Category Archives: Armenians of the World

Learning Armenian in Monaco

It turned out that there are so many Armenians in Monaco that the porters of the casinos have learnt Armenian. They recognize the Armenians immediately and give a broad grin and say “hey, boss” in Armenian. Funny enough, the official numbers stated in the Diaspora directory are 200. Perhaps the rich 1% of the country make the casinos in Monaco earn their money’s worth?



Armenia within Columbia

Armenia is the capital of Quindío, a province in Colombia. The city is located at coordinates 4.5170° north, 75.6830° west, 290 kilometres west of Bogotá. Armenia is a mid-size city located between Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, the 3 largest Colombian cities. The city’s area code for telephone calls is 67. Its average temperature is between 18 °C- 22 °C. Raipur, India is the latest to become a sister city of Armenia (see list of twin towns and sister cities). It’s one of the three that forms the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis.


Side note: If anyone knows where the city got its name from, I’d be delighted to know!

Armenians in Denmark

The Armenian community in Denmark numbers approximately 1,200. They make up the population of refugees from Armenia, and also some from Iran and Iraq. They mainly used the churches in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense. The Armenian refugees were served in the church with a priest from the Armenian community in Sweden. In 2003, an agreement was signed between the Danish and Armenian governments, allowing forced repatriation of illegal immigrants. 100 Armenians living illegally in Denmark were reported to be subject to the measure.

In 2005, The Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs recognized the Armenian Apostolic Church in Denmark as a congregation with juridical rights to administer marriage ceremonies and with certain privileges in regards to taxation.

Danish missionaries have been friends to Armenians and helped during the Armenian genocide. Missionaries like Karen Jeppe and Maria Jacobsen are known in Armenian communities as heroines who took care of the orphans, especially. As missionaries in Armenia was thrown out, the Danish continued to provide relief until the 1970s in Lebanon, working at the “Bird’s Nest” orphanage, as well as in a refugee camps in Greece. Karekin Dikran, who owns a graphic design company today, was one of the children growing up in this orphanage.

Mercantile relations between Armenia and Denmark date back to 1568, when Armenian traveler and writer Pirzade Ghap’anets’i visited Denmark. During the Hamidian massacres against the Armenian civilians, the government of Denmark condemned the massacres, and sharply protested against the Ottoman Empire. The famous Danish scholar and critic Georg Brandes commented on the massacres and wrote a book about the Armenians in 1903.Immigration to Denmark mostly began in the 1960s, and in 1985 a wave of refugees came from Iran and Iraq, driven out by the war. The mid 1990s also brought an influx due to the war and hard times in Armenia.

Armenia has an embassy inCopenhagen, and Denmark is represented in Armenia, through its embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. Diplomatic relations were established on 14 January 1992. The current Armenian Ambassador to Denmark is Hrachia Aghajanian. In 2008, the Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan called the relations between Armenia and Denmark “friendly” and “highly appreciating”.

Armenians in Ireland

A small Armenian community exists in Ireland. The bulk of Irish Armenians live in Dublin and the exact number figures of how many Armenians are in Ireland are unknown, estimates range from 150 to 350 individuals who identify themselves as being of Armenian descent. In religion, the majority of Irish Armenians belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, while the rest are mainly Armenian Catholics. The Armenian community has established a Sunday School and registered the Armenian Apostolic Church in Ireland.

Primate Very Revd. Dr. Vahan Hovhanessian set up the Armenian Mission Parish Council (MPC) for all Ireland in March 2011. In October 2010, The Armenian Church in Ireland was officially recognized, for the first time, by the Authorities in Ireland as a legal denomination and given the right to conduct its religious services and sacraments and preside over wedding ceremonies. Visitation of the mission parish by the clergy to celebrate Badarak (Divine Liturgy and Communion) , the establishment of educational programs regarding the Armenian faith, Bible studies, lectures and the provision of leadership and encouragement are just some of the objectives of a mission parish.

St. Hripsime Armenian Sunday School, founded by Ohan Yergainharsian, was established in 2009 thanks to the joint efforts of members of the Armenian community and the active support of the Armenian Honorary Consulate in Ireland. The school was established in recognition of the fact that Armenian children in Ireland did not have opportunities to study Armenian language, nor did they have opportunities to interact with fellow Armenians of their own age. The school facilities are rented from the Taney Parish Center.

Although there are several accounts of links between Armenia and Ireland rooted in ancient history, the bilateral relations on a state-to-state level were established following Armenia’s independence in 1991. Ireland recognized Armenia’s independence in December 1991 soon after the establishment of the Republic of Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1996.

Learn more about the community:,1722


Who are the Hamshen Armenians?

In the 8th century, under threat from Arab invasions, the Armenian Prince Shabuh and his son Hamam Amadouni leave their lands in Northern Vaspuragan and head up the Khatchkar Mountains on the Black Sea. Upon reaching the destroyed city of Tambour, Prince Hamam has it rebuilt and named Hamamshen, later to be shortened to Hamshen in Armenian and Hemshin in Turkish. The princes and their men settle in the valley overlooked by Hamamshen, known as the Firtina Valley. Over the next few centuries, the people would spread around the Black Sea, such as Trabzon, Samson, Sakarya, etc. The Hamshen Princedom survived and thrived between the 8th and 14th centuries, the people now known as the Hemshinli who spoke a dialect of Armenian called Hemshintsi (Homshetsna).

The Princes of Hamshen include:

  1. Prince Hamam (c. 700)
  2. Prince Arakel (c. 1400)
  3. Prince Tavit 1 (c. 1425)
  4. Prince Vart (c. 1440)
  5. Prince Veke (c. 1460)
  6. Prince Tavit II (last prince)

The city of Hamshen was destroyed in 1489 by the invading Ottoman armies, sending Prince Tavit into exile. The people were forced to convert to Islam under Ottoman rule. It is said that the Firtina river ran red with the blood of those who had refused to give up their Christianity. The Churches were converted into mosques, surnames were changed to their Turkish counterparts, . Many were deemed heroes as they fought off the Ottoman influence and desperately clung to their own beliefs, refusing the dictations of a foreign army. Der Garabed Hamshentsi from the Toroslu village was one such hero.

The 1800’s saw another threat that forced the people to flee, settling into areas where they were free to speak their own language and remain Christian. Samson, Ordu, Krasnodar and Abkhazya became safe havens and the people were now known as the Northern Hamshenlis. Those who fled to the Artvin province of Turkey were forced to convert to Islam, even though they were able to retain their language. These are known as the Hopa-Hemshinlis (Eastern Hamshenlis). Those who stayed on their lands in the Rize province in Turkey lost both language and religion, though they speak hemshinji, a Turkish dialect with many Armenian words. They are known as the Western Hamshenlis, the Bash Hemshinli.

1895 saw the Trabzon Hamshenlis massacred. In 1915, the last Christian Hamshenlis from Ordu, Samson, and Trabzon were massacred.  Those who managed to survive joined their Northern brothers in Krasnodar and Abkhazya. Bands of survivors also joined in the fedayee movement and took to the mountains. The converted hamshenlis were not spared either and many fled to Batumi in Georgia. In 1944, they were exiled from Batumi and sent to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Currently, the Northern, Western and Eastern groups still exist. Upt to 750,000 are estimated to be living on the black sea coast. In the 1980’s a group moved into Armenia and are currently full citizens of the state.

Famous artists include:

  • Kazim Koyuncu
  • Gokhan Birben
  • Altan Civelek
  • Harun Topaloglu

A lovely blog about Hamshen Armenians can be found here:

As Armenians, we should not let the memory and the very reality of the Hamshen Armenians be forgotten, but instead offer a hand and embrace them as the family they are. They are as Armenian as we. Their story should not simply gather dust in long forgotten pages of history.

This is in tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Armenians that are hidden or lost through the turbulent history of the descendants of the Hamshen Princedom.