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Trapizon Vilayet in 1900

Trabzon (Arm. Տրապիզոն, Rus. Трабзон, (Greek: Τραπεζοῦς Trapezûs, Τραπεζούντα Trapezúnta) – Trabzon is a town and port in Asia Minor, on the Black Sea, the capital of the Trabzon Province. Being situated on a table-like plateau, it is called after the Greek word for table, “trapeza”. Trabzon was founded by the Greeks in 750 AD, and was one of the important cities of the Greek kingdom of Pontus. The Byzantine emperor Justinian (527-565 AD) included it into the province of First Hayk’ (Առաջին Հայք, Arajin Hayk’). Later, in the 13th c., Trabzon became the capital of the small Greek kingdom bearing the same name, and still later, in the 16th-17th cc, the center of the Turkish Trabzon province. This town is often mentioned in the Medieval Armenian historical writings.

Before the Armenian Genocide of 1915, Trabzon had a large Armenian population. In the years 1872-73 there were around 800 Armenian households, and by 1915 the number of the Armenians had reached 14-15 thousands. According to the poll of 1970, the whole population of the town was 80 800. Before the WWI the Armenian community there was thriving both economically and culturally. Most of the crafts and trade of Trabzon were in the hands of Armenians. They had 3 schools and 3 churches (S. Astvatsacin, S. Hovhannes, and S. Stepanos). There were numerous Armenian villages around the town, e.g. Zefanov, Sousku, Kropi, Pariam, etc. Trabzon is the birthplace of many famous Armenians, such as the violinist, professor of the Brussels conservatory Davit Davtyan (1877-1911), the painter of sea-scapes Vardan Makhokhyan (1869-1937), the painters Byuzand Gochamanyan and Arshak Fetvachyan (1866-1947), the National Artist of the Soviet Republic of Armenia Hambartsum Khachanyan (1894-1944), the composer Yervand Saharuni (1894-1967), the writer Levon-Zaven Syurmelyan (1907-1955), and others.

Trabzon District

Trabzon District is one of the districts of the Trabzon Province. It is divided into 7 sub-districts (kaza). Armenians mainly lived in the town of Trabzon, in the sub-district of Ordu, and in the Hamshen region. According to the “Hushamatyan Mec Yegherni”, in 1914 there were 60 000 Armenians in the district, and according to Johannes Lepsius, 32 700. Most of them were exterminated during 1915.