History of Khoshmat - Dr. Mardiros H. Chakoian

Editorial note


Vartan Vartanian


Chapter 1: Palu and the fort

Chapter 2: Monasteries and Sanctuaries


Chapter 1: Education in Palou

Chapter 2: United Association of Armenians in Palou

• Havav

• Nerkhi

Chapter 3

• Villages of Palou

• Statistics of Palou Armenian-inhabited villages

• The Great Earthquake of Palou


Chapter 1

• Khoshmat

• The Holy Mother of God Church

• The Church of Khoshmat

• Priests

Chapter 2 : Sanctuaries

• Abdul-Mseh (Donag)

• Holy Cross

• Holy Cathedral

• St. Giragos

• St. Mangig

Chapter 3

• Springs

• Field Springs

• Humanlike Stones

Chapter 4

• Tbrotsasirats Association and the School of Khoshmat

• Teachers (1880-96)

• The First Graduates of the School of Khoshmat

• The Last Graduates of Khoshmat’s High School (1913-1914)

• Khoshmat Through My Eyes

Chapter 5: The Intellectuals of Khoshmat

• Arakel Babajanian

• Bedros effendi Fermanian

• Hampartsoum Oulousian

• Vahan Oulousian

• Vartan Dirad

• Garabed Klanian

• Sarkis B. Klanian

• Toros Klanian

• Bedros Papazian

• Boghos H. Chakoian

• Haroutiun Vartanian

• Manoug Dzaghigian

• Kapriel Frangian

• Dikran Ghazaros Bedigian

• Hagop Ghazaros Bedigian

• Mikayel Khodjoian

• Boghos Deradourian

• Hampartsoum Harutounian (Bournousouzian)

• Bethlehem Markarian (Shaghougian)

• Mgrdich Malian

• Boghos Papazian

• Karekin Garabedian

• Father Manoug Khodjoian

• Hovhannes Klanian

Chapter 6 : The Important Initiatives of the Tbrotsasirats Association of Khoshmat

Chapter 7 : Ladies Auxiliary Society of Khoshmat

Chapter 8 : Architects

• Aznavour Efendi Khodjoian

• Toros Khalifa Malian (Ghazarian) Kara Toros

• Mardiros Ghazarian

• Simon Khalifa Bedigian or Melkonian

• Arakel Milidosian

• Garabed Milidosian

• Sahag Oulousian

• Haji Krikor Milidosian

• Donabed Khabloian (Arghntsonts)

• Markar Shaghougian

• Kokona Vartan

Chapter 9 : Various types of crafts

• Joinery

• Masonry

• Carpeting

• Pottery

Chapter 10 : Manufacturing

• Oil presses of Khoshmat

• Hand Millstone

• Fruits

• Vegetables


Chapter 1 : Traditions and Customs

• New Year

• Christmas

• Paregentan

• Easter

• Wedding

• Life of the Bride

• Songs

• Popular Medicine

• Wishes and blessings

• Curses

• Things portending misfortune

• Dream interpretation

• Riddles

• Sayings (Fables)

• Provincial Proverbs (Talks)

• Commonly used phrases

• Games (for boys)

• Words of wisdom from the elderly people

Chapter 2 : Historic Characters and Famous Events

• Father Khachadour Shiroian

• Father Reteos Simonian

• Mardiros Shahen Chakoian

• Sarkis effendi Dzaghigian’s royal medal

• Boghos Harutounian

• Nazar Nazarian

• The Power of the Pitchfork and Khachig Chakoian

• How Sarkis Vartanian Drowned

• Fragment of Soukias Depoian’s Life

• How We Left Khoshmat and The Intercession of St. Mangig in 1896

• Farewell of Seven Young Men

• Fragments of Simon Simonian’s Life

• Abduction of Paro (A Group of Pilgrims)

• Tax Collectors

• Incident with Bedros Simonian

• Interesting Memoirs of Krikor Der Khachadourian (Koko)

• Mardiros Shaghougian (Kaloian) - One of His Episodes

• Fragment of Sarkis Shahin Chakoian’s Life

• Hagop Tatigian (Ali Baba)

• Haroutiun Deradourian and the Incident with the Box of Eggs

• The herdsman of Khoshmat, by Sarkis Shahrigian

• An Interesting Incident in the Life of the Herdsman


Chapter 1 : Notorious Beys of Palou

• Keor Abdullah bey

• Khoshmatlian Dynasty and Beys

Chapter 2

• Khoshmat Resistance – 1897

• The Bloody Fight

• Trial of the Beys

• The End of the Beys

• The Meliks of Khoshmat

Chapter 3 : The Order to Begin the Massacre

• The Role of Garabed Klanian and Misak Shaghougian (Kaloian)

• Khachadour Shiroian’s memoirs (From Canada)

• Mgrdich Taraian (from Marseille): Taken from his Bloody Memoirs

• Apkar Simonian

• Baghdasar Deradourian (from Marseille): Memoirs

Chapter 4

• Soldiers of Khoshmat

• Khoshmat Volunteers

• A Fragment of Volunteer’s Life

• A Fragment of Benjamin Shaghougian’s Life (A Volunteer)

• Other Soldiers Native of Khoshmat

Chapter 5 : Photos of Khoshmat Armenians

Chapter 6 : People of Khoshmat in Constantinople (Taken from the notes of the late Toros Klanian)

Chapter 7 : People of Khoshmat in Diaspora

• People of Khoshmat in France

• People of Khoshmat in Soviet Armenia

• People of Khoshmat in Syria

• People of Khoshmat in Canada

• People of Khoshmat in America

Hagop Tatigian (Ali Baba)

Hagop Tatigian lived a life full of interesting moments. In 1915 Khoshmat was almost deserted. The village had been destroyed and set on fire, there was no living soul anywhere, and even dogs unable to ward off starvation were lying dead in the fields. However, there were people who still wanted to live there and were ready to overcome any obstacle. One of those people was Hagop Tatigian. Hagop hid in one of the robbed and dilapidated houses of Khoshmat, under the hay of a hayloft. His desire to live was stronger than ever.

It was when the massacres began, and the village became deserted that Hagop decided to hide in their hayloft. One starry night, getting out of his hiding place, Hagop went to the threshing floors where he saw several Kurdish men taking wheat sheaves with them. Taking advantage of the situation, Hagop took one of these wheat sheaves himself and left the village carrying the sheaves on his shoulder. Walking quickly through gardens, he finally reached a Kurdish inhabited village of Hor, which was illuminated by a shining morning star. Hagop went directly to his family friend Sahid agha and asked him for shelter. Sahid agha was happy to have Hagop as a guest. On the very first day, Hagop began making jars that were extremely useful for everyday life.

One accursed evening when Hagop was having dinner with the family hosting him, out of nowhere seven cruel policemen entered the house and arrested this poor man. They reproached Sahid agha for having the audacity to shelter Armenians. Sahid agha begged the policemen not to take Hagop. He even tried to bribe them to save his friend. All in vain! The decision to arrest Hagop was final. The policemen tied Hagop’s hands and threw him into the barn to take him to the town in the morning. The barn was a large, stone-made building with thick walls and no windows except one located right at the center of its roof. The door of the barn was locked from the outside. Two policemen had to sleep in turn and keep a close watch on the door as it was the only exit from the barn.

With every second Hagop began planning his escape. He knew that being taken to the town was equal to a death sentence. Hence, he had nothing to lose. He approached one of the goats and rubbing his handcuffs against its sharp horns managed to break the handcuffs. He cut his belt into two pieces and tied them together. Then he gathered dozens of sheep below the window, tied their horns together and placed a few other sheep on them. With all the strength he had, Hagop jumped on these animals and reached the window located high on the roof.

The sheep and goats were bleating loudly, creating a stir, and Hagop was hanging in the air when the barn’s door opened. Hagop’s escape plan was about to fail. Using his last ounce of strength, Hagop managed to tightly grasp the solid rods of the roof with both hands. He reached the open window, greeting the morning light and breathing fresh air. Crawling towards the edge, he could easily get off the barn’s roof, but the policemen had already woken up. They were looking for Hagop. On the northern side, next to the yard, there was a tall fence and there were also giant shepherd dogs running off leash at night. The alarm system would be triggered in case he was caught. Hagop hoped that walking towards the southern side would be safer. What a misfortune! On the southern side there was a river flowing next to a tall wall. There was also a ramshackle bridge over which Hagop used to walk. His desire for freedom made Hagop overcome his fear. He decided to jump from the roof right into the river although he had no idea about its depth. Hagop prayed on his knees asking God to save his life and help him to safely get to the other bank of the river.

At that moment the policemen opened fire on Hagop, but Hagop had already jumped into the river. For about 10 seconds Hagop swam below the surface. Finally, he lifted his head above the water and slowly reached the other bank of the river. He thanked God for saving his life. He strode soaking wet through the forests of Timasor, when suddenly he noticed a Kurdish ploughman. Taking advantage of this opportunity he stole the ploughman’s basket filled with bread, cheese and aba (a rain-proof coat.)

After spending the night in the forest, he was arrested the next day by a Turkish guard. The army of Kharpert was taking a rest in the green fields of the Aradzani River. They intended to head towards the Yeriza/Erzinjan front a bit later. Hagop knew that only a miracle could save him now, and he was well aware that miracles simply don’t happen. He told the General that he was coming from the Kurdish village of Hor and was heading to Kharpert to get shoes and clothes because the invincible Turkish army had taken everything. He said his name was Ali Baba and begged the General to let him go.

Hagop’s clothes and his story made the General believe that he was a Kurdish man. The General urged Hagop to leave everything behind and join the army to fight for their motherland. Hagop had no choice but to accept the General’s offer and wear the worn-out Turkish military clothing. Later Hagop acquired a reputation for being a good carpenter in the army.

One gloomy morning in the autumn of 1916, a Turkish navy ship was left behind by the army in Lake Van; the ship listed dangerously to one side because of rough waves, heavy rains, and high winds. This was a great loss for the army and yet none of the soldiers dared to go to the ship and try to save it. “Ali Baba” (Hagop) decided to take that responsibility himself, despite the objections of the General. Filling his trousers with air Ali Baba jumped into the water and, swimming for about 3 hours, reached the ship at sunset. By morning the ship was already anchored next to the army. The captain of the ship ordered the soldiers to fire the cannon three times to celebrate the victory of Ali Baba. Unfortunately, Ali Baba was chilled by his long swim. Feeling sick and cold, he was taken to a hospital. That night in his sleep Hagop started muttering the names of his children and brothers in Armenian— Hovagim, Hayguhi…  A few days later the caring nurse reminded Ali Baba about this incident. Thinking that his secret was exposed, Ali Baba was about to panic. But the nurse kissed Ali Baba’s forehead and confessed to him that she was also Armenian! Later she introduced him to three other Armenian girls and doctors. Shocked with this course of events, Hagop tearfully told them about all the difficulties he had gone through. After his recovery, Ali Baba returned to the army. He was rewarded with gifts and was discharged from military service.

Still wearing his military uniform, Hagop moved to Khoshmat to see his native village for the last time. When he reached the house of the Ghazarian family he heard some loud noises. He rushed inside to see what was going on. A bloodthirsty Gypsy robber, Seilo, who used to spread fear in Palu, fled from the soldier entering the house. Mounting his horse, Seilo disappeared.

At first, the Armenian women of Khoshmat were scared of Hagop because of his uniform, but he removed his artificial hair and confessed to them who he really was. The scared women who had suffered at the hands of Seilo calmed down. Mrs. Markarid told Hagop about all the difficulties they had gone through recently. She described a series of horrific incidents, barbarities and crimes. She talked about Misak and his followers, saying: "If Turkish soldiers didn’t use Armenian women as a shield they would never be able to win." She added that all the soldiers from Khoshmat had committed suicide, using the last bullet and shouting "Revenge, revenge!" The frenzied Turks attacked the half-dead Armenians and beheaded them all. Markarid took the heads of the brave Armenian soldiers, including Nazar and Hagop’s brothers Hovagim and Ghazaros, and, with the help of other women, buried them under the rocks of St. Mangig.
Filled with revenge Hagop rushed to the rocks of St. Mangig. Several Armenian women followed him to show the place where the heads of the courageous soldiers were buried. Hagop took out his brothers’ heads. He kissed them and started crying like a child. Several hours later Hagop buried the heads again and, forming a small knoll, placed a wooden cross on it. He carved the following sentence on the cross: "Hovagim, Ghazar and our hero Nazar! The people of Khoshmat will take revenge for you."

Hagop sat under a pillar and gazed into the distance. Noticing him from afar and taking him for a Turkish soldier, several Armenian women decided to take revenge and give him a good beating. But very memorable incident took place that day. Two thin girls with a piece of bread in their mouths came to see the Turkish soldier with everyone else. Hagop looked intently at the crowd and instantly recognized his child. Rushing towards his daughter as if to kiss her, he shouted, "My Haiguhi, my Haiguhi!" The poor girl ran away, shocked and confused. The Armenian women attacked the Turkish soldier and started beating him without knowing who he actually was. He called out: “Haiguhi, my daughter, don’t be afraid of me. I’m your father, Hagop. How are you, sweetheart? Where are your mother and your brother Manug? Please quickly tell me where they are…" At this, Haiguhi came up to Hagop and hugged him.

Putting a piece of land in his handkerchief, Hagop said goodbye to the women of Khoshmat and moved on to Kharpert, his heart full of sadness. He still hoped to find his children. Thanks to his military uniform, he crossed the Aradzani River without any obstacle. He reached Kharpert, the district of St. Hagop where the survivors of the forced deportation lived. With tears in his eyes Hagop raised his hands and shouted: "Oh, thank you my God and St. Mangig for guiding me along my way and helping me to find my child Haiguhi and my sister’s daughter…" Joining the first caravan with these two girls, Hagop finally reached Aleppo. On the way to Aleppo, Hagop and Mr. Simon Klanian (a deportee) had a conversation. Hagop told Mr. Klanian about his interesting and heroic life. Simon Klanian lives in New York now. Hagop Tatigian died in 1945 in Aleppo at the age of 93. St. Mangig is one of the best-known sanctuaries in Khoshmat where Hagop buried his brothers’ heads for the last time and prayed to God asking to help him find the people he loved.