A 17th century Greek historical site in Turkey’s Black Sea province Gumushane (Greek Argyròpolis), has been ignored for the last 50 years, Anadolu Agency reports.
Huseyin Ates, a regional representative, told Anadolu Agency that the ruins of Santa (now Turkish Dumanli), 72 kilometres (44.7 miles) from Gumushane’s city centre, were listed as grade 1 and grade 3 archaeological sites in 1999.
The site was once a bustling city with single storey houses, a church in each neighbourhood, and a fountain in each street. The area bustled with the Greek population in the 1700s after the Ottoman Empire conquered the Pontian Greek state’s lands.
Ates said that between 1700 and 1923, some 5,000 people were living in the area and there were many jewellery stores and market centres.
A dramatic fall in population followed the Russo-Turkish War of 1829–30, when many Pontian Greeks of the area collaborated with or welcomed the Russian army that occupied the area.
So as to escape likely Turkish reprisals, the majority of the Pontian Greek population followed the Russian army as it withdrew back into Georgia and Southern Russia, many settling there and joining pre-existing communities of Caucasus Greeks that had moved eastwards between the fall of the Empire of Trebizond in 1461 and the 1801 Russian annexation of Georgia.
During World War I, the Greeks of Santa tried to organize armed resistance against the Turks. Pontian guerrilla bands appeared in the mountains of Santa as early as 1916 with leadership Euklidis Kourtidis and successfully repelled a Turkish attack on September 6, 1921.
After the population exchange in 1923, no Orthodox remained in the region. The few that managed to flee to Greece - with little or no personal belongings - settled in Macedonia and Thrace. The town of Nea Santa was founded by them in the Kilkis regional unit in Central Macedonia.
Since then the Pontian town of Santa has remained deserted.
“It is an area which has fallen into silence for [[over]] 50 years and has been left to its fate,” Ates said.
After the turmoil and ethnic strife (1914–1923), the few ethnic Pontians who fled to Greece "called the homes they had left behind a 'secret heaven'", he said.
"Visitors can track traces of the Pontian Greek civilization in the area," he added, stressing the importance of the site in terms of nature and culture tourism.
“We will do everything to share this historical heritage to our next generations,” he concluded.
Source: Anadolu Agency [November 02, 2017]
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