian Catholic Church in Sivas was called St. Blaze.

There was an Armenian dynasty in control of the city to 1080. At the beginning of the 11th century the city was under the suzerainty of the Greek emperors.

It was controlled by Turcoman emirs in the 12th century.

It was controlled by Seljuks princes in the 13th century. Under the Seljuks it reached great prosperity to become one of the largest and most important cities in Anatolia and a center of learning and culture. It is known for its Suljuk architecture.

Sivas lay at the juncture of the Persia and Baghdad caravan routes which made it a busy commercial center in ancient times. The trade route between the East and the West, known as the Silk Road, was in reality a series of routes that converged and diverged at multiple points. Sivas was situated on the Silk Road at a confluence of roads coming from Constantinople (through Ankara or along the Black Sea) in the west and from the Egypt and Syria in the south. Trade between China and the West existed from ancient times. The Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans went through Sivas, as did Marco Polo on his trip to the East. Few actually made the whole trip from West to East as Polo did. Most traders did a section of the route and then went back to their home base. Consequently, the goods passed through a series of hands en route. As an important hub on the Silk Road, Sivas was a place to replenish supplies, trade, and fatten up the beasts of burden.

"The position of Sivas is one of great importance because it commands the approach to the one main pass which crosses the Anti-Taurus from Anatolia into Armenia, and forms the line of communication between the Black Sea by way of Samsoun and the interior of Asia Minor on the one hand and the valley of the Tigris and the Persian Gulf on the other. Under these circumstances it is not surprising to find that the site has been occupied form ancient times."

Turkish Armenian Rev. H. F. Tozer, 1881

The Franciscans established a monastery in Sivas by 1279

In the 17th century there were approximately 6,000 houses in Sivas.

The Vilayet (Civil Province) of Sivas was created in 1864 and included the "sanjak" of Sivas. In the sanjak of Sivas were 26 Armenian villages where the population was mostly engaged in agriculture and handicrafts. In the city of Sivas the Armenian populations was mostly engaged as merchants, traders, artisans, money lenders and money changers. Most of the trade in the area was in Armenian hands.

Sivas was the see of the Armenian Catholic Church from 1858. In 1892 it became an archiepiscopal see. In Armenian, A Historic Atlas Robert H Hewson lists the following but does not date this information

  • About 30 mosques
  • 14 Apostolic Churches
  • Catholic Church and Chapel
  • Greek Orthodox Church
  • He also mentions that Sivas was an important center of the Protestant Missions who were there as early as 1851.

Appletons' Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of 1881 approximated the population of Sivas at 35,000 to 40,000.

A massacres of Armenians took place in Sivas in 1894-1896

Although it's glory had faded after the Seljuks, Sivas remained an important provincial capital during the Ottoman Empire.

In September 1919 it was the site of the second national congress organized by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) who later became the first president of Turkey.

The development of the railroads in the early 1930s again brought prosperity to Sivas under the Republic of Turkey. Sivas was connected to Ankara in 1930 and Samsun and the black Sea in 1932.


Pirkinik (Prknig)


According to a compilation of records Lucy Hagopian was born on January 15, 1875/76 in Pirkinik, Turkey the daughter of Hagop and Annik Hagopian (Agopian). Her siblings were Hagop, Baptist, Hovaness, Christine, and Nazareth. This family were Roman Catholics and claimed to be descendants of the Pakradouni.

The village of Perkenik, a short distance from the city of Sivas, was a Roman Catholic center. In February 2007 Robert Haroutunian wrote:

My Late Aunt's mother in-law was a native of Prknig village of Sepasdia. My cousin Margaret is her granddaughter. Also, in the 1970s Armenian writer Taniel Varoujan's daughter lived in New York City. He also was from this village and was related to my cousin's grandmother's family. The grandmother's name was Pepron she was born in 1900 and I remember her when I was a kid. She also was Catholic. She used to say that the Armenians of this village were descendants of the Pakraduni Armenian Royal family.
In 850 Ashod Pakradouni was appointed Governor of Armenia by the Arab caliph. In 884 he became King Ashod I. The Pakraouni dynasty ruled for 150 years. In 1045 the Pakradouni king, Gagig II, abdicated and so ended the last Armenian kingdom.

Pakraduni is also spelt Bagratuni.

Pirkinik in 1915

"In the parish of Sivas, the only village to have been spared is Pirkinik, where the archbishop, Monseigneur Ketchedjian, has escaped to. He, and one cleric that accompanied him, are the only survivors."
DOCUMENTS FROM THE DANISH NATIONAL ARCHIVIES DOCUMENT 1 1915-07-03-DK-001

There a several web sites with the same quote about the village in 1915.

To see images of Pirkinik go to Pirkinik


Descriptions of Sivas from Articles and Books

The Travels of Marco Polo

Marco Polo was born in Venice in 1254. He traveled with his father and uncle to China in 1271 where he spent the next twenty years. Upon his return to Europe he was imprisoned in Genoa. It was probably while he was in prison that he collaborated with Rustichello of Pisa to write his memories.

"Let me begin with Armenia. The truth is that the are actually two Armenians, a Greater and a Lesser. The lord of Lesser Armenian is a king who maintains good and just government in his country under the suzerainty of the Tartars.* It is a land of many villages and towns, amply stocked with the means of life. It also affords good sport with all sorts of wild game, both beast and fowl. The climate, however, is far from healthy; it is, in fact, extremely enervating. Hence, the nobility of the country, who used to be men of valour and stalwart soldiers, are now craven and man-spirited and excel in nothing except drinking.

On the sea coast lies the town of Ayas, a busy emporium. For you must know that all the spices and cloths from the interior are brought to this town, and all other goods of high value; and merchants of Venice and Genoa and everywhere else come here and buy them. And merchants and others who wish to penetrate the interior all make this town the starting-point of their journey.

Lesser Armenia is bounded on the south by the Promised Land, now in the hands of the Saracens; on the north by the western district of Turkey, known as Karaman; on the north-east and east by eastern Turkey, with the towns of Kaisarieh and Sivas and many others, all subjects of the Tartars; and on the west by the sea that is crossed by sailing to Christendom.

In Turkey threw are three races of men. The Turcomans themselves, who worship, Mahomet and keep his law, are a primitive people, speaking a barbarous language. They roam over the mountains and the plains wherever they know that there is good pasturage, because they live off their flocks. They have clothing made of skins, The country breeds good Turcoman horses and good mules of excellent quality.

The other races are the Armenians and the Greeks, who live intermingled among the Turcomans in villages and towns and make their living by commerce and crafts, besides agriculture. They weave the choicest and most beautiful carpets in the world. They also weave silk fabrics of crimson and other colours, of great beauty and richness, and many other kinds of cloth. Their most celebrated cities are Konya, Kaisarieh and Sivas; there are also many other cities and towns which I can not enumerate because the list would run to a wearisome length. They are subject to the Tartar Khan of the Levant, who appoints governors to rule them.

These Tartars do not care what god is worshiped in their territories. So long as all their subjects are loyal and obedient to the Khan and accordingly pay the tribute imposed on them and justice is well observed, you may do as you please about your soul. They object to your speaking ill of their souls or intermeddling with their practices. But concerning God and your own soul do what you will, whether you be Jew or pagan, Saracen or Christina, who live among the Tartars. They freely confess in Tartary that Christ is a lord; but they say that he is a proud lord, because he will not keep company with other gods but wants to be over all others in the world. So in some places they have a Christ of gold or silver and keep him ensconced within a shrine and say that he is the great lord of the Christians.

*I add here, and again in the account of Greater Armenia that the inhabitants are imperfect Christians, but could easily be brought back to the true faith if they had proper teachers.


The book of Marco Polo, the Venetian: concerning the kingdoms and ... By Marco Polo annotated by Henri Cordier, Henry Yule and Amy Frances Yule - 1903

Annotations to The Travels of Marco Polo with regard to the city of Sivas, Chapter II:

One of the oldest churches in Sivas is St. George (Sourp-Khiork), occupied by the Greeks, but claimed by the Armenians; it is situated near the centre of the town, in what is called the "Black Earth," the spot where Timur is said to have massacred the garrison. A few steps north cf St. George is the Church of St. Blasius, occupied by the Roman Catholic Armenians. The tomb of St. Blasius, however, is shown in another part of the town, near the citadel mount, and the ruins of a very beautiful Seljukian Medresseh. (From a MS. Note by Sir H. Yule. The information had been supplied by the American Missionaries to General Sir C. Wilson, and forwarded by him to Sir H. Yule.)

It must be remembered that at the time of the Seljuk Turks, there were four Medressehs at Sivas, and a university as famous as that of Amassia. Children to the number of 1000, each a bearer of a copy of the Koran, were crushed to death under the feet of the horses of Timur, and buried in the "Black Earth"; the garrison of 4000 soldiers were buried alive.

St. Blasius, Bishop of Sebaste, was martyred in 316 by order of Agricola, Governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, during the reign of Licinius. His feast is celebrated by the Latin Church on the 3rd of February, and by the Greek Church on the nth of February. He is the patron of the Republic of Ragusa in Dalmatia, and in France of wool-carders.

At the village of Hullukluk, near Sivas, was born in 1676 Mekhitar, founder of the well-known Armenian Order, which has convents at Venice, Vienna, and Trieste. -H. C]


Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan in Asia, Africa, and Europe ..., Volume 2 By Abu Talib Khan, 1810

"On the 21st we reached Sewas. The distance between it and Tokat is ninety-six miles, and is generally performed in one day; but, on account of the badness of the weather, and the fear of being lost in the snow, I took two days to it. During these two days it snowed very hard, and blew with such violence that two of the mules, which were heavy laden, fell down precipices, and were dashed to pieces.

Sewas (the Sebaste of the Romans) is an ancient and large city, and is frequently mentioned in history. It is, however, a very dirty town, and our horses sunk up to their knees in the streets. At this place I had the honour of being entertained by the Pasha: but as even his house was very dirty, and infested with fleas, how abominable must the post-house have been!

The country between Tokat and Sewas is a continued range of mountains, and at this time was entirely covered with snow. Tokat, Sewas, Diarbekir, and Mardine are all reckoned in Armenia. The cities of Kariz, Erzeroum, Van, and Errvan, lay at some distance on our left hand."


Journey Through Asia Minor, Armenia, and Koordistan, 1813, John Macdonald Kinneir ITENERIES TO CONSTANTINOPLE, BY SIVAS AND TOCAT, BY THE AUTHOR, IN THE WINTER OF 1810.

"it is dirty and ill built, has a town clock (a wonder in this part of the world,) and is the seat of the pasha. The inhabitants are a course and rude people, and great breeders of horses. The castle is in ruins, and not far from the Town is a celebrated Armenian monastery."

Note: The monastery was Surp Nisan.


Bulletin de la Société de géographie By Société de géographie (France), 1832

ITINERAIRE DE SEWAS A ALEP.

(Deuxième article. )

De Sewas a Oulatch, 6 lieues. Sewas ou Siwas, anciennement Sebaste, chef-lieu d'un 'pachalik, conserve encore aujourd'hui quelques restes de son ancienne splendeur. En y arrivant, le voyageur est d'abord frappé, du haut des montagnes qui l'entourent, de la beauté de son sol dont la fécondité offre à ses yeux un tableau vraiment ravissant. Le Kizil-Irmak ou rivière Rouge, ainsi nommé par les Orientaux à cause de la couleur roussâtre que ses eaux contractent à la fonte des neiges, et dont la source est à Zara douze lieues plus haut, arrose la superbe plaine qui peut avoir trois ou quatre lieues detendue, où cette ville est située. Rien n'est plus imposant ni plus flatteur à la vue que la variété de ses sites.

Une fois que la fonte des neiges a cessé, les eaux du Kizil-Irmak se déchargent des parties argileuses dont elles s'imprègnent, et se clarifient à mesure qu'on avance dans la belle saison; ce sont alors les meilleures et les plus saines peut-être qu'on boive dans l'Asie. Après avoir arrosé la plaine de Sewas, elles traversent une bonne partie de la Natolie, et se déchargent ensuite dans la mer Noire.

Sewas est peut-être de tous les pays de Constantinople à Alep, celui dont la température est telle, qu'en exceptant le blé que son sol fournit abondamment, on n'y trouve ni fruits ni légumes, qu'il tire de Tokat, dixhuit lieues au-dessus. Pour se garantir du froid, les habitans prennent quelquefois la fourrure au mois d'août, et ils sont forcés, pour s'en préserver pendant l'hiver, de bâ tir leurs maisons avec d'épaisses murailles de trois ou quatre pieds d'une terre argileuse cuite au soleil.

En partant de Sewas pour se rendre à Alep, on se dirige vers l'est, et, à une lieue de distance, on traverse à gué le Kizil-Irmak. Cette rivière coule au pied d'une chaî ne de hautes collines qu'il faut franchir pour arriver à Oulatch, petit village habité par des chrétiens à six lieues de Sewas, et situé dans une plaine assez bien cultivée.

[ITINERARY SEWAS to Aleppo.

(Second item) From Sewas to Oulatch, 6 miles.

Sewas or Siwas formerly Sebaste, the chief town of a pashalik, still retains some vestiges of its former splendor. On arriving there, the traveler is immediately struck by the height of the mountains that surround it, the beauty of its fertile soil which provides a lovely tableau. The Red River, so named by the Orientals because of the reddish color its water assumes from melting snows, and whose source is Zara twelve leagues away, waters the beautiful plain which may be be three or four leagues from the city. Nothing is more imposing or more pleasing to view than the variety of its settings. When the snowmelt has ceased, the waters of the Red River discharge the clay with which they have become impregnated, and (the water) clarifies as the summer advances, then it is the best and healthiest (water) one can drink in Asia. After watering the plains of Sewas, the river goes through much of Anatolia, and then discharged into the Black Sea.

Sewas is perhaps of all places between Constantinople and Aleppo, the one whose climate is such that, excepting its abundance of wheat, there is neither fruit nor vegetable, which are gotten from Tokat, eighteen leagues away. To keep out the cold, the inhabitants sometimes wear fur in August, and to survive the winter they are forced to build their houses with three or four feet thick walls of a sun-baked clay.

Leaving Sewas to go to Aleppo, we headed east, and a league away, crossed the Kizil Irmak ford. This river flows at the foot of a chain of hills that must be conquered to reach Oulatch, a small village inhabited by Christians six leagues from Sewas, and located in a fairly well-cultivated plain.]


The journal of the Royal Geographic Society of London, Volume 6 By Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain) 1836

On the road from hence to Sivas there are two large salt-works: the salt is procured from springs; the surrounding country is supplied from them, and the government is said to derive considerable revenue from the works, which belong to it. The country from U'lash till I reached the plain of Sivas was mountainous, not entirely without cultivation, but I did not pass any village.

Sivas*, situated in a plain from four to six miles in breadth by perhaps sixteen to twenty in length, is remarkable for producing good crops of grain of a very superior quality. The plain is watered by the Kizil Irmak,** which though not remote from its sources, is here a considerable stream, and within a distance of five or six miles has two broad stone bridges over it. Timber for building and fuel is brought down by it, from the forests in the mountains in which the river rises. The climate is severe though remarkably health.

The town covers a large area, but within it are many ruins; it contains about 5000 Turkish and 1200 Armenian families.

Many of the old mosques and khans prove the town to have been once under Persian dominion.

The position of Sivas is a very excellent one for an important commercial city. The access to it from the Black Sea is easy, and has been facilitated by the military road made by Reshid Mohammed Pasha. It is situated in the centre of a district abounding in the first necessaries of life, and of a country which would require extensive supplies. The route by Sivas is certainly the best to reach Malatiyah, Kharput, and Diar-bekr, and I may add Baghdad.

The bazars are extensive and the khans numerous, both being well supplied with goods.

* Sivas is on the si!e of the ancient Sehaste, and is capital of the Pashalik (Eyilet) of the same name -En. In Armenian Sepasdia, Sevasdia, and vulgarly Sevatd. **Red River (Halys).


A personal narrative of the Euphrates expedition, Volume 2 By William Ainsworth, 1835, 37 & 37

The next day we travelled over a lower country, but of similar formation, nine hours, or some twenty-seven miles, to Siwas. The only novelty was that there were several lakes in hollows, but whether temporary inundations or permanent lakes I could not determine. The pretty mustella before alluded to abounded by the road side.

Siwas is a characteristic specimen of the capital of a Turkish province. It is a motley collection of huts, only diversified by the domes and minarets of numerous mosques, with no public buildings of any interest—not even the serai, and the bazaars have no architectural pretensions.

.........

The city is said to contain 5,000 houses of Moslems and 1,000 of Armenians. I should imagine the first, at all events, to be an exaggeration.

.........

On leaving Siwas (April 27) we passed some interesting deposits of travertino disposed in ledges on a rivulet with grottoes in the same neighbourhood. Thence we crossed an upland of gypsum to the village of Bebledi some fourteen miles from the city. This, on a supposed high road, was a rather long interval without khan or caravanserai. Crossing a low range of hills we came to a more fertile valley, with a rivulet flowing southwest, and a village with fruit trees, called Karin, where we passed the night.


The Missionary herald: Volume 33 - Page 394 American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions - 1837

EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL AND LETTER OF MR. JOHNSTON

Portions of the journal of Mr. Johnston relating to a tour made by him in the country lying south of the Black Sea were inserted at pp. 202, giving an account of his route as far as Tokatj which place he left August 18th, and reached Sivas, eighteen hours distant, the next morning at nine o'clock. He was accompanied by Scnnekerim from Constantinople.

Sivas -The Forty Martyrs - Route to Erzeroom

August 19, 1836. Sivas is situated at the northern side of the valley of the Kuzul Irmak (ancient Halys), which here spreads out into a broad and fertile plain. On both sides, but particularly on the south, the country is so much higher than the plain as to resemble a ridge of mountains. The situation being level, with the exception of only one small circular elevation in the southwest part, the whole city is seen to very good advantage, and makes a favorable impression at first sight, when approached from the north. It is interspersed with shadetrees, though not buried in them like some of the towns in these parts, and here and there a stately poplar waves its solitary head in the pure atmosphere above. The great number of chimneys, which appear on the tops of the houses, indicate that the winter here is cold, and the people told us that it is quite as severe as at Erzeroom.

This city has experienced quite its share of the vicissitudes of earthly fortune. Here Mithridates, the king of Pontus and the enemy of the Romans, once rolled in luxury, and in this plain he was overthrown by Lucullus, but made his escape through the greediness of the conquerors in seizing upon the spoil. In the beginning of the fifteenth century, when it contained a christian population of 120,000 souls, an Armenian historian says, it surrendered to the victorious Tamerlane, on condition that the lives of the people should be spared. But no sooner were they in his power, than they were massacred in the most barbarous manner.

On the day of our arrival we walked out a short distance to the west of the city, to visit the graves of the Forty Martyrs. According to Armenian tradition, in the early history of Christianity in this country, forty converts were found here, who were required, but refused, to renounce their profession. They were consequently ordered to be cast into a pond of freezing water, while the temptation of a warm bath at hand, was held out to any that would recant One out of the forty yielded, while the rest were cast into the water. While they were thus suffering the pains of martyrdom, forty crowns descended from heaven, thirty-nine of which settled upon the heads of the martyrs, while the fortieth, not finding its owner, went flying about in the air. One of the guard witnessing this, became himself a convert, and forthwith threw himself into the water, upon which the spare crown lighted. They have been enrolled, as a matter of course, in the Armenian calendar of saints, and are supposed to have great influence in heaven.

After visiting the convents and schools, and obtaining what information he was able respecting the religious condition of the people, Mr. Johnston proceeded on his way.

We left Sivas and set out for Erzengan. This was the next place that we wished particularly to see, though it was five days journey from Sivas, and our route led us by several places of interest, which for want of time we were obliged to pass almost without notice. Our first day's ride was up the beautiful and rich valley of the Kuzul Irmak. Our road passed through the midst of wheat fields, and on our right and left the people were engaged with gathering their crops, some reaping, some driving home upon ox carts, and some treading out The manner of this last operation seemed to be universally the scriptural one. The sheaves are spread down upon a hard circular floor of earth in the open field, and pairs of oxen are driven round upon it, dragging after them a kind of sled, consisting of two broad boards jointed together, the under side being thickly set with sharp stones. Upon this the driver stands, with whip or goad in hand, which he uses freely, but permits his animals to eat as much as they choose. I never saw a single ox muzzled while employed in "treading out the corn." A majority of the laborers whom we saw seemed to be Armenians. We passed, during the day, a half dozen of villages, whose population was principally of that nation.


Travels and researches in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and ..., Volume 2 By William Ainsworth 1842

Sivas is a large town containing a population of 16,000 souls, of whom 4000 are Christians. It is the seat of a pasha, very centrally situated, and would afford, now that steamers ply to Samsun, a very excellent depot for English manufactures and goods, which would find a ready market. The business done in the bazaar as it is, is considerable, and the Christian merchants are rich and industrious. The city is not very healthy, being low, and the streets narrow and dirty; but there are many good positions in the neighbourhood.

The old walls of the city no longer exist; but thereare ruins of two castles of different eras, one of which appears to have belonged to the kings of Pontus, to have been strengthened by the Romans, and dilapidated by the wars of the Mohammedans, who again built it up upon former ruins; the other is a more rude structure, apparently of the Turkish era. There is a want of wood in the environs which adds to the naked aspect of the town, but there are some gaudy Mohammedan tombs in the neighbourhood, and also a large Christian monastery to celebrate the well-known martyrdom of the Forty of Sivas. We visited this monastery, and thought a sketch of one of its interior chambers worthy of preservation as characteristic of these buildings.


Narrative of a visit to the Syrian [Jacobite] Church of Mesopo tamia By Horatio Southgate - 1844

We found the whole country, from Zara to Sivas, a distance of thirty-six miles, suffering from the effects of famine. There had been no rain the preceding year, and all the grain which should have been preserved for seed had been consumed by the famishing inhabitants. This year the rains were abundant, but they fell upon uncultivated soil. The people had no grain to put into the ground. Their means had been spent in providing for their families and their cattle, and the price of wheat had increased ten-fold. The peasants of Godin had fared better, as their gains in the capital had enabled them to support themselves during the scarcity, and they were now rejoicing in the prospect of a luxurious harvest. But the other villages, and Zara especially, seemed likely to become entirely depopulated. The people were abroad in the fields collecting weeds and herbs for food. Their wan and haggard appearance was enough of itself to show that they had suffered severely.

.........

Most of our way from Zara to Sivas was over a rich meadow bordering the Kizzil Irmak. We passed several villages and saw wild-fowl in abundance, geese, ducks, and plovers, which seemed never to have been molested in their quiet retreats. Basil made two attempts to shoot a goose with his pistols, but although the game allowed itself to be approached almost near enough to be caught in the oldfashioned way of putting salt on its tail, the exploit was not successful, and we might have felt in our own persons the evil effects of the famine, if there had not been two little lakes near Yarasa, which, to console us for the loss of our fowl, supplied us with an excellent dinner of fish. The only drawback was that the salt which was wanting to catch the first, was not present to season the latter.

.......

"Aug. 1. I did not obtain horses till this morning, and how I was to reach Samsoun in time for the steamer was exceedingly problematical. One whole day had been cut out of the fifteen, and there was left just one day's stage more than I felt myself able to perform before the 6th. However I took heart of hope, and determined to do the best in my power. We left Sivas with a small guard, and came before night to a small village, where the Mussulmans treated me well, gave me a good supper, and made a rousing fire for my comfort. About a quarter of an hour from the city, we passed a large Armenian monastery called Surp Nishan, Holy Cross, where there is a Bishop resident. It is a place of great resort for the Christians on Sundays and other festivals. I was struck with the neatness of every thing around it, which, with the rich green fields and waving grain on every side, betokened ease and abundance. The buildings, too, were apparently new and extensive, presenting altogether a spectacle which struck me the more.

........

I remember that, travelling this road in the month of March, the whole country from Sivas to Hassan Tchelebi, excepting the plain of Ulash,was covered deep with snow. The snow was lying in drifts in the streets of Sivas, and our course north of the city towards Tocat, was interrupted by frequent patches, sometimes extending for miles. Yet when we reached Tocat, every thing wore the appearance of advanced spring. Trees were putting forth their leaves and even their blossoms, the town was dry, and the air was warm and genial.


The Spirit of Missions, the Episcopal Church Board of Mission, 1845

Armenian Papists, "were said to number fifteen families in Sivas and three hundred and fifty in Pirkinik a village near Sivas."

*Roman Catholics


Notes from Nineveh: And Travels in Mesopotamia, Assyria and Syria, James Phillips Fletcher, 1850

Fletcher described Sivas as cold in the winter with "icy blasts from the nearby mountains". In the summer the nights "present a freezing contrast to the heat of the days".

"The modern Sebaste is not celebrated for its cleanliness, as it is one of the most filthy towns I ever passed through: not does it possess and edifice worth noticing. Its only advantage seems to be a fine view of the neighboring mountains".

Commercial statistics: A digest of the productive resources, commercial ... By John Macgregor 1850

Skins. - " ....... Of cow and ox-hides, independent of those remaining for home use, about 50,000 are available for export, a great many cattle brought from Erzeroom and Sivas being annually slaughtered for making pastoormah, or beef preserved with garlic and pepper, and dried in the sun for winter food. Besides providing all Anatolia, Aleppo, and Damascus, 4000 to 5000 packages, or about 6000 cwt. yearly of it, is sent to Constantinople.

.......

On my journey through Sivas, Seid Pacha would not consent to my proceeding without an escort of armed horsemen, as a protection against these marauders, a party of whom had but a short time before pillaged a caravan near Ghurun. Travellers, unaccompanied by a guard, can rarely pass with any chance of safety. Since my arrival, many have been plundered at a short distance from this place, and I am informed that, in summer, passengers from the town are constantly waylaid and robbed. A firman has just been published, authorizing the punishment of death. There is also a report that an expedition against the Kurds is to be undertaken next summer, by the Pachas of Sivas, of Yusgat, and of Koniah.


Report of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions - Page 70 American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions - 1851

Sivas, 54 miles from Tokat, in a fine climate, on the highest table land of Asia Minor. - Armenians, 10,000. The little church, though without a pastor, assembles regularly for worship. There is much religious discussion in the place, and infidelity has raised its standard. A resident missionary is much needed. The Armenians of the 17 villages about Sivas, are calling for instruction.

The Missionary herald at home and abroad, Volume 51 By American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, General Council of the Congregational and Christian Churches, 1855

Sivas is elevated about four thousand feet above the level of the sea. The height of Tocat is estimated at fifteen hundred and eighty feet. The winters of Sivas are usually quite cold; and the snow accumulates to the depth of several feet. Wood, however, is comparatively plenty, and not very expensive. Within the city are vegetable gardens; and some of the more hardy fruit-trees flourish. Some tall poplars and willows give the city a pleasant aspect, as viewed from a distance.

Sivas, unlike all other Turkish cities which I have visited, has unpaved streets; and consequently, in the rainy season, the mud and water in them are very deep. There are rough "side-walks," so called, built with irregular round stones; so that it is possible, even in winter, to go about the city. The number of houses is estimated at a little more than eight thousand. This gives a population of nearly or quite fifty thousand. Of these, 36,000 are Turks; 12,000 are Armenians, and the rest are Greeks, except a few Catholic-Armenians. Strange to say, no Jews are found here. The Pasha resides in the city. Near at hand are more than fifty villages ; full one half of which are Armenian. The plain of Sivas, though so elevated, produces excellent wheat and barley; but outside of the city not a tree is visible.


The Bombay quarterly review, Volume 7, 1858

On the next plateau stands the city of Sivas, a place similar to Amasia in population, but of greater importance than Amasia. The river Halys, supposed to be the Pisou of Scripture, is said by Chesney to be useless for the purposes of navigation on account of its rocky bed and of the steep descent by which it reaches the Euxine, but in length of course, and in volume, it rivals the principal rivers of Asia. In the neighbourhood of Sivas it is spanned by two stone bridges built in the form of two sides of a triangle. Within the city of Sivas there are more objects of interest than are usually to be met with in a Turkish town, amongst them a redoubt and an extensive cemetery, and through the town an arm of the Halys flows. In the spring time this city, like every other town in Turkey, is the receptacle of an almost inconceivable amount of mud, and the traveller who presents himself in the market-place is sure here as elsewhere to be threatened with demolition by a pack of hungry curs. Some idea may be formed of the importance of this the ancient capital of Cappadocia by the fact that there are now no fewer than a hundred mosques within its walls. The great plain on which it stands is said to be extremely fertile, and it affords pasture to vast herds of cattle. A village above Sivas, called Yelietass, marks the highest point of this road across the Taurus range. We have now travelled a distance of two hundred and fifty miles from Samsun by the road, and at the subterranean village of Yelietass we are six thousand four hundred and seventy feet above the level of the sea. The following figures show the height of Amasia, Tocat, and Sivas respectively. Amasia 1,070; Tocat 2,346; Sivas 4,670. From these figures it will be seen that the last portion of the ascent is remarkably steep, since Yelietass is but one stage distant from Sivas. Here for six months of each year the mountains are covered with snow, and during those months the inhabitants live almost entirely under ground. But for the smoke ascending from the chimneys a traveller might pass the village without knowing of its existence. From this spot nothing is visible but snow. Range after range of hills appears in endless succession ; nothing can exceed the glory of a sunrise or sunset in these mountains, but on the whole pleasurable sensations by no means predominate during the first portion of the descent from Yelietass. The stage-horses of Turkey are, under the most favorable circumstnnces, but sorry brutes, but when they are called upon to carry their burdens over loose snow several feet deep, they require no ordinary management and encouragement. All this time the cold is intense, and not even the strongest Russian leather can prevent the wet snow from fin ding its way to the traveller's feet. It is the work of hours to accomplish this descent, and probably ere the plain is gained a torrent of rain has added to the misery of the horseman.

Storia universale della Chiesa cattolica dal principio del ..., Volumes 27-28 By René François Rohrbacher 1855

See Pirkinik


Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition: Carried on by Order of the British ..., Francis Rawdon 1868

"The town or city - which was said, in round numbers, to contain 5,000 Mohammedan and 1,000 Armenian houses - does a considerable business in cereals, which constitute the chief produce of the plain; for at an elevation of nigh 5,000 feet above the level of the sea neither mulberries, grapes, not pomegranates were said to flourish".

Travels in Little-known Parts of Asia Minor, Henry John Van Lennep, 1870

Van Lennep stated that because of the altitude not many trees grow in the area and that there were no fruit trees because the winters were too cold (all fruit had to be brought in from other places). "poplars are planted near every watercourse, but chiefly in enclosed gardens, in order to obtain rafters to support heavy roofs of clay."

He added that "Sivas presents the appearance of a flat-roofed town, with here and there a modern looking tiled house." A few of the streets of Sivas had recently been paved at the time of his visited but he noted that the majority were very muddy in winter due to the abundant snowfall which lay on the ground all winter. He commented that common sewers lay open in many streets.


Telegraph and travel, telegraphic communication between England and India By Frederic John Goldsmid (sir.), 1874

"July 11. -Sivas: 6 hours, or 20 miles. Good road among the mountains, with descent into a high, broad plain, watered by the Kizil Irmak, or 'red river.' Met camels bringing hemp from Tokat, which Plato tells me is manufactured into ropes there prior to export, and grows abundantly in the neighbourhood. Less than half way, Tuzlu Punar, the 'salt spring,' where the Ottoman Government has posted two of its servants to make the most of the produce. Realization stated at 40,000 piastres, or 400 per annum; but Sivas has much more salt than in this one spot. The aspect of the city from the distant heights is pleasing. Dotted here and there with trees, at times in large extended clusters, the houses and citadel cover a vast space, and appear much scattered. Met by the telegraph superintendent, M. Efendi, at several miles out of the town: a youngish but self-contident man of pleasing address, not unlike an Indian irregular horseman. White coat, waistcoat, and trousers, high polished boots - such was his attire; and he rode a smart white horse with a smart embroidered saddlecloth, military saddle, and holsters. His face is plain, pitted with small-pox, by which one eye has been sensibly affected; nor has he the advantage of hair on the cheek, upper lip, or chin, to conceal defects: but his manners promise well for an Asiatic, and I am favourably prepossessed in his behalf. After crossing the bridge at the Kizil Inuak (Sultan Murad's again), a body of horsemen under their Sirkardeh received us from the Pasha, and escorted us into the town. This was an honour for which I was not prepared. Put up at the Serai, where also is the telegraph office...........

"July 12. - Make up my mind to halt until the 16th, for two or three strong reasons. K. requires rest, and so do the horses. Call on Dr. W.*, whom I take to be a physician-missionary here. Meet a Mr. L. and another gentleman, and Mrs. V. and Mrs. L. Afterwards called on the Pasha, who gave me a cordial welcome, and with whom I did a chibouk or two and some coffee. He put me much in mind of the generally received portraits of one of our best known modern Indian heroes. The Efendi gave me about four hours of his society to-day, thereby showing a deplorable ignorance or recklessness of the value of time. He does not sport his chibouk, but cigarettes and nugae may become equally impediments to progress. I have asked him to dine with us to-morrow. Plato would, I feel sure, like to join; but our habits will not admit of it, although they tell me he was once a collector of customs on the Bosnian frontier, and that a certain Mudir of a district near Baghdad was his clerk! Dr. W. estimates the population of Sivas at 10,000 houses, or from 40,000 to 50,000 souls, of which more than a fifth are Armenian. Bought good woollen stockings made here, and tasted splendid tobacco of the country. Bread good, meat also. Wine of a pale straw colour, like bad, sharp beer or flat cider; very different from the cheery red wine of Kharput. Cherry ice today - a great luxury. The view from our windows over the tops of houses and towards the hills, immediately above a little bit of quasi-garden, is certainly less Asiatic than we had been led to expect. But the English sky and climate have, perhaps, more to do with the feeling of nearness to one's fatherland than more tangible things. Thermometer in the heat of the day only 78°

* Dr. West.

On Horseback Through Asia Minor Vol 1, Captain Fred Burnaby, 1877

Captain Brunaby stayed with and an Armenian family in Sivas in a "clean looking house, which faced the Pasha's residence".

He says that one of the missionaries in Sivas had negative feelings towards the Turks but even worse towards the Armenian.

"It was clear that he had not formed a favorable opinion of the Sultan's Mohammedan subjects; but when I changed the conversation to the Armenians, I found that the company looked upon them as being quite as ignorant as the Turks, and much more deceitful."

"The good missionaries found the conversion of these superstitious and ignorant Christians of the East a very difficult and uphill task. Indeed I subsequently heard from some Armenian Roman Catholics, who might have been prejudiced in making the statement, that most to the converts to Protestantism were from among the Armenian shop-keepers who supplied the mission with goods."

The monastery of Nishan or of the Cross;
"stands on a rising slope, about two miles from Sivas. Its Gothic towers, more than 500 years old, look upon the town and neighboring villages, and can be seen form many miles around."*
The Armenian merchants in Sivas used the telegraph to learn of the fluctuations in the monetary value of the Turkish paper money while the local inhabitants would not know for two weeks or more of the changes in value. The Armenian merchants were able to make large sums of money by buying up all of the gold in the district "pocketing the difference between the actual exchange and that which passed as current in Sivas."

Burnaby observed that there wasn't much export trade from Sivas. Tobacco was the staple produce of the area. All imported items were expensive because of the difficulty of bring it overland from Samson, as the roads between Sivas and Samson were poor.

*The ruins of the monestary were razed in 1978.


A History of the Empire and People of Turkey and the War in the East , R. A. Hammond 1878

"The town covers a large area, within which are numerous ruins, but the houses, upon the whole, are well built and intermingled with gardens, which, with the numerous minarets, give the place a cheerful aspect. The bazaars are well stocked, many of them with articles of foreign manufacture".

Considerable transit trade passes through the town- various Asiatic products being sent thence, on its wasy to Constantinople, for shipment at the port of Samoon, on the Black Sea."

Timber for building was brought down from the surrounding forests.


Arthur's illustrated home magazine, Volume 47 1879

"SIVAS is a town in Asia Minor, on the east bank of the river Kizil-Irmak, It is situate one hundred and sixty-five miles south-west from Trebizond, eighty-seven north-east from Kaisariyek, and four hundred and fifty south-east from Constantinople, on the range of mountains and mountain plains stretching from the Anti-Taurus to Armenia. It is the capital of a pashalic which comprehends the whole eastern part of Asia Minor, and which still bears the name of Rum, or Rameyah, which was applied to the whole Turkish Empire before its expansion. The valley of the Kizil -Irmak, the ancient Halys, here spreads out into a broad and fertile plain. The situation being level, with the exception of only a small circular elevation in the south-west, the whole city is seen to much advantage when approached from the south. It is interspersed with trees, without being buried in them, like most of the towns in these parts. The great number of chimneys seen above the housetops indicate that the winter is severe, and the inhabitants affirm that it is as cold as at Erzerum. The houses are well-built, partly tiled, partly fiat-roofed, and intermingled with gardens. There are two old castles and several fine mosques, and these, with the numerous minarets, give a cheerful aspect to the place. The bazaars are extensive and well stocked with goods, including many of British manufactures. The consumption of Sivas itself, and the circumstance of its furnishing supplies to many places, causes its trade to be extensive.

The place was once called Caliva, a name that was changed to Diopolis by Pompey, and subsequently to Sebaste, of which the present name is a corruption. Sivas was the summer residence of the king of Pontus. It was one of the last possessions of Mithridates, and was captured, with that king's treasure, after a terrible battle on the plain above the city. During the Greek Empire at Constantinople, Sivas was of some account in church history. The first Gregory is said to have been the father of its churches, and Basil and the second Gregory founders of the many monasteries around it.

Under the Saracens, the city was ornamented with splendid edifices, ruins of which still remain. When the Ottoman Empire had its capital at Broosa, Sivas was garrisoned by Armenians; the city was captured by Timour, Bajazit's son slain, and four thousand of the Armenian garrison buried alive (A. D. 1401). As we have intimated, it is the seat of a pasha, as it has always been during the reign of the Sultans. The Armenian Board now has flourishing mission stations at this city and at some neighboring towns and villages.

The present population is about twenty-five thousand, of whom about one-fifth are Armenians and the remainder Moslems, besides the transient European and American residents.


Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and monthly record ..., Volume 6 By Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain) - 1884

The Armenians are most numerous in the vilayet of Sivas; but there are large settlements near Isnik, Brusa, and Afiuni Karahissar descended from colonies forcibly planted in those places by the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks. In Angora there is a large Roman Catholic Armenian community, a large proportion of which came from Armenia during the present century. The Armenians present more than one variety of type; and the difference between the Armenian mountaineer of the Taurus and Giaour Dagh and the Armenian of the Anatolian towns on the plateau is most striking. The Armenians carry on much of the commerce of Anatolia, and they are equally successful as large merchants or small pedlars. The extent of some of their operations may be gathered from the fact that one merchant at Sivas sends his agents to Bokhara, Samarcand, and the remotest towns of Central Asia; the men are sometimes away for three or four years, and generally return with a handsome profit on their venture. The system is not unlike that which seems to have prevailed in the Middle Ages, when merchants made long and perilous land journeys which lasted for several years. The Armenians of the Bozuk, as the country round Yuzgat is called, are great camel breeders, and they and the Turkomans breed the fine Tulu camels which are so much admired, by the passing traveller, on the quays at Smyrna. The Tulii is a cross between a Bactrian, two-humped, father and a Syrian mother; he has one hump, like his mother, but in other respects, especially the fine head and abundant beard, follows his father. The Tulu is invaluable in Anatolia as he works in mud and snow, which would soon kill the Syrian camel; he cannot, however, stand great heat, and in summer he is taken off to the plateau, and is replaced on the coast by the Syrian camel. The Armenians often make long journeys to Turkestan or Tiflis in search of good Bactrian stock; and in the breeding season the males are sent round from village to village, as stallions are in this country."

Reports from the consuls of the United States By United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce - 1884

Sivas. — The next important point on the line is Sivas, a city of 40,000 inhabitants. As this city occupies an important strategical position commanding the approaches from the Russian and Persian frontiers, is the center of a very large grain district and is the natural starting point for a branch road to the Black Sea on the north, it will undoubtedly become one of the main points on the line. The trade of the city is entirely in the hands of the Armenians. It consists of hides, grain, rugs, wool, carpets, silver wire work, vegetables dyes, etc. East and northeast of Sivas is an extensive mineral district, the center of which is Kara Hizzar. This region abounds in argentiferous lead, coal, asbestos and, marble. While the road will probably not run directly through this district it will be near enough to it to afford means for transportation of ore, and thus open up resources which are now useless. Continuing southeast from Sivas the route passes Arabkir, a thriving town of 29,000 inhabitants. The people are principally engaged in the manufacture of coarse cotton cloth from English yarn on hand looms. There are probably one thousand looms in use.

The Hubbards of Sivas (1870s to 1890s), Edwin W. Martin

Albert and Emma Hubbard were American Protestant missionaries to Sivas from the 1870s to the 1890s. The book, The Hubbards of Sivas, is based on diaries and letters written by Albert and Emma Hubbard to their family in the states and to each other in times of separation. It gives a few glimpses into live in Sivas.

Traveling from Constantinople to Sivas in 1873 to 1894

"The next leg of the Hubbard's journey to Sivas took them from Constantinople to Samsoon (Samsun) a Black Sea voyage of about 200 miles. From Samsoon they rode seventy miles by horseback to Marsovan (Mersifon), where there was a substantial mission station and college."

From Marsovan it was a further 150 miles by horseback or wagon to Sivas. Sometimes there were roads and sometimes there were none. It took them an additional 7 days of travel to get from Marsovan to Sivas.

On the first day they covered 24 miles and stopped in Amasia. They had their own bedding but fleas and bed bugs were a problem; alleviated somewhat by flea powder.

From Amasia they traveled 27 miles to find a kahn that was "half stable half other" with one room for all the lodgers, men and women.

On day three the group traveled only 16 miles but stopped in a first class kahn which had separated rooms with doors, but no tables and chairs.

On day four they covered 28 miles and arrived at Tokat in the mid afternoon where they stopped at the Protestant mission for a few days.

The next leg took them 21 miles with no comments about the accommodations.

On day six of their traveling they covered 18 miles and stopped at a place where the fleas were so bad and they opted to sleep in the carriage.

The last segment was a further 18 miles to Sivas.

At another point Albert describes going to the annual meeting in Constantinople as

"a considerable journey overland to the Black Sea port of Samsoon followed by a brief sea voyage."
In 1877 the journey from Sivas to Samsoon took 10 days.

There was no harbor in Samsoon and the ship was reached by a small row boat.

The horse and camel communication with Constantinople was open all winder despite heavy snows in the area.

There were wild mountains to the southeast of Sivas.

In 1894 the road to Constantinople via Cesarea and Angora (Ankara) was longer and "obstructed by quarantine".

In 1894 it took Alfred two weeks and a day to get from Sivas to Constantinople.

In 1894 Alfred also left for the states aboard a French ship from Constantinople which stopped in Marseilles. From Sivas they sailed eighteen houses to Piraeus, where the ship stopped for two hours. He does not say how long it took form Piraeus to Marseilles.

On his return to Sivas he left Constantinople on June 8th and reached Samsoon on the 10 and started overland the same day arriving in Sivas on the 19th of June.

Hazards of Travel

Robberies were common on the mountain roads of Anatolia.

The City of Sivas

Sivas was described as,

"A somewhat remote provincial capital in the vast Ottoman Empire, hoping that a projected railroad would some day restore its importance as a regional trade center. Still dependent on horse and wagon and oxcart for its trade links with the sea and with Constantinople, the city had changed little of the centuries."
Disease

There was cholera in Sivas in 1894 for the first time in forty years Earthquake

Turkey was hit with an earth quake in the Constantinople region in July 9 , 1894.

Eating

The Armenians ate on a "small round table not more than a foot high, and three or four in diameter." For each person who is to eat put a wooden spoon & a piece of bread on the edge of the table, and a cushion on the floor. The food is one deep dish in the center.

Each person ate from the common dish. If there is more than one course they were eaten in succession. The first dish being removed and another put in its place. The last cooked dish to be eaten was pilaf.

Stoves are holes in the ground over which are put tables and over the tables are spread large heavy comfortables. Hot coals are put in these holes and gusts who are cold sit down on the floor and tuck hands and feet under comfortables, over coals. This is also their dining table.

Roman Catholics in the Area

The Jesuits were active in the area. They "spent lots of money" and "were doing everything in their power to draw the people" and were having "apparent success", "They teach free, and feed the poor a great deal".

Albert talks of two churches in Sivas, "the Catholic church and the Jesuit's church".

1895-1897

On November 22, 1895 about 1,200 Armenians were killed in Sivas. About four "Mohamendas" were also killed.

America State Department Consul Jewett wrote:

" Turks tell me that the massacre and pillage here were under the management of the mayor of the city and other officials and prominent Turks. They say the money saves were taken in storage by the Chief of the Gendarmes and his men who opened them and divided the spoils. Now those most responsible for the outrage are constituted by the governor into commission to investigate and reestablish peace and friendship. Not a Mohammedan has been arrested. There is no officer to make the arrests who is not himself one of the most guilty parties. Officers tell me that there is not an Armenian village left unruined in this part of the country except one that the Governor protects and another which is a Catholic village, and it is well-known the Catholic Patriarch has been courting the favor of the Sultan."
He also alleges that the Moslems were trying to convert the Armenians, to force their men to be circumcised, and were raping or carrying off the young women.

In 1896 there were continual reports of massacres and the Armenians were "afraid to move or be seen" and were living in terror. Alfred added that the Consul thought that "the gov't is doing its best to prevent such things here".

On a trip to Egin to escort a female missionary to Sivas Alfred spent several nights on the road talking to Kurds about the destruction of the Armenian villages in the area. He obtained the following information about the massacres:

Arabkir, of "4,000 Armenian houses only 300 were left unburnt".

Pingan, of "187 Armenian houses 175 were totally destroyed and fifty nine persons, including ten women and girls, murdered. Days after this massacre, on the banks of t he Euphrates below the town, lay corpses, still exposed."

Zismara, "where all had been driven in terror to the mountains and six persons killed."

Divik, "forty men killed last year and its recent fright when three men, escaped to the mountains, were cut down."

Egin where "from 1040 wealthy Armenian houses, 800 had recently been plundered and burned, and every accessible male of the age of twelve, murdered."

The unrest continued in 1897 when in March of that year the stores were closed and the people in Sivas were "in terror" for two weeks. Some of the surrounding villages were attacked including Tokat where 400 were killed and most of the village looted.

Bighan does no have much to say about the physical aspects of Sivas or about the local people except the Europeans and the officials.


Information supplied by the American Missionaries to General Sir C. Wilson and forwarded by him to Sir H. Yule.

"One of the oldest churches in Sivas is St. George (Sourp-Kevork), occupied by the Greeks, but claimed by the Armenians; it is situated near the centre of the town, in what is called the "Black Earth," the spot where Timur is said to have massacred the garrison. A few steps north of St. George is the Church of St. Blasius, occupied by the Roman Catholic Armenians. The tomb of St. Blasius, however, is shown in another part of the town, near the citadel mount, and the ruins of a very beautiful Seljukian Medresseh."
Armenian Apostolic Churches in Sivas Apostolic: Holy Virgin, St Sergis, St Minae, St. Savior.

Note: These are not the same listed by Robert Hewsen, see below.

Roman Catholic Church: St. Blasius


Supplementary papers, Volume 3 By Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain), 1893

PART III

NOTES ON ROADS IN THE VILAYKT OF SIVAS. By J. A. E. Munro.

The road-systems on either side of the upper Halys, northwards to the Black Sea and southwards to the Taurus, converge upon Sivas.

From this centre radiate roads leading to Kaisariye, Gyurun, Malatia, and Devrik on the one side, and to Yuzgat, Samsun, Unie, Ordu, Kara Hissar, and Erzinjian on the other. The great highway of communication between the north and west and the south and east lies over the Chamli Bel and the passes south of the Halys, which is spanned near Sivas by two stone bridges. By this route pass the post-road to Baghdad, and a considerable caravan and araba traffic. It is easy to understand the importance of Sivas in such a situation.

That importance is of no recent growth. Sivas is the modern representative of the ancient Sebastea, which was probably Pompey's Megalopolis, renamed in early imperial times. The lack of inscriptions* and other relics of antiquity may suggest that the modern town does not occupy the exact site of the ancient; but several magnificent buildings attest the fact that Sivas was one of the earliest seats of the Seljuk power in Asia Minor. The position has, indeed, been of capital importance ever since there were roads in the country; and quite recently (1884-5-6), a complete network of good chaussees1 has been extended from this centre throughout the vilayet. Sivas is thus the natural starting-point for an account of the roads in this part of Asia Minor, whether ancient or modern.

Sivas lies in the flat plain of the Halys, about a mile from the right bank, at an elevation of 5077 feet (24-95: 71º) above sea-level. The river-bed is here about 80 yards wide, and is crossed by a stone bridge of 18 arches, with a slight bend against the current in mid-stream. The river, although not large in summer, is fairly rapid; and great quantities of timber are floated down from the hills along its upper waters to the bridge, where they are hauled on shore by teams of oxen. The other bridge is a couple of miles lower down.

* One from Pilkinik1, "one mile or more from Sivas;" 'Journal of Philology,' 1882, p. 150.

1 They are, however, already in need of repair. Many of the wooden bridges in particular have collapsed, and torrents have swept away the road in places.

Roads south of Halys

Of the roads south of the Halys we are here concerned only with those which lead from Sivas to the valley of the Tokhma Su, one to Malatia, near the Euphrates, the other to Gyurun, at the upper end of the valley, just above the junction of the two branches of the river. The former is the highway from Constantinople to Baghdad; the latter has only recently been made practicable for wheels. For the first 25 miles they coincide.

Leaving Sivas by the upper bridge, the road ascends abruptly 1300 feet, and descends again by a long gully to the Turkish village of Bardabash, which lies beside a small salt lake about half a mile to the light. After crossing a second ridge (5818 feet : 24'30), an open, wellcultivated valley is reached, where beside two large salt lakes is the Christian village of Ulash, six native hours from Sivas. The village contains 140 houses, and has a prosperous air, rich in crops and cattle. Very large salt-pans exist near it, and gypsum is to be seen everywhere where rock crops out. An araba road (not a chaussee) from Tonos and Kaisariye comes in here.

Through travellers will save a wide detour by taking the track to the left of the main road before reaching Ulash, and following the telegraph along the eastern shore of the salt lakes close under the Terja Dagh.

An hour south of Ulash the road forks to Gyurun and Malatia. The Malatia branch bears away to the south-east, up a grassy valley watered by a clear stream, to the pass of Delikli Tash. This pass is the one striking point between Sivas and Eangal, and forms the watershed between the Halys and the Euphrates. The road is confronted by the wall of a plateau 1000 feet high, up the face of which it climbs under precipitous crags. The most prominent of these is the great Delik Tash, which gives its name to the pass. There is no ravine -merely a steep winding ascent. The view of the valley and scarped slopes of the Terja Dagh from the summit is impressive but dreary. At the base lies Maghra, an Armenian village, and half a mile over the edge of the platform is the village of Delikli Tash. The upland extends for about five miles, sloping very gently to the south, and is succeeded by open, undulating country, over which the road winds for two hours to Kangal. The levels over this section of the route are: Ulash (5483 feet: 24"60: 71°); a mill on the stream below Delikli Tash (5711 feet: 24-40); village of Delikli Tash (6879 feet: 23-40 : 67°); Kangal (5582 feet: 24-5). On August 10th the thermometer registered only 67° Fahr. in the shade at 11 A.m. at Delikli Tash.

The general aspect of the country is much alike on both sides of the watershed. If there is a distinction, the south is even more bare and monotonous than the north. The whole land lies so high, that the hills lack character; they have no striking outlines, but rather run in continuous ridges. There is a total lack of trees, and the not inconsiderable area of cultivation, chiofly corn-land, is lost in the general barrenness.

Kangal is reckoned 14 caravan hours from Sivas and 33 from Malatia. It is a large village, half Turkish, half Armenian, situated in a wide shallow basin between low hills. The land round about is well cultivated. There is a mosque with a new minaret, and an Armenian church. The village is evidently of some antiquity, for the church, now mostly of wood, has been rebuilt partly of older materials, and fragments from buildings are to be found in the cemetery. In the church is treasured an illuminated Armenian manuscript of the Gospels, with a rich binding ornamented with brass figures and red stones, said to be eight centuries old. The Roman road from Sebastea to Melitene must have followed much the same course as the modern route; and Professor Ramsay has very plausibly placed the Euspoena of the Antonine Itinerary at Eangal.

We here leave the Malatia road and strike south-westwards to rejoin the Gyurun road at Manjulik. The intervening country is arid and bare, open valleys between low white earthy hills, and very desolate. The only village on the road (which is easy and fairly level, although not "made") is Tirza Khan, a group of miserable hovels with a bad reputation, of about 21 hours from Kangal. A mile farther on the little Chamali Su must be forded, and three quarters of an hour later a direct road from Derende to the north is crossed, half an hour before reaching Manjulik. A wooden bridge leads across the Ginolu Su to the village, which straggles up a lateral dere. There are 120 houses, all Armenian. At the top of the village is an old church and monastery, well built, but in simple style. It was in Manjulik that we copied a little Greek sepulchral inscription, the only antiquity encountered between Gyurun and Sivas.

To the south and west of Manjulik stretches Uzun Yaila, an elevated tract of country, very sparsely inhabited, and haunted by predatory nomads, chiefly Circassians. It is traversed by cross-roads to Azizie, south-west, and to Tonos, north-west, whence Ainsworth reached Manjulik. The Gyurun chaussee runs straight across a level plateau for about an hour and a half, and then for an equal distance over uneven ground to Buyu Delik, a poor Turkish village nestling under steep crags. The road here enters on a barren upland.........

Let us now return to Sivas, and make a fresh start eastwards along the north bank of the Halys to Enderes. The road, a new chaussee, in fairly good order, keeps the river valley, but at some distance from the river itself. The ground is mostly level, a bare and dry but fertile plain, broken by occasional knolls. Distant mountains close the view the branch road to Ptandaris, situated at Tanir in the valley of the Khurman Sn, diverging before Arabissus on either side. There is a considerable timber traffic, and we noted that the harvest was being gathered with European pitchforks and rakes - a sign of the influence of the model farm recently founded at Sivas.

The road passes between two Armenian villages about three hours from Sivas, Hanza on the left and Boyudun on the right. An hour later it reaches Guvre, a very mean place, supplied only with brackish water. Here a low spur is crossed, and the road gradually approaches tho river until at Koch Hissar (5271 feet: 24-80: 75°), five hours from Sivas, there intervenes less than a mile. Opposite to Koch Hissar a bold bluff projects from the end of a low ridge into the stream, and astride on the neck of this promontory is Kemis, a mixed village of 55 houses, which obviously preserves the name of the ancient Camisa, an important station and fortress on the road from Sebastea to Nicopolis. Except a splinter of column and some fragments of an old church, there are few traces of antiquity.

A wooden bridge crosses the Halys under the eastern face of the rock, and it is probable that there was an ancient bridge at about the same point; for, although there is no reason to suppose that the Eoman road followed the south bank of the river rather than the north, and Koch Hissar, itself a strong position on a precipitous rise commanding the road, may claim to represent the more important part of Camisa, yet if Eumeis is really a corruption of Camisa (as the distance to Zara suggests), the direct road of the Itinerary from Arabissus to Nicopolis seems to imply a bridge there. The military importance of the station also favours this hypothesis........

1 Pelkinik =Pirkinik

Across Asia on A Bicycle, Century Magazine, May 1894

"The comparative size and prosperity of Sivas, in the midst of rather barren surroundings, are explained by the fact that it lies at the converging point of the chief caravan routes between Euxine, Euphrates, and Mediterranean. Besides being the capital of Ruminli, the former Seljuk province of Cappadocia, it is the place of residence for a French and American consular representative, and an agent of the Russian government for the collection of the war indemnity, stipulated in the treaty of '78."
Note: The Black Sea was known as the Euxine Sea in the antiquity.


A Ride Through Western Asia, Clive Bigham, 1897

In 1897 Sivas was divided into different quarters; Turkish, Armenian, and Circassian.

The road from Angora (Ankanra) to Sivas

"is as bad as it can be — in some places a mere track over the rocks. We hired a common county cart call and "araba" furnished with a hood, to carry the luggage. The price as far as Sivas (290) miles was £4 pounds 15 s."
Bighham road on horseback while his guide wrote on the supply cart. They bought red wine as the water was not drinkable due to cholera. They also brought bread, rice, potatoes and cooking oil but no meat as it was too hot to store it. They bought chickens and eggs along the way the way.

They started on July 25 for Sivas. They had to cross the hot plains between Angora and Sivas. The heat was the most intense Bigham had ever experienced. Meat was difficult to get; fruit dangerous. There were no vegetables except cucumbers. Eggs and chickens were cheap.

Bigham consistently described the Armenians as dirty and unwashed; afraid of water.

Along the way they met some Armenians traveling in wagons dressed "in semi-European clothes" who told them they were traveling to Angora for purposes of trade. The Armenians were not allowed to carry weapons so they traveled in large numbers for protection.

"The Kurds are in general far more attractive to the casual observer than the Armenians. In spite of their brigand lives they are more honest and straightforward, and they bear pain with remarkable fortitude. They probably suffer as much, if not more, at the hands of the Government, but their plaints do not reach so far."
It took them nine days to travel the 290 miles between Angora and Sivas.


Message from the President ... transmitting, in response to the resolution ... By United States. Dept. of State 1902

SIVAS, TURKEY

Sivas, the capital of the province of the same name, has a population of 40,000, about one-third of whom are Armenians. The houses in the city are built principally of mud and are in a poor state of preservation. The streets are narrow, tortuous, very filthy, and most of them unpaved. The water supply is badly arranged and insufficient.

The climate is rigorous, owing to the fact that the city is situated among the mountains, 4,500 feet above the sea. Winter is long; summer hot and dry. Little or no rain falls from June 1 to September 1. Malarial fever and smallpox are endemic. Typhus and typnoid fever are prevalent in the winter. Hundreds of street dogs are the chief scavengers of the city.

Sivas is a way station on the great caravan routes from Bagdad to the Black Sea and Constantinople. It is the center of a fairly rich agricultural region. The shops and bazaars exchange local and imported manufactured goods for agricultural products. The principal industries are making rugs, shoes, stockings, copper utensils, stoves, wagons, tobacco pipes, knives, and swords. With the exception of rugs, most of these products remain in the province.

There is no direct trade with the United States. A small quantity of American cotton cloth is brought from Constantinople. Singer sewing machines are having a considerable sale. Hides and wool are sent to Constantinople and Smyrna in considerable quantities, and may go thence to the United States. The nearest seaport is Samsoun. seven days distant (twelve days for caravan). The nearest railroad terminus is at Angora, nine days distant (eighteen days for caravan). The roads are bad, but the best in Asia Minor. Most of the freight is carried on the backs of camels, horses, and donkeys.

The chief imports are cloth, cotton yarn, sugar, coffee, petroleum, and glass, but almost every kind of manufactured goods is imported. No factories of any importance exist in this country.

The general cost of living for foreigners is about the same as it is in the United States.

There are 14 American citizens residing at Sivas and over 50 living in the consular district.

DUTIES.

The principal duties of this consulate consist of the protection of American citizens residing in the district and of American mission property. But 2 invoices of goods shipped to the United States during the fiscal year ending June 30. 1901.

OFFICE.

The office of the consulate is in a building located near the American mission in Sivas. Its chief articles of furniture are 2 desks. 3 divans. 1 table, 3 armchairs, 2 easy-chairs, 2 swivel chairs. 3 cabinets, 1 rug. 2 carpets, and 1 letter press. Annual rental, $156.40; total office expenses during the vear were $331.37.

OFFICER.

Milo A. Jewett, consul, was born of American parents, at Sivas, Turkey, October 27, 1857; educated in the public schools of Milwaukee, Wis., the seminary at Newbury, Vt., and at Harvard University; graduated in medicine in 1881; was assistant superintendent of the State Hospital for the Insane at Danvers, Mass., for ten years; appointed consul March 29, 1892.


Money, Land and Trade: An Economic History of the Muslim Mediterranean By Nelly Chapter 8* The Private Papers of an Armenian Merchant Family in the Ottoman Empire 1912-14 By Armin Kredian

"The Armenian townspeople in the vilayet of Sivas were engaged mainly imprinting cotton hangings, painting and dying, textile weaving, sewing, belt making, carpet making, shoe making, and watch reparing; they also worked as blacksmiths, carpenters and Masons."

The American Catholic quarterly review, Volume 42 edited by James Andrew Corcoran, Patrick John Ryan, Edmond Francis Prendergast - 1917

At Sivas, which was the birthplace of Mekitar, there is the monastery of St. Nishan, in which the Bishop of Sivas resides. This monastery was founded in the thirteenth century. It is described as spotlessly clean, cleanliness being an Armenian virtue, but it is very bare; the walls are covered with plain hangings; heavy, paddedleather curtains take the place of doors to the cells and the woodwork is unpainted; the whole place is warmed only by charcoal braziers.

The Bishop of Sivas has no bed of roses, for he is always opposed by the Turkish authorities on the one liand and by the Greek Orthodox Church on the other. The late Bishop of Sivas was cruelly murdered in the latest Armenian massacre, when he was shod with iron and driven forth and made to march till he succumbed to the torture and died. Sivas is the ancient celebrated city of Sebastea, the old Seljuk capital, and still one of the largest cities of Asia Minor, but by no means an attractive place. It is haunted by memories of Timur the Great, who is said to have buried alive 4,000 Armenians there, in a place still called the Black Earth. But modern Armenian atrocities are quite equal to if not surpassing in horror anything Timur did. Under Abdul Hainid, in 1895 and 1896, thousands of Armenians suffered martyrdom rather than give up their faith for the Moslem religion; 100,000 then perished.

Written by Darley Dale. Sources: Childs, W. J. - "Across Asia Minor on Foot." 1917. Buxton. Noel & Harold - "Travels and Politics in Armenia." 1914. Hogarth. D. G. - "The Nearer East." 1905.
Ottoman Manufacturing in the Age of the Industrial Revolution By Donald Quataert, 1993

Until 1890 Sivas rugs were made in the small villages in the countryside around Sivas. In 1890 the government established 300 looms in the city of Sivas itself. These rugs were of different design and contained more knots per square inch that the country rugs. By 1902 there were 2,000 looms in the city. In 1911, in addition rugs being made on home looms, rug factories employed thousands of "little Armenian girls". 350 villages in the state of Sivas had about 10,000 looms.


Greenmantle, John Buchan, 1916

Greenmantle is an adventure and espionage story set in Turkey during WW I with four English spies who travel from Constantinople through Ankara and on to the Russ-Turkish border to Erzerum.

From Chapter Sixteen, The Battered Caravaseai

"About midday we descended on a wide plain full of the marks of rich cultivation. Villages became frequent, and the land was studded with olive groves and scarred with water furrows. From what I remembered of the map I judged that we were coming to that champagne country near Siwas, which is the granary of Turkey, and the home of the true Osmanli stock."
Note: Siwas=Sivas


Crossing Asia Minor, The Country Of The New Turkish Republic, Major Robert Whitney Imbrie, National Geographic, 1924

In 1924 Angora (Ankara), the new capital of Turkey had no sewage system, no sidewalks, and no streetlights. It can be assumed the same was true for Sivas.

There were no hotels in all of Anatolia in 1924. Travelers stayed in the Khan. A type of oriental inn, the khan was an enclosed courtyard surrounded by a wall (mud or wood). On at least one side there was a two-story structure. The lower story contained stables. The upper story had rooms for guests. However many guests camped in the courtyard. The guest was obliged to provide all of his/her necessities: food, bedding, drink. Hygiene was almost completely lacking and the Khan was full of bugs. Most western travels only stayed in the Khan for protection from bandits.

Sivas is about 200 miles due east across the Mysian plateau from Ankara. Imbrie describes the trip from Ankara to Sivas as "over parched and dreary country with little to relieve the eye" and "Lonely open country with out much water".

Two days out from Kaisariye near Shehr Kishla the country began to change.

"Occasionally we would cross a small stream bordered by cottonwood trees.

We began to meet people- a cape- draped horseman, long dagger slanted across his hip, carbine in hand who perhaps had been three months in the saddle on his ride from Persia, or an old lady atop a buffalo cart, its ungreased wooden wheels shrieking to heaven, spinning along at the dizzy rate of a mile and a half an hour.

Now and then we were fortunate enough to find a group of trees by a spring at which to rest at noon."

Out of Shehr Kishla towards Sivas:
"We rode through a land forlorn, between bare hills and with never a tree in sight.

We were now less than 30 miles from the town of Sivas, and so, getting an early start, we left the packhorse to follow with the orderly and pushed ahead. The road climbed steadily, and by 10 o'clock we had reached an altitude of 5,600 feet, where we traversed a pass. We crossed another range of sterile hill and from these beheld the town far away in the valley below "

About Sivas:
" Through Sivas passes the Great Road of Asia Minor, the road over which for centuries the caravans from Bagdad to Istanbul have passed. Though it has now fallen into complete disrepair, it is still enormously important as a trade route from the Black Sea to the interior. It was over this road we headed for the Black Sea and Samsun, 200 miles away."
Note: I bought the above article on eBay and the seller did not include an issue number or month; just the year.

The article was prefaced by the following:

"The following article, descriptive of a journey made by the author when a special representative of the American State Department in Angora, formed the basis of a lecture before the National Geographic Society in Washington in January 1924, and was probably Major Imbrie's last literary project. It is a significant fact that he here emphasizes a sympathy and an understanding of their philosophy, their customs and their prejudices. Major Imbrie's tragic death in July at the hands of an unprovoked mob in Teheran, the capital city of Persia, where he was the American vice-consul, is a great loss to the Foreign Service of the United States. He was an American gentleman- honorable, considerate, and brave. He served his country gallantly on the field of battle and in important diplomatic mission. THE EDITOR."
Robert Whitney Imbrie was beaten to death by a mob in Teheran. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. To see articles about his murder and view a photo of his head stone go to Arlington National Cemetery, Robert Whitney Imbrie


Armenia Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia edited by Richard G Hovannisian, 2004 (UCLA Armenian History and Culture Series)

Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia Richard G Hovannisian

Before modern transportation Sivas was at least a six day journey from Constantinople.

The Caravan route bridge across the Halys River east of Sebastia bore an Armenian inscription which was still visible in 1998.*

Many of the Armenians who were in Sebastian until WWI were descendants from the original Armenian population of the area. Others however had arrived in Sivas from the east during the Armeno-Byzantine period. "The Armenians never forgot the saga of the arrival of their kings in Lesser Armenia, whose relics were shown in the local monasteries, and, however dubious, from whom a number of prominent Armenian families of Sebastia even claimed descent."

The Ottoman Census of 1914 showed 3,693 Armenian Catholics.

The Catholic bishopric was established in Sivas in 1858. "There was also a Roman Catholic Jesuit school (college) actually more of a preparatory school for students in tending to enter institutions of higher learning elsewhere."

* We did not see an Armenian inscription on the bridge when we visited in 2008.

Armenia on the Halys River, Robert H Hewsen, Armenia Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia edited by Richard G Hovannisian

In the town of Sivas the Armenians were the merchants, traders, grocers, artisans and involved in money changing and lending.

Sivas was something of a cultural backwater until 1908.

"The city of Sivas lies at an altitude of 1,275 meters (4,183 feet) above sea level somewhat north of the right bank of the Kizil Irmak. Besides the Cathedral of Surb Astvatsatin (built in 1840), the Apostolic Armenians possessed three other churches; Surb Hakob, Surb Prkich, and Surb Sargis. There were also and Armenian Catholic Church, and Armentian Protestant Church, a Greek Orthodox Church, and a Catholic chapel attached to the Jesuit mission in the city. In addition, Sivas had an Armenian hospital, and American mission, and American mission hospital and a Swiss orphanage."

In the first Turkish census of the Turkish republic in 1927 there were 30,000 people in Sivas. Armenian Sebastia ended in 1915 but there were said to be some 300 still living there in the 1970s.*

One of the parks in Sivas is adorned with old tombstones including some with Armenian inscriptions.**

About 2 kilometers from Sebastia lay the monastery of the Holy Cross (Surb Nsham or Nisan) built before the 11 century (perhaps earlier). The throne of the Artaruni kings were preserved there.***

*On our visit in May 2008 we were told by our Armenian contact in Sivas that there were 76 Armenians (forming part of 20 families) still living in the city of Sivas. According to an interview of the Patriarch Mesrob II of Istanbul and Turkey by Florence Avakian in 1999, there were 40 families living in Sivas and speaking Armenian with a Sebastian dielact. This number of families may reflect the number in the state of Sivas and not just the city of Sivas.

**On our visit in May 2008 we did not succeed in finding such a park.

***According to our Armenain contact in Sivas, the ruins of this monastery were razed in 1978.

Armenian Immigration to the Sebastian Region, Tenth-Eleventh Centuries, S. Peter Cowe

The Bagratuni/Bagratid Dynasty, one of the two most important Armenian princely and royal houses, arrived in the Sivas area in the 10th century.

Armenian Art and Architecture of Sebastia, Christina Maraci

Most of the Armenain churches and monasteries have be altered beyond recognition or razed to the ground*. Maraci says that the Monastery of the Holy Cross was destroyed completely in the 1980s.

Sabastia was an important center of Armenian scriptoria during the late Middle Ages. There are Armenian manuscripts from the Monestary of the Holy Cross, Sivas at:

  • Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore: 1666 Baltimore Walters Art Gallery W544; Gospel Sebastia scribe Mikayel
  • 17th century partial copy of the gospel illuminated by Toros Roslin in 1262 Sanjin New York Public Library Spencer Collection
  • 1668-73 Washington, Freer Gallery of Art 35.15; Gospel Sebastia (Nor Avan)

* Our Armenian source in Sivas, at the time of our visit in May 2008, said that there are no remains of any of the Armenian churches in the city of Sivas. We were shown two ruins of Armenian churches outside of the city.

A Farewell to the Armenains of Evdokia/Tokat, Barlow Der Mugrdechian

"Several waves of immigration added to the Armenian element, most notably during the first part of the eleventh century, when King Senekerim-Hovannes Artsruni of Van/Vasourakan relocated with a large retinue, estimated to by 14,00 cavalry and their families, to Sebastia and the neighboring areas."
There continued to be migrations to Tokat over the centuries for various reasons, war famine etc, in the east which pushed the population west. The same must have been true for Sivas. Jesuits were the first Catholic missionaries to arrive in the area in the early 17th century. They were followed by the Capuchins. The numbers of Catholics increased although only a few Armenian clergy were converted.

The Ottoman Empire recognized the Armenian Catholic millet (congregational community) in 1830. In those towns were the Catholic population was small and did not have many churches they were compelled to maintain ties with the Apostolic church and most of the rites of baptism, marriage and death were performed in the Apostolic church. Mass and communion were celebrated in private homes.

Tokat was 12 to days journey from Consatntinople and was on an ancient silk road from Erserum. (From todays map it looks like this route would bypass Sivas.) By the early 1800s the khans were empty and there was little economic life in Tokat.

Rural Sebastia The Village of Guvdin, Murad A Meneshian

The area around Sivas contained a number of Armenian villages. Most of the Armenians in these villages farmed the land and tended livestock. An example of one of the larger villages in the area was Govdun. Situated 12 miles east of Sivas it consisted of about 300 households with nearly 3,000 inhabitants. The village was supposed to have been settled by members of the retinue of Kiing Hovhannes-Senekerim Artsruni.

On Easter eve everyone dressed in the best attire and went to church. Hardly had the priest uttered the words, "Take this bread and eat...." then many men and boys ended the fast and challenged one another to see whose red colored egg was the strongest when struck against the tip of another." During the following days there were may "egg fights" (Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia, editeded by Richard G Hovannisian.)*

Villages were isolated from one another because of the poor road conditions and a large gap existed between town and village and there was the usual distrust of one for the other.

Govdun (Kovton) still exists as a Turkish village called Göydūn north of the Halys River a few miles east of Sivas. See Govdun

*My husband's mother, Alice Azarian, was Armenian. She and her sisters continued the tradition of egg fights after they immigrated to the USA.

Taniel Varoujan

Taniel Varoujan, the great Armenian poet, was born in 1884 in the village of Brgnik (Prknig) to Krikor and Takouhi Varoujan. The family remained in Pirkinik for twelve years and then moved to Constantinople in 1896 where Krigor was a migrant worker. He attended the Armenian Catholic Mekhitarist School in Constantinople until 1902 when he left for Venice. He was the principle of Saint Gregory the Illuminator (Grigor Lusavorich) in Pera from 1912 to 1915.

He married Araxie and had a daughter, Veronica Jaroujan Safrasian.

Perkinik

Plague and smallpox were rampant in the villages near Sivas in 1841.


Illness


Henry S. West

Henry S. West was born in Binghamton, New York in 1827. He graduated Yale in 1844 and the college of Physicians and Surgeons in 1850. In 1858 he became a missionary to Turkey. He and his wife were stationed in Sivas. He contacted typhus fever and subsequently pneumonia and died in Sivas in 1876.

Extracts from letters received from Henry S. West, M. D., Physician to the American Board for Foreign Missions, at Sivas, Syria - 1865 [Communicated by Dr. J. G. Okton, from Committce on Correspondence for the Sixth District.]

"Siviis, the ancient Sebastia, is situated in a basin of land upon the river Halys. Its elevation is about 5,000 feet above the Black sea; though in the latitude of Washington, the climate is temperate, and the winters, as to length, severity and amount of snow, very similar to Southern New York. From the 1st of June until the last of September there is little if any rain; the air is clear, the heat moderate, even at noonday, and the nights are always cool. The variations of both thermometer and barometer arc very little from day to day during all this period. The heat is never oppressive in the shade; frequent rains occur in fall and spring.

"It is a limestone region, plains, surrounding mountains and the cliffs; there are inexhaustible stores of gypsum and carbonate of lime on every hand. The city and suburbs are abundantly supplied with water brought from the neighboring heights, which ia used for irrigation, and is conducted into the courts of all the houses; the supply for drinking is also brought in the same way; the water is, of course, strongly impregnated with lime."

Among the surgeries Dr. West performed over a period of five years were:
  • Lithotomy (a surgery for removing calculi (small stones) from organs such as the bladder, kindeys, gallbladder, urethra.) 43 operations 7 deaths.

  • Strangulated Hernia

  • Amputations

Among the Diseases were:
  • Fevers

    Typhus and relapsing

  • Measles
    For a few weeks last summer, in Sivas, it carried off many hundreds of children, during a cool time in the weather, taking the form sometimes described as black measles, and proving fatal within three or four days, in many instances from internal congestions, especially of the lungs, sometimes of the bowels, with severe and uncontrollable dysentery ensuing."

  • Scarlatina of a "malignant type"

  • Variola

  • Skin Diseases: "are found here in all their various forms, from elephantiasis, of which I have seen a few cases, to scabies, of which I have seen thousands. The most prevalent is porrigo."

  • Syphilis

    "(especially the secondary and tertiary forms,) is constantly seen in this region, but very seldom do I see the primary chancre. The cases all recover under iodide of mercury and iodide of potassium. Making the usual allowance for lies, I have convincing proof in many cases that no primary chancre occurred. I can only suppose that it is hereditary. In many cases it must be so, as I see it in young girls and boys before the age of puberty, who did not have infantile syphilis. I can give abundance of proof of the correctness of this statement"

Boston medical and surgical journal, Volume 131 By Massachusetts Medical Society, New England Surgical Society, 1894

SOME EXPERIENCES WITH ASIATIC CHOLERA IN ASIA.

BY M. A. JEWETT, M.D.,

United States Consul, Sivas, Turkey.

The epidemic of cholera at Sivas, Asia Minor, seems to me to offer some points of sufficient interest to be reported.

The special points to which I would call attention are: the altitude of the place where the epidemic occurred, the manner of its dissemination, and the comparative immunity of the people under conditions most favorable for the disease.

The city of Sivas is situated on a small plateau surrounded by mountains, on the northern border of the Anti-Taurus range. It is about 5,000 feet above the sea-level. According to the general statistics of the disease this altitude should be sufficient to make Sivas safe from an epidemic of cholera; and it is true that, while cholera has frequently visited Turkey in recent years, Sivas has escaped during the past halfcentury.

It is probable that during the months of February aud March there were cases of cholera here; but the cases were few, scattered, and the diagnosis was somewhat uncertain.

I think that the disease was imported from Constantinople. At least the march of cholera from Constantinople towards Sivas can be traced from town to town up to eight hours' distance (caravau time) from here.

The water of Sivas is furnished almost entirely by of the city. Situated on the banks of this river, about a mile from the city, is the village of Tavra. It has a population of about 1,000 persons. All the sewage of the village flows into the river.

On the 12th of April about twenty women came from Tavra to a Turkish bath at Sivas. The next day a dozen of them were attacked with cholera, and on the 15th of April the malady burst out in epidemic form in all quarters of Sivas. I think that the women were all infected by the same source, perhaps at the bath; but however that may be, it is certain that after they were taken ill and the river was contaminated by their choleraic dejections, the disease appeared simultaneously in all parts of the city. During the first week of the epidemic there were about 500 cases, and all sections of the city seemed to be about equally infected.

The diagnosis of cholera was not made by postmortem or microscopic examination; but the rapid dissemination of the disease, the violence of the attacks, often taking off persons of robust health in a few hours, the rice-water discharges, suppression of urine, the cramps, cyanosis and collapse, leave little doubt that the comma bacillus was present in all its glory.

The number of cases of cholera from the 15th of April, the day when the epidemic broke out, to the first of June, when it apparently disappeared, that is to say, during a period of forty-five days, was according to the best calculations about 5,000, and the number of deaths approximately 1,500.

On account of an ignorant fear of the doctors and a desire to escape the surveillance of the police charged with the isolation and disinfection of infected houses, the people concealed a large proportion of the cases aud deaths from the authorities, and consequently the official statistics are far from accurate.

The number of cases aud deaths given above gives a mortality of thirty per cent. This relatively moderate mortality indicates that the number of mild cases was considerable, especially when one takes into consideration the conditions favorable for the disease and entirely unfavorable for the treatment of the sick, which exists in the cities of Asia Minor.

The proportion of the number of cases to the population is about twelve per cent., and that of the number of deaths about three aud a half per cent. We have no statistics relative to the sex or age of the patients; but according to my opinion women were attacked in greater number than men, and the number of children affected was relatively small.

Few places are better conditioned to demonstrate that Asiatic cholera is not contagious than an Asiatic city like Sivas, and that to have the disease one must have some individual predisposition, some unknown factor. The houses are, as a rule, small, low, damp, crowded, little ventilated, poorly lighted, aud for the most part built of mud. The most elementary principles of hygiene are unknown here, or when inculcated are generally disregarded. The Turk is a supreme fatalist, and he places more reliance upon a bit of the Korau pasted over his gate to keep away the disease than upon the most scientific prophylactic measures. The water which the people drink and use for all purposes about the house, flows in open ditches where the people also bathe, and wash their soiled clothing aud carpets. That which has served one family for its various needs, flows with all its filth to a small river, which supplies the fountains of the bouses and flows in small streams through the streets another. Ultimately it reaches the open sewer which flows in the streets. A quarter of the population defecate in the streets ; and where there are water-closets connected with the houses, the excrement flows with the waste water of the fountains, into the gutters of the street and from thence into the streams which traverse the city. In these larger streams, which are really only the great sewers of the city, the people bathe, wash their clothes and kitchen utensils, and the children wade and plav. During the epidemic I observed that this went on as usual. I have seen men building a house with the mud scraped up from the sewer which flowed slowly in the middle of the street and which received the dejections of two cholera patients at that point and of several others a little farther up the street.

But it is in the houses we find the conditions most favorable for contagion, if it exists, and for infection. The disinfection of the contaminated rooms, or of the soiled linen, or even of the dejections of the cholera patients was almost wholly neglected. On the contrary, the dejections and the vomitus were often spilled upon the floor or upon the moist earth which serves in place of a floor, and the soiled clothing was thrown here and there without the least precaution. I have seen a woman washing her hands in a basin from which she had just poured the vomitus of a cholera patient. Very few people boiled the water which they drank, beiug too poor to get the necessary fuel or too little convinced of the necessity of taking the precaution. Into the little rooms occupied by the patients everybody crowded, a host of children and the interested neighborhood; and I have seen the well occupying the same bed with the sick — sometimes three, husband, wife and child, iu bed together, while one was purging and vomiting — and not take the disease. In spite of the fact that the water was contaminated by the cases which continued to occur for thirty days at Tavra, and in spite of the fact that nearly every one was subjected to the unfavorable conditions mentioned above, nevertheless eighty-two per cent, of the population escaped having the cholera, and in forty-five days the epidemic subsided. Since then isolated cases have occurred from time to time, a certain proportion of whom were people who had just come to the city.

The decrease of the epidemic coincided with an increase of the temperature and a marked diminution of the humidity and rain-fall.

Apropot of treatment, it is of interest to note that yoyhourt, a common article of diet here, made by the lactic acid fermentatiou of milk, was already regarded as good for the cholera. As we had no other lactic acid to use during the early part of the epidemic we strongly urged the use of yoyhourt in all cases of premonitory diarrhea, also during convalescence, and generally with apparently favorable results.

During the spring months a mild epidemic appeared in Constantinople, which diminished until in May the city was nearly free from the disease. This outbreak was followed, however, in June by a severe epidemic in the city of Sivas, which out of a population of 80,000 lost 600 from the disease between the 15th and the 26th of May. The disease was also rather prevalent in Tokat, Samsoun and other provinces. (page 649)


Maps


A Sketch Map of Asai Minor (Anatolia) National Geographic 1924.

This map shows the possible routes from Sivas to Constantinople.

  • Overland all the way through Angora
  • Overland to Samson on the black Sea and then by boat to Constantinople.


Map collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Map of Sivas showing Pirkinik


Dick Osserman's photos of Turkey

Dick Osserman has taken some wonderful pictures of Turkey which can be seen on his web site at Dick Osserman

His pictures of Sivas are at Dick Osserman, Sivas Turkey


Sivas 1877 : Sivas Marhasaligi ve Sivas Vilayetine Bagli Birkac Onemli Sehir Hakkinda Rapor (Sivas, Tokat, Amasya, Merzifon) by Bogos Natanyan, Edited by Arsen Yarman is available on line at abebooks.com .

Unfortunately, for me, it is in Turkish. However, it contains many images of Armenian Sivas.

In 2008 Arsen Yamen was kind enough to write that he liked my Sivas page. He clarified a misunderstanding I had about the author of the book;

"The book that Natanyan wrote is only a part of Sivas 1877. The whole book is 560 page, Natanyan's book is only 230 pages (in originally it is 130 pages). We translated Natanyan's original 130 pages and added a lot of photographes, documents etc.

To show our sincere respect to Natanyan we wrote his name as writer.

Arsen Yarman (The Editor of Sivas 1877) August 2008


Armenian Church in Kayseri

In August 2009 I got an email from Gary Malkhassian whose family was from Kayseri. He shared some images of the the Armenian church in Kayseri. Kayseri is another Antolian city that once had a large Armenian population. The church of St Gregory the Illuminator in Kayseri is the last standing Armenian church in Anatolia. It is impossible for me to say (with the information I have available at this time) how it may have compared with the churches in Sivas. However, one may assume that a relatively rich city like Sivas would have has a similar structure.

The link Gary sent me does not exist as of January 2011. But you can find images of the church by doing a google image search.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Divik Demirdagin umumi gorunusu

Divik (Divrigi) 93 miles SE of Sivas was a stop along the caravan route from Sivas to the Euphrates valley.


Hafik is a district and town. The town is located about 35 kilometers north east of the city of Sivas.

Ersin DUMAN made me aware of this historic church in Hafik in May 2012.

The web site contains very nice images of this beautiful old Armenian church near Hafik. Unfortunately, for me, the web site is mostly in Turkish and Armenian, neither of which I can read.

A loose translation of part of the test (using Google Translate) says that the historic district is about 18 km from the village of Hafik Tuzasar. The church is in danger of collapse due to seismic conditions and plundering.

It is reported to have been built by Armenians in the 1st Century. At the foothills of the Tuzasar mountains the church measures 20 meters and consistes of columns connected to each other with pointed arches. Barrel vaults are covered with tile; on top of which there is soil and vegetation. 1,40 meter thick walls were constructed of stone blocks and cracking has occurred on the western front.


The Abkarian Family of Sivas

Click on Image


Lucy
Pirkinik
Arevian/Hagopian
Other Azarians
Images of Armenian Life in Turkey
The Genocide
Connection to other related pages

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com

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Thanks,

Maggie


© Maggie Land Blanck - Page created 2004 - Latest update, July 2013