Change Yourself…Change The World.

The Place My Great Grandmother Was Born

Harput, Turkey

This is the place that my great grandmother, Agnes Terzian, was born. Her family fled Harput when she was a young girl because of the Armenian genocide. She was placed in a German orphanage for a year until her father sent for her to come to the United States. No one in my family has gone back there until now. In March, I went to the town with my best friend Max. These are the pictures from one of the most amazing days of my life.

The cab ride up to the town Harput. It was originally called
‘Kharput’ before 1915, but after the formation of the Turkish
Republic, the province Harput was renamed Elâzığ, and the
small town Kharput was renamed ‘Harput.’ I was quite nervous
at this time, while driving up from Elâzığ to the mountains.

The center of Harput. The town was completely deserted.

Taking in my first view of the town of my great grandmother.

A castle in the distance, built by one of the first Armenian

I felt very distressed upon first entering here. It was eerily quiet.

So quiet it was almost as if you could hear the tragedy that had
happened here.

What this place is, is up to debate. Max thinks that is is a
funeral cairn. I think it may have possibly been a church.

Whatever it is, it is absolutely beautiful.

Max: “Do you think she brought us here?”

Max called this picture “Angel in the Snow”

Up and out of the funeral cairn/church

Harput in the winter; crumbling ruins everywhere.

My eyes are taking in the same sights she took in 100 years

Max thinks that these are collapsed funeral cairns. They could
possibly be additions to the church, if it is one.

Harput, March 24th, 2009.

My own footprints in this town.

We explored the castle, and this is the back view of all of the

I thought it was the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

The top of the castle, with a Turkish flag. Quite ironic.

The view of the town Harput from the top of the castle.

This is my town.

I feel that my heritage really comes out in these pictures. I look
a lot like my father’s side of the family in these pictures.

I feel that when I see these pictures, I look much older- like I am
getting a glimpse of who I will be.

Ruins everywhere in these towns.

The mountains in Harput.

On the way back down from the mountains, all of a sudden
the wind stopped howling, the snow stopped, and the sun
came out.

Suddenly, it looked like spring.

This is where I found her.

I picked up rocks for everyone in my family. This is the one that
I picked up for my father.

Here she is. This is my Auntie Alison. This is my family. Say

When I was six years old, my Aunt died in a car crash. It was
very hard on my family. Right when she died, there was a ladybug
infestation at our house. Our family now believes whenever we
see a ladybug, it is Auntie Alison coming to visit us.

And in the middle of the winter, in the snow and the cold and
in the middle of Harput in a castle, between two rocky crags,
was a ladybug.

It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I couldn’t
stop crying. It was a sign that I was in the right place at the
right time, and that my family was there with me in this town.

I look very much like my Dad in this picture.

I am told I look exactly like Auntie Alison in this picture.

We left her in a patch of grass in a spring alcove.

My best friend Max and I in Harput, Turkey.

The Christian church. I originally thought that this was an
Armenian church, but it is actually an Assyrian church.

The view of the mountains from the church.

Around the town Harput.

Crumbling houses that are least 100 years old.

I was shocked when I saw these, and glad at the same time. I
felt such a connection here, because I was able to see the remnants
of Armenian culture here, I was able to imagine what it had once
looked like.

I wondered if she had lived in one of these houses, or one like

I wonder if this face was once familiar in this town.

A Muslim statue in an Armenian town- the Turks deny the
genocide to the point of denying existence of any Armenian
provinces in Anatolia. This is a prime example. It looks like
this statue is fairly new and was put up in place of an old one.

But buildings like this still remain.

Very desolate and sad.

Ruins in Harput.

This is what the rest of the town looks like. Very few people
live here. The houses are newer, but it’s still a very harsh place
to live in. I wondered if any Armenians still lived here, but I never
found out. Doubtful they would admit they were Armenian even if
there were.

The end of the town.

Such a beautiful place.

This is the rock that I picked up for myself. I tried to pick up
rocks for my family that looked like they hadn’t been moved for at
least 100 years. This is the only rock I picked up that I knew was new,
because it was part of a bunch of rocks in similar color that had been
laid down for gravel.

I picked up a new one because I wanted it to represent change,
new beginnings, and hope for the future.

Soldiers in Harput…

Lake Hazar Gölü. Originally this was called Lake Geoljuk. US
Consulate Leslie Davis, who was stationed in Harput in 1915,
saw thousands of Armenian bodies dumped in ravines around
the ditches of this lake. Max and I went to see the lake together.

The sun was setting, and it was absolutely beautiful.

Ten rocks I picked up for families from Harput.

It was a very strange experience being here. It was very cold,
and I couldn’t stop shaking.

The sun set on Lake Goeljuk, Harput.

Tortured trees/tortured bodies.

A beautiful ending to one of the most beautiful and significant
days I will ever experience in my life.

If anyone asks,

This is what it felt like to an Armenian that day.

108 Comments so far
Leave a comment

As an Armenian, I cry every time I see these pictures and read your interpretation of what you have seen. I wish (great)grama and aunties could have been alive to see this but perhaps it would be very sad. I’m happy gramps is alive to see this. It brought a sense of closure for me after hearing the stories as a child and also because I always wanted to go there, but now can be there with you through your eyes. I am so impressed with the insight, sensitivity to reporting an accurate story, creativity and respect with which you unfold your journey. Thank you for giving the family an important part of our heritage. We love you and are so proud of you.
Love always, Auntie Sue

Comment by Susan Moninger

Your gift for taking pictures that capture the souls of your objects and subjects is only exceeded by your ability to see and hear the sights and sounds that eminated from them a hundred years ago. This has been a passage for you through time and womanhood that has transcended you into a perspective of a time and place that few people know about. Through your eyes and gift for framing out these tablaus into moving, sensitive, elequent and articulate descriptions, we have all enjoyed “our” tour of parts of Armenia and the world we will never get to see, ourselves. My Mom and Dad, your great grandparents, would have been so proud of you , as I, and all of your family are.
Thank You

Comment by Don Boroian

Your photos and story touched me deeply…both of my maternal great-grandparents fled Harput for America at the outset of the genocide. Other family members were not so lucky. I would be very curious to know what the travel situation was like for you, as I am hoping to travel there in the near future-though I am apprehensive for obvious reasons. Best wishes, Martin (Bagdazian) Perry

Comment by Martin Perry

We live in Harput and wellcome all of you to visit the city.

Comment by Seda Bulut Arıkan (@sedabulutarikan)

Exquisite moving pictures….”I wonder if this face was ever familiar in this town”–the cyle of Life. The beautiful touching pictures of the sky, the water, the trees. Thank you.

Comment by Margery Rappaport

I am also from Harput , but a Turkish neighbor of your grand parents. I had a lot of Armenian neighbors in Elazıg(the new city center) , talked with them and listened the stories about that years. I won’t begin a discussion that it was a genocide or not ; I want to talk about our neighborship and similarities.
I want to meet people from Harput , and want to learn the stories in their view. Hope to meet…

Comment by Oguzhan Ertem

I just came across this and think your photography and exploration of your roots is so beautiful. I’m Armenian from the same area and have always wanted to go back but have not yet so I am so happy you did. We need more Armenians to go back there and remember in those silent places, both to rediscover and to make sure that we are not forgotten, that those who are no longer there are not forgotten.

Comment by Paul

merhaba benim adım ömer, elazığda ikamet etmekteyim yorumların ve resimlerin çok güzel sizle tanışmak isterim.

Comment by ömer öz

merhaba ben ömer harputta yaşıyorum resimler çok güzel selamlar.

Comment by ömer öz

It was a pleasure viewing your picture’s. My Father Boghos was from Dzovk which is Lake Geoljuk. Do you have any information on that Village? Did you by any chance see the Village?

Comment by Harry DerMargosian

Hello Harry, thanks for taking the time to see my pictures and hear my story. I’m so sorry to say that I didn’t see the village Dzovk, we entered the lake area straight from the highway and then went back. If you ever plan a trip out to that area yourself, or if you know anyone who is, have them contact me as I can give them so advice and information on how to get around the area.

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

Hi Harry. I was born in this village as a Turkish citizen. I have actual and some historical informations -by internet searchings and grandparents- about this area. This village renamed as Sürek and also Lake renamed as Hazar Lake.I have many photos taken at different seasons and years. This place is always impresses me… If you have enough time&money to visit; just go there and feel by yourself… I am not Armenian but believing humanity and unity for mankind. If you (and other friends who want to ask about Harput-Elazığ-Palu-Sivrice) have any question just contact with me on: babacarloz [at] hotmail . com

And check te link:

Comment by Carlos

Dear Brittany Boroian,
The photos are great, you have pictured Harput very realistic.

Best wishes from Istanbul,
Alaattin Tatar


For the later generations this might be merely a trial to understand and feel their grandparents pain. For those who had to leave, this must have been a really undefinable sorrow. As a Turkish guy from the neighborhood I really don’t know how to react when I come across such websites and stories. From what I have been told, is that our village (MURI) 16 km distance to kharput used to be an Armenian village too. Many people from this region have Armenian grandparents who were actually adopted infant orphans and married to kurdish or Turkish people later on. But these are mostly hidden facts and there is a pretty good chance that Armenians from USA and Armania still have relatives in this region.

Comment by Fehmi Tutulmaz

I wondered whether anyone in the town was Armenian, but I felt really uncomfortable asking, and I felt that even if they were Armenian they may not know it or wouldn’t say.

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

I really appreciate this loving post. I am Armenian, but I can see that you have love in your heart for the people. I am thinking of visiting Kharpert, but not sure how to get in contact with Armenian people there. If anyone has some ideas on how to find Armenian people in Kharpert, please let me know!!

Comment by Reconnecting with her roots...

Both my paternal grandparents where from Harput,they where married in 1919.They lived trought the genocide,the parents of my grandfather where victims.My grandparents left Turkey in 1923 and came to Mexico in 1924,they never got a chance to return to their homeland.They where always very grateful to Mexico so they made this country their new homeland but they never forgot their traditions and their language.
I hope the someday I will go to Harput.

Comment by yeranui

If you do go, let me know and I can give you some good tips on how to get there!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

Hello, thank you for your wonderful pictures. My great grandmother was also from Harput and I am currently living in Yerevan, Armenia for a year teaching English as a Second Language at a university. I am interested in visiting Harput, do you have any information on how to get there and how to get around on arrival? Any information would be greatly appreciated and thank you for sharing your story.

Comment by Terra

I once went to college with a Steve Terzian, at Rutgers in New Jersey. You know him. Such beautiful and painful feelings run thru me looking at your photos. You are very brave to go there. One side of my family as well were also from Elazig province, from a town known as Agin. My grandfather fled during the hamidian massacres of the 1890s and came to new jersey. My father’s side were genocide survivors from Edessa, now known as Sanliurfa.

Comment by Baboghlian

I actually wrote a whole paper on my experience there. One thing that really stood out to me while traveling to that town was how helpful and wonderful all of the Turkish people were to help me get there. All I knew how to say in Turkish was ‘thank you,’ and yet somehow my friend and I were able to take two twelve hour bus rides, get a nice hotel room set up for us, and were treated with incredible respect by all of the people we met. We were once dropped off at 1 AM in Elazig in the middle of nowhere, with nowhere to go- and if it hadn’t been for a nice Turkish man who took us to a guardhouse, followed by two Turkish guards who phoned a hotel for us to stay at, we wouldn’t have gotten there at all. I think that what this trip represents to me is a basis for healing, for all of us as Armenians. I feel ready to let the past go and to move forward, and that’s what my trip taught me. Thanks for listening and I hope that you have your own experience someday!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

thank you for this so much. As a descendant of Kharpertsies myself, these pictures were SO powerful for me. Our ancestors knew each other probably.
Just wanted to throw in there, the Assyrians bought the church from the Armenians at some point, so that church you saw WAS Armenian, the architectural structure, etc
Thanks so much once again, and I hope I one day get to experience what you did. Absolutely breathtaking.

Comment by Danny Bedrosian

Thanks so much, I am so glad that you enjoyed this. It was such a powerful trip and experience for me. If you ever had the opportunity to go, let me know and I will give you all of the advice I can.

It’s wonderful to connect through these pictures! Hope we can meet someday.

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

These are remarkable! I don’t know when I will be able to travel to El Salvador and see for myself the places my mother and grandmother fled, but I’m glad that you took this trip and really searched for your roots and history. It is unfortunate that many of us do not get the chance to do so. Bravo!

Comment by Letty

Closest I got to my great grandparents’ haunts was a town mostly composed of genocide survivors’ ancestors called Kessab, on the Syrian/Turkish border. Oh this was heaven on earth….cool in the summer, and fertile green. Drank haygagan sourj and played tavlu on this nice porch.

Comment by Vigen Baboghlian

A beautiful pictorial story of Harput. Both my parents are genocide survivors. My sister vistied my father’s village, Kiramet, in the State of Bursa, Turkey. She described it as an Alpine Village and your pictures helped to define what my father’s village must have looked like prior to 1915. You can call your journey a pilgrimage and I loved the ladybug analogy which was moving.

Comment by Lucille Sarkisian

Thank you so much for this ttauriol – it was extremely helpful and the most straightforward ttauriol I've followed in HTML. Well done!

Comment by Helpin

EOv2bF hwygnoeoelld

Comment by augyek

Dear Brittany,
While doing research on the computer, I found your pictures and descriptions of Kharpert.
Both of my parents were from Kharpert. Mother was born in Mezire (Elazig), her parents were born in Veri Khokh, my father was born in Khulakyugh, and his mother in Pazmashen (Buzmuhshen). I have a paternal aunt who lives in Chicago who is 104 years old and vividly remembers the past.
I know the names of some of some of the places you were unable to identify. I would be glad to share this information with you.
Charles Hardy

Comment by Charles Hardy (Garabed Kherdian)

I came across your pictures and story about Harput doing research on the story of a Genocide survivor, a great aunt, from the Sivas province. I read some of Leslie Davis’s account of the killing around Lake Goeljuk. You were very brave to go there.

I visited Merzifon and Amasia, my mother’s family home. It was a very moving experience. There were some old destroyed houses, but nothing like what you have documented.

Great work!

Comment by Alexander Lewis

Thanks Alex! Glad you had the opportunity to go there as well.

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

Super su mi nove oicpje za blog, ali što god da isprobam ništa mi ne uspije, uvijek mi izbaci ovu poruku "Predložak nije moguće analizirati jer nije dobro oblikovan. Provjerite jesu li svi XML elementi dobro zatvoreni. Poruka o pogrešci s XML-om: The value of attribute "alt" associated with an element type "null" must not contain the '<' character.Error 500"Molim savjet i pomoć!

Comment by Auth

I really enjoyed your pictures and comments. I have been very curious about Harput because my husband’s family came from there (in the 1920s). I am so sad to learn that buildings are falling apart and that few people live there. I had no idea. For years I had been interested traveling to Harput (from the US) to see the family’s homeland. But after reading your story I have decided that I should probably not go. Thank you for your thoughtful story. I especially liked your comments about your aunt. Your sensitive story satisfied my curiosity about Harput.

—– Amy C.

Comment by Amy C.

Hi Amy! I’m glad you enjoyed my pictures and reflections, but I think you should go to Harput to experience it yourself! Everyone’s experience is different… and honestly, I must say it was one of the most amazing days of my life and so worth the journey. If you are curious, go for it! I’m glad that you enjoyed hearing about mine. Cheers,

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

This is an amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing it.
I am thinking about making a similar trip. My grandparents were both born in Huesenig, right next to Harput. I will be sending you an email to ask for some advice.

Comment by George L.

Thank you for your rich and reflective posts. I am researching these visits to ancestral towns by Armenians from around the world and would very much appreciate a correspondence if you could. Carel

Comment by Carel Bertram

The awsenr to most of your questions above is Yes. Yes, they are brainwashed, and they were brainwashed in school, and they are brainwashing their children this very minute into believing that Kamil Ataturk was the man of the century when in fact he was just a very naught boy.The problem I think is not one of external losing face but internal politicking. Ataturk is the face of secular Turkey, and secular Turkey is locked in a war for the hearts and minds of Turks with religous Turkey. If secular Turks admit that their dear leader was a génocidaire then that rather undermines their position.The problem is that a dead génocidaire remains a symbol od a modern-day movement. In Belgium, Leopold II was also a génocidaire, just a decade before Ataturk, but Leo is no longer the symbol of anything, so we feel free to bash him. Curiously, nobody bothers, and most Belgians remain oblivious to his crimes.

Comment by Alexandru

Excellent information!! Both my parents are genocide survivors from Kharpert. My father was from the Dzvok and my mother was from Mezre. If you haven’t seen the award winning documentary ‘Voices From the Lake’, it would be great for you to view!! I aided in this epic film as it tells the story of what happened to the Armenians in Kharpert and Dzvok in particular. You can obtain a copy through the Armenian Film Foundation in California.
Dr. J. Michael Hagopian, the Founder of the Armenian film Foundation, did an outstanding job on ‘Voices From the Lake’ which once and for all documents the veracity of the Genocide.

Comment by Robert Kachadourian, Ph.D.

Can you get this documentary anywhere else? Is Dvok near Lake Golcuk? Reason I ask is, the Armenian name for the lake was “dzovoug”, i.e. “mini sea”. I also want to get a hold of Hagopian’s “The River Ran Red”. Thanks for you help.

Comment by Avedis Hallajian

slm ben elazığlı serdal karacan ve halen elazığda yaşamktayım paylaşımlarınızı çok güzel yanlız çok güzel yerlerde vardı sanırım gitmemişsiniz .

Comment by serdal

fantastic work.
you could have taken the picture of that assyriac church by approaching the locked gate of it.
I approached the gate last summer, looked through the hole on the gate and saw pictures of jesus and old curtains etc.

and theres another church down the harput road still used by the tiny armenian community. its located betwween the downtown and harput road. just next to aslyum..

Comment by Tolga

I am delighted to read in the papers that many Armenians are touring eastern anatolia nowadays, and are reconnecting with the locals there. The more we interact with the remaining residents, the more they will understand the true history of their land, not the revisionist stuff they are told to believe in their textbooks. Of course, many of them are not only ethnically turks, but also kurds, hamshen armenians, alevis, and zazas. The economically depressed east of the country could greatly benefit from diasporan tourism dollars, as well as from re-opening of the Armenian border to trade. I am very supportive of a turkish/armenian organization called the TABDC, and its efforts in this area.

Comment by Vigen Baboghlian

I want to know if someone of the people who writes here, heard about my grandparents, both where from Harput, but they left in the the 1920’s.
My grandfather name was: Sarkis Kaloyan, and my grandmother maiden name was Haiganoush Agopian.

Comment by Yeranui Kaloyan

Thank you for this amazing post!! My grandparents are from Kharpert. I am going to take my mother – who will be 80 this year – and my daughter to Kharpert this summer. I am researching travel arrangements now. I would love to talk to you! Do you have an email address or phone number where I may reach you? My grandparents came over from Kharpert around 1918 or so. My mother has never been here and Armenian was her first language. It will be very moving. Your pictures and story are beautiful. Thank you for this gift!

Comment by Reconnecting with her roots...

I will be in Kharpert at the end of May with a few Armenians looking at their family’s past. can I help or send information to you?

Comment by Carel Bertram


Comment by betty stewart

Hi to all. My name is Yeranui Kaloyan, I am from Mexico. Both my paternal grandparents were from Harput. They came to Mexico in 1924. My grandfather name was Sarkis Kaloyan and my grandmother maiden name was Haiganoush Agopian or Hagopian. I wonder if any of your great grandparents knew them.
My grandfather was gong to be a Priest, but because of the Genocide he didn’t finish.

Comment by Yeranui Kaloyan

Hi Yeranui- My name is Tashjian but it wasn’t my gfathers real name when he lived in Harput area. My cousin said it was Kadoyan he thought. I have not found that name but found out that there was a lot of Kaloyan’s from Harput area. My gfather died before I was born, but I am wondering if the family name was kaloyan. not kadoyan. Also, I noticed that they imigrated to Mexico and I have heard for years in my family that we have relatives in Mexico.

Comment by patti tashjian

My granfather spelled the name as Kaloyan, but he had a cousin in the USA who spelled Kaloian.
My granparents came to Mexico in October of 1924. He was the only Armenian whose last name was Kaloyan.

Comment by Yeranui Kaloyan

Hi Patti! My Paternal Grandmother was Armenouhi Tashjian and also from Kharbert!

Comment by Josh Mushegyan

my father was from kharput his name was moushegh sarkissian his father’s name was sarkis his mother’s name was sultan both were killed in the genocide and father with other childrens brought to an orphanage in palestine of that days if somebody knows some one who knew or is their relative please contact me on my mail kohar@cargo-marine .com your pictures are amazing

Comment by kohar sarkissian

Dear Brittany, Thank you for this awesome post! I recently learned that my grandmother’s family was from Kharput. Her mother’s family was Kurkjian and her father’s family was Hazarian. I read Leslie Davis’s book, Slaughterhouse Province and looked up the name of the lake (which is now Hazar) and found your blog. Your photos are beautiful and your words are precious.

Comment by auntsherisays

My grandmother was from Harput, her maiden name was Kurkjian. Perhaps we are related. She and her mother escaped the massacres in 1895, and ended up in Boston where her three brothers had settled earlier. My grandmother’s mother’s maiden name was either Soligian or Sohigian.

Comment by Ruth Arvanian Bowler

Dear Brittany, thank you for photos. I am a Turkish man, and I wanna tell you something which I know but you didi not. My grand grand father went to war with his brother. And the war lasted for 17 years. He was in Libya for 11 years, than returned to Kharput, and his wife supposed that a beggar had come. He then went for Turkish-Russian war. He came back alone because his brother was dead. So so so, Armenians were our best neighbours. When Ottoman lost his power, western governments told the Armenians to rise in rebellion. The most important point which you forgotten is when the Turkish men was in war at the Ottoman borders (Armenians do not go war because they not muslim), Armenians hit Turkish neighbours when Turkish are exhausted. Please see the picture backside. We were not at home when Armenians kicked our doors. Armenians does not remember the Dashnak commities which were aimed to destroy Ottoman. So mandatory migration decision came which you named as genocide. If you kick your neighbours door when they are not at home, citizens will not collect apple for you. I sympathize your sorrow, please do not forget our pain. We have a Turkish proverb: Neihbour needs other neigbours ash.

Comment by Fatih AZIK

just because a few doors are kicked in like you say, does not mean you eliminate an entire nation. have a nice day.

Comment by mokrakuynarchuk

“Mandatory migration” is as ridiculous a euphemism as “legitimate rape.” Millions of Armenians died. Turkey needs to admit to the genocide if it ever hopes to join the modern world.

Comment by Martin

Fatih AZIK, I have extensively studied the Armenian genocide and I have also traveled to Turkey and spoken to scholars on their understanding of the events. Since birth, you, and the rest of Turkey have been fed a story that is simply untrue. It is in your history books, but that is a biased, one-sided opinion. I am offended that you would suggest that Armenians themselves ‘kicked doors down.’ What happened to our ancestors were murder, plain and simple.

However, my blog is not a forum for debate or arguments. This is the story of my family and where my ancestors’ lived and died. Please take your opinions to another forum.

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

My great grandfather Garabed Tashjian of Hussenig, Kharpert was a prominent supporter of the reform movement for a constitutional government in Turkey. He was one of the first to be killed in the genocide led by Talaat Pasha et al. Arrested early for one year in prison first. Later they tortured him to death in front of his wife and family. Fatih you have not been told the truth of history.

Comment by Janine

Hello Janine.
My Great Grandmother was Armene Tashjian(Lamson after her marriage to my Great Father) and was also born in Karputh. Maybe there is a possible relation? She had a few siblings named Hagop, Souren, Dickran, and Nouvart. If not, that’s still a strange coincidence.
Peace and Love from Los Angeles.
Josh Tashjian

Comment by Josh Tashjian

Are you by any chance related to Hayastan Magakian Terzian, she is one of my Armenian relatives, who passed away years ago, also from Harput – as is my great grandmother

Comment by Charles Plummer

Yes, actually! My great grandmother’s last name was Terzian!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

i was borne in Harput. İ lived long time in Harput. when i a young boy i wisited all of armenian historical haus, garden, cemeteries and etc.. i saw your great grandmother, Agnes Terzian’s father haus in Harput. a kurdis family live into your great grandmother Agnes Terzian’ fathers’s haus now. i saw your great grandfather’s and great grandmother cemeteries. it is in the west of Harput now. There is a fountain in front of their cemeteries. in case of, if you want to see your great grantfahher’ and mothers house, vineyard and family cemeteries so i can see you. i know your family sad history. i read a aide-memoire about them how to escape and to hid them life written by your great grantfather. if you want to learn about all of them life i will add my facebook adres. see you later. (

Comment by kharpert

[…] The Place My Great Grandmother Was Born […]

Pingback by Things To Do Before I Die « Change Yourself…Change The World.

Dear Brittany
My name is Charles Terzian. My grandmother and my father were from Harput. My grandmother and my dad are both deceased. I had oftened spoke to my dad about his childhood and he was not able to speak about his childhood for what ever the reason. I had once asked him if he desired to go back and visit his homeland he his reply was never. Your pictures have help me to see were my grandparents and my father came from. I hope to some day visit Harput myself and I am sure I will get the same results you did. I just cannot image what it was like being uprooted and made to take your love ones across the desert and go to a new unknown land to start a new life. My grandmother settled in Arlington ,Mass. My family home stills stands and I visits my family occasional . When all the cousins get together we talk about our mothers and fathers and what it must of been like to be uprooted and come to a new land not knowing what to expect. I am most grate full for your determination to make the journey and show us all the great pictures of the area were it all started. Thank you Charles Terzian Glen Ellen, California

Comment by Charles Terzian

I’m so glad you were able to see Harput through these photos. It is an incredible place, I suggest you go there someday if possible!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

Did you ever take any pictures of the orphange? My Grandmother was in a German orphange as well.

Comment by Sandra

I didn’t visit the orphanage in Germany

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

My grandfather ( Vartan) was from Kharput.
I lived in Van for 7 years recently. However because I am Armenian, I mean my heritage is Armenian there was Very much serious trouble. My property was stolen friends taken by police and more. This was just in the last few years.

Comment by victor bedoian

Great travel blog and photos. The comments have been most enjoyable as well.

I’m doing research for a novel that takes place in Dzovk (Surek) in 1915. My challenge has been trying to find maps from that period that identify some of the villages around the lake as described in Leslie Davis’ account of the Armenian genocide, “Slaughterhouse Province.” If would welcome any sources you might have. Also, if you happen to have travel pictures of villages around the lake or other lake photos I would be interested in seeing them, as I can’t afford to travel there myself.
Feel free to contact me at dave (dot) swift at att (dot) net

Comment by David Swift, Grass Valley, CA

My Grand parents also escaped from this city they had a Blacksmith shop in the upper center of town, their parents where murdered and my grandmothers husband was murdered as well so she married my grandfather Her name was Sultan Mardirrosian and his Bagdasar Hovinessian they settled in Cambridge Mass after arriving in Worcester.They had four children John, Agnes, Ann,and Helen John changed his name to Johnson and became the first Amenian untertaker in New England burying many of the people that came here from Turkey. I have the records and will donate it to the museum.Thanks so much for sharing your journey as I longed to go but most likely will never be able I shared your feelings about the Town and your desciption was wonderful I gave the clothes they came in to the mesuem in Watertown Mass I can be reached by email at
My Mother was Ann all are deceased now but they were loving people and never sowed hatred and preferred not to talk about it. I interviewed many survivors there is much to tell my mother married a Mac Donald from Cambridge hence my good Amenian name Donald Mac Donald {lol}
Proud on my Amenian heritage excuse my spelling

Comment by Donald Mac Donald

My grandfather was from Harput. Last of 15 children. I am Armenian and Assyrian. Than you for the pictures. I never made it there and your gorgeous pix and insight was awesome!

Comment by Christine

The Turks and (some Kurds) have to sit on their knees and apologize for the Armenian Genocide.

A Kurdish man from Dersim (a town near Xarpet) who lives in Elazig

Comment by Ozcan

My great grandmother was also born in Harput and eventually fled to the united states after WWI.
She was Assyrian and recounted numerous stories to my great Aunts about the purges of Harput of Armenians and Assyrians .

Comment by Jeremiah George

Recently, we established the “KHARPERT CULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA” based in Glendale, California. If you wish to be on the mailing list, please e-mail to:

Comment by Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan

Armenia kiel moslem milone ? criesten kiel Bosnien Afganistan İrak İsrael 3 miloen moslem kiel …….

Comment by Geoljuk sivrice

Tüm insanlığa ve özellikle Anadolu tporaklarında bir damla veya bir zerre dahi geçmişi olan,Halen bu toprakların dışında yaşayanlar veya bu topraklarda yaşayanlar,Artık geçmişin acılarını bu kutsal Anadolu topraklarına gömme zamanı gelmedimi?Bu saydığım Anadolu topraklarının mirasçıları bu topraklar için gelin yemin edelim.Geçmişi unutalım ,bugün hep beraber,hep birlikte Din,Dil,Köken gibi değerler kendi şahsi iç dünyamızda kalsın.Hep beraber artık bu toprakların bir çiçeğini,bir tek böceğini,kısaca tüm değerlerini hep birlikte kullanalım.
Bu toprakların dışında kalanlar,bu toraklardan uzak kalmayın ,gelin,bu Harputlu bayan kardeşimiz gibi gezin,Buralardaki insanlar ile diyalog kurun.Kardeşiliğimizi pekiştirin.Siz onlara onlarda sizlere güven duysun.Bu yüzyılın ve gelecek yüzyılların olmazsa olmazı bu olmalıdır.Çeşitli nedenlerle dağılmış Anadolu insanları bir araya gelin,bu toprakların bereketi hepimize yeter.
Alaattin Tatar /Harputlu/İstanbulda yaşıyor


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Comment by Webhosting

My name is Charles Terzian I live in California and I found your web page one day and was intrigued with what you did. The pictures were unbelievable and most interesting. My dad never spoke about his town when he was alive. My grandfather was killed by the turks. My grandmother gather all her children 5 and started on a journey to a better life in American.My family settled in Boston where I was born When I looked at your pictures I have thoughts of my family living in this city and then being ousted by the turks and then having to make the long journey to a land they were not familiar with. I do not my grandmother’s name We just called her mezama sp . Again i thank you for my history
Charles Terzian

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Comment by Roseanne

Seeing your beautiful pictures, and the stories that accompany them, make me want to travel to my great-grandparents village of Marsovan, which is now called Merzifon. Thank you so much for posting.

Comment by Gina-Marie Cheeseman (@gmcheeseman)

So beautiful and thank you for sharing. My grandmother Arpine Berberian escaped. She was from Istanbul. She came to America with nothing and started her own business as a tailor. She was so gifted. She made all of her own clothing and made all of my clothes growing up as a child. She spoke 4 languages, played the oud and was so beautiful.. I am half Armenian and most proud of this part of my heritage. Your Armenian beauty is self evident!

Comment by Carla Krochak

Hello Brittany. I am also A Kharpertzy from Pazmashen and Grandfather Tateos was from Chimishgedzak Villyet. His village was Hazari. His famillly name is Sohigian, and i have a map indicating their home was behind the church and the school. I know many famillys from this village in Ma.. I have never been there , but would like to know if Hazari is populated now. I know it is a Kurdish area . Can you provide anything on this? I loved your pictures and the comments .

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Comment by Chasity

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Comment by IC plan

Hi Brittany, I’m from Elazığ. But I’m not an armenian. i think your grandmom was an armenian, because i heard from my grandmom that, armenians were living in harput, but they killed us(turkish people) and so we killed armenians. i don’t know it’s true or not. Whatever, your photos are really nice. thank you so much.
Enes, from Elazig.

Comment by Enes

My great-grandparents and their seven sons fled Harpoot in the late 1890s. I’ve always wanted to go there, but worried about traveling through Turkey with my Armenian last name. Did you feel safe traveling through the country?

Comment by Elle Dee

Oh, forgive me. I of course want to thank you for taking this journey and for posting these beautiful pictures. Your story in images and words is deep and powerful. Thank you.

Comment by Elle Dee

Of course you can go safely. We dont kill you, promise 🙂 Also there is a church in Harput and there is another one in the city center. Still many Armenians live in there. Don’t worry, its safe.

Comment by Enes

my family is from here as well….my great-grandparents. your story brought me to tears, as I saw myself in your pictures. BRAVO to you. and thank you for posting this beautiful post.

Comment by michelle

Brittany what an awesome blog post. My grandparents were also from Kharpert.

Comment by Janine

Great photos! My grandmother was from Harput as well and left under the same circumstances. I have visited Armenia and it awakened my blood! Thank you for the photos!

Comment by Greg Tatosian

I can’t stop crying. My grandparents came from outside elizig.
comment by Mary Ahmadjian Piretti

Comment by mary piretti

Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience with us! My great grandparents fled Edirne and Bursa during the genocide and I’m planning my trip there this year. You’re an inspiration.

Comment by siyana

Came across these evocative photos while googling Harpooth, where my father was born in 1910. Thanks so much. In a written account of his childhood he tells that there was an oddly-shaped hill near the city. A bishop decided it was not natural and had it excavated, and they found an old Armenian church.
This may have been the building you saw.

Comment by Pat Stephens

My father was born in Kharput about 1902 and he and his family immigrated to the US about 1910. His family’s name was Tamamian. My grandfather had a general store there, his first name was Murgaditch and his wife was Elizabeth (don’t know the Armenian translation).

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Comment by Mirta

Beautiful! What a great Photo Essay! My Great Grandmother is from Karputh, Armenia. Her name was Armene (Armenouhie) Tashjian.

Comment by Joshua Tashjian

I enjoyed your post, a very touching story since my Grandparents fled to Us Cambridge Ma in 1897 Their familys did not survive the genocide
You made the trip that we all yearn for but do not feel safe to go Thanks for sharing your experience
Donald mac Donald

Comment by Donald Mac Donald

Hi everyone, my family name is Chahda and was told that we are originally from kharberd can anyone help me so I can know my roots Ray Chahda

Comment by Ray

Thank you for taking such significant pictures!
My mothers side is from kharpert!
My maternal great grandfather was a director of a school there. He was brutally killed by the Tutks in front of my great grandmother!
Family names are Bezdigian and Koltookian.
She lived to be 100 years old in Lowell, Ma.

Comment by Denise Kludjian Espinosa de los Monteros.

My grandmother Paris was from Kharput, Armenia. She lost her baby sister during the genocide there. That affected her entire life. She came to America with her parents as a teenager. Their names were Dervishian. I wonder if they have relatives left over there? The pictures, and words were really beautiful, and compelling. Thank you, Dee

Comment by Dee

My grandmother Paris, and great grandparents fled Kharput, and like a previous commentator ended up in Cambridge, MA.

Comment by Dee

Great pictures! I am Turkish. I was born and raised in Elazig and I have been to Harput many times. I couldn’t stop crying while reading your story. It is a genuine sorrow and pain. I think empathy is the cure for all of these tragedy and trauma. We should understand each other and look forward.
Best, Bilal

Comment by Bilal

Thank you for posting these photos of your trip. My grandfather lived in Harpoot. But left right before 1915.
I’ve thought many times of visiting the villages of my grandparents. I can only imagine how powerful it was for you visiting there.

Comment by Diane Topakian

Thank you for having this page. I have never seen the town, and also have a connection. Leslie Davis was my great-grandfather’s first cousin but about the same age as my grandfather, in fact, his family stayed with my grandparents and aunts in Port Jeff when WWII broke out until they had their own home up and running.

Was your grandmother one of the people he got out of Turkey?

Comment by Sukie Davis Crandall

Opps, your great-grandmother, of course.

Sadly, our part of the family lost track of Leslie’s part after they moved away followed by my grandfather developing dementia. It is only in recent years that we have learned more about him.

I passed along your site to a cousin who has tracked down multiple distant family members in case she has been in touch or wants to seek Leslie’s descendents. If so, your page URL can be shared with them.

Comment by Sukie Davis Crandall

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