Tag Archives: Georgia

Armenia Takes Double European Championship Titles

Armenia’s Arthur Aleksanyan won his second European champion’s title at the European Greco-Roman Wrestling Championship, held in the Georgian capital city, Tbilisi.

In the final round, Aleksanyan, the London Olympics bronze-medalist, defeated Vladislav Metodiev from Bulgaria. During the semifinals, Armenian wrestler defeated Shalva Gadabadze of Azerbaijan.

Altogether, Arthur Alexanian won the gold Medal in  European Wrestling Championships after defeating the Turkish, Azeri and the Bulgarian competitors!

Furthermore, Armenian Greco-Roman wrester Vachik Yeghiazaryan (120 kg) won bronze at Tbilisi-hosted European championships. Yeghiazaryan faced off against Bulgaria’s Lyubomir Dimotrov in the struggle for bronze medal. However, the latter refused to continue the fight due to the injury he earlier received. As a result, the Armenian athlete for the first time in his career won European championships bronze.

Yeghiazaryan wins European wrestling championship bronze




Armenia’s Davit Safaryan becomes European Wrestling Champion

Today, an Armenian wrestler named Davit Safaryan has taken the European champion’s title.  In the final of the 66 kg category, he defeated (2-0) Yakup Gor from Turkey.  The European Freestyle Wrestling Championship has been underway in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi.


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: http://sanahine.wordpress.com/hamshen-armenians/

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.


Sayat Nova’s 300th Anniversary

Sayat-Nova, born as Harutyun Sayatyan on 14 June 1712 in Tiflis, was an Armenian poet, musician and ashugh who composed in a number of languages, including Armenian, Georgian, Persian and Turkish. His adopted name Sayat Nova meant “Master of Songs” in Persian. This year marks the 300th anniversary of his birth.

Sayat-Nova’s mother, Sara, was born in Tbilisi, and his father, Karapet, either in Aleppo or Adana. He himself was born in Tbilisi. Sayat Nova was skilled in writing poetry, singing, and playing the kamanchah, Chonguri, Tambur. He performed in the court of Erekle II of Georgia, where he also worked as a diplomat and, apparently, helped forge an alliance between Georgia, Armenia and Shirvan against the Persian Empire. He lost his position at the royal court when he fell in love with the king’s sister, and spent the rest of his life as an itinerant bard.

In 1759 he was ordained as a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church. His wife Marmar died in 1768, leaving behind four children. He served in various locations including Tbilisi and Haghpat Monastery. On November 22, 1795, at the age of 83, he was killed in the monastery by the invading army of Mohammad Khan Qajar, the Shah of Iran, for refusing to denounce Christianity and convert to Islam. He is buried at the Cathedral of Saint George, Tbilisi.

File:Tiflis sayat nova-IMG 0516.JPG

In Armenia, Sayat Nova is considered a great poet who made a considerable contribution to the Armenian poetry and music of his century. Although he lived his entire life in a deeply religious society, his works are mostly secular and full of romantic expressionism. About 220 songs have been attributed to Sayat-Nova, although he may have written thousands more.

Sayat-Nova is considered by many to be the greatest ashugh (folk singer-songwriter) that ever lived in the Caucasus. Composer Alexander Arutiunian wrote an opera called “Sayat Nova”. There is a street and a music school named after him in Yerevan, Armenia, as well as an Armenian-American dance ensemble in the United States, and a pond located in Mont Orford, Quebec, Canada. In Armenia, Sayat Nova is considered a poet who made a considerable contribution to the Armenian poetry of his century. Although he lived his entire life in a deeply religious society, his poems are mostly secular and full of Romantic expressionism. A book on his life and work by Charles Dowsett was published in 1997 titled Sayat’-nova: An 18th-century Troubadour: a Biographical and Literary Study. After the 18th c., the Armenian odes were first translated in France by Elisabeth Mouradian and the french poet Serge Venturini in 2006 ; the book was dedicated to Sergei Parajanov.

One of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century, Sergei Parajanov’s “Color of the Pomegranate”, a biography of the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova (King of Song) reveals the poet’s life more through his poetry than a conventional narration of important events inSayat Nova’s life. We see the poet grow up, fall in love, enter a monastery and die, but these incidents are depicted in the context of what are images from Sergei Parajanov’s imagination and Sayat Nova’s poems, poems that are seen and rarely heard.

The Color of Pomegranates Poster