ARDAMED/EDREMIT, Van Province, Turkey/Western Armenia – The question as to whether in the famous town of Van, the historic capital of Armenia, and its surrounding province, there is an Armenian population in the 21st century now has a definite and positive answer. Gayane has moved to Van four years ago, bought an apartment, and can see the lake literally from her window.
Originally from the countryside of the Martuni settlement of Armenia, she moved to Istanbul in 2003, whence she visited the historic town of Van. “I loved Van so much. Later when I checked with my relatives, it turned out that my fraternal grandmother was originally from the Van region. I promised myself that I would settle down here,” Gayane said during our interview over Skype.
She tells about going to the Armenian Surp Khach (Holy Cross) Church of Van, where she asked God to help her to resettle in the town of her ancestors. “Four years later I reached my goal. Now I have a home in Van,” Gayane said.
Her apartment is in historic Ardamed known for its juicy apples. The Turks changed the name to Edremit. She walks on the lake shore every day.
Gayane’s neighbors are ethnic Kurds. Some have also Armenian origins. Some people don’t want to say it loudly, others do. They tell me: “What a pity this tragedy happened and Armenians left. Had Armenians been here we would have advanced significantly. There would be factories here,” Gayane related her neighbors’ vision in our communication.
After touring the famous Akhtamar Island Gayane Gevorgyan set up another goal: to do a small renovation at the famous Surp Khach Church there and fix the place where candles are lit. “About twenty days ago, I received the permission from the local government. I will solicit funds to make this happen,” Gayane said.