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Pharasa (Ottoman Period)

Author(s) : Karachristos Ioannis (9/9/2005)
Translation : Korka Archonti

For citation: Karachristos Ioannis, "Pharasa (Ottoman Period) ",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=9945>

Φάρασα  (11/6/2006 v.1) Pharasa (Ottoman Period)  (3/12/2007 v.1) 
 

1. Anthropogeography – History

Old mountainous settlement in the eastern part of Cappadocia, built at an altitude of 1050 m above sea level. Its present name is Çamlıca. The settlement is built at the junction of the mountain range of Ala Dağ in the west with Antitaurus in the east, near the confluence of Samanti River with its feeder, Kuş Dere. The morphology of the area should have inhibited communication between Pharasa and other locations. However, this was not the case. Pharasa is on the road connecting Kaisareia (Kayseri) with Adana, while on the side of Ala Dağ there were some narrow crossings leading to Niğde. Therefore, although Pharasa was isolated from the regional urban centres, it was connected by road with most of them.

The name Pharasa is probably the Turkish version of the Greek name Varassos, which is found in the area since Antiquity.1 The existence of Christian population in the area around the settlement is really long-standing, as evidenced by the deserted villages and the remains of churches found there. Pharasa must have been inhabited exclusively by Christian Orthodox families, while very few Muslim families are reported.2 In particular, in 1905, the Christian population at Pharasa was estimated at about 1600 souls, only to be reduced to 583 persons or 204 families in 1924.3 At that time, there were no more than 15 Muslim residents at Pharasa.4

It is very likely that the Greek-Orthodox of Pharasa settled there relatively late in order to exploit the mines. This means that this habitation was not unfailing and long standing. The closure of the mines around 1873 in combination with the administrative arbitrariness of the bey of Pharasa, Kazanoglu, caused the emigration of a large number of people. Many Pharasa natives moved again close to mines, thus creating a group of villages around Afşar and Fkosi. Several of them, however, moved towards the centres of the wider region, such as Kaisareia, Nigdĕ, Mersin, Ikonio, Talaş and Zincidere.5

The Greek-Orthodox of Pharasa spoke a Greek idiom, which was different from the other Cappadocian idioms and was quite similar to the Pontic language.6 Although the evidence is not irrefutable, it is possible that these similarities can be explained, as the residents worked at the mines. The emigration of Pontic miners in search of new mines is very well known. It seems that the influences from the Turkish language are easier to explain, as the residents of Pharasa, apart from Greek, also spoke Turkish.7

Part of the village was built on a great limestone cliff – this obviously divided the settlement into two quarters (mahalle), the upper and the lower. There was a fortress at the highest point of the cliff. As regards the architecture of the houses, they were carved but also built structures. The former were mostly small, single-space buildings, but also deep underground structures mostly used as storage spaces and could be found either under the houses built on the ground or within some distance from them.8

2. Economy

The main occupation of the residents before 1873 was mining in the wider area. The exact type and location of the mines is not known, but it is assumed that they were the iron mines of Karahisari Develi.9 After their closure, those who remained in the area had to go into new business.

A large part of the residents were involved in agriculture, although this was not their main activity. This would not have been possible, as the soil did not provide the possibility for developing a significant agricultural production that would be capable of covering the nutritional needs of the residents. They cultivated grains, vines, pulses, fruits as well as buckthorn for the production of dyes. There was also limited domestic stock farming serving the needs of local consumption and, finally, small-scale apiculture.10

The residents of Pharasa were mostly into small business and offered their services either to stores they had at Pharasa or as peddlers moving around the nearby villages. Many of them reached as far as the lowlands of Cilicia, especially in periods of increased work related to the cultivation of cotton and the harvest of wheat. This seasonal emigration concerned both sexes, although the women sometimes worked as maids as well. Finally, there were also those who moved towards the great urban centres of the western coast of Asia Minor, mostly Smyrna and Constantinople, although this was not so common.11

3. Society – Institutions

3. 1. Administration

Pharasa was a muhtarlıkwhich successively belonged to the müdürlük of Develi, the kaymakamlık of Everek, the mutasarrıflık of Kayseri (Kaisareia) and the vilayet of Ankara.12 The community organisation remained traditional until the end, as only the institutions necessary for the smooth integration of the settlement into the Ottoman Empire’s administrative mechanism were developed. Each of the two neighbourhoods the village was divided into elected a six-member community council by viva voce. The supreme administrative body of Pharasa came from these two councils. This body was called "muhtarlık" or "meclis" and comprised the head of the community, the first muhtar, the second in rank sani muhtar and their consultants, the so-called kedhüdas or âzas. The muhtars were responsible for collecting taxes, caring for public safety, controlling the prices and merchandise of the local market as well as for the allocation of water. A few community clerks, such as the hayward and the person responsible for stock grazing, assisted them with their duties.

The Church played a really important role in the community. The priest, often in cooperation with the community officials, was responsible for the management of community property, which included arable land, ecclesiastical objects and money, as well as for the management of the few community institutions, a church and a rudimentary school.

3. 2. Religion

Ecclesiastically, Pharasa belonged in the Diocese of Caesarea (Kaisareia). According to oral testimony, the residents had to contribute one kuruş (piaster) per person as contribution to the diocese.13 The village had a church at the lower quarter.

Any of the residents that could cover the relevant expenses, considered it their obligation to travel to the Holy Land and receive the title of chatzis. The chatziliki, as this pilgrimage was called, was very popular among both men and women. The pilgrims departed in groups at the beginning of Lent, usually accompanied by a priest from the village, spent Easter in Jerusalem, were baptised symbolically in Jordan River and started their journey back after the first Sunday after Easter.14 This journey, along with all the accompanying rituals, was of decisive importance for the pilgrims as well as for the community.

3. 3. Education

The Church was responsible for education and, therefore, the village priest was in charge of the operation of the only school, which was donated by a Pharasa native that had emigrated to Smyrna. According to oral testimonies, the school must have been in operation at least from 1874 until the Exchange of Populations. Nevertheless, it seems that, with the exception of the period 1906-1912, there was difficulty finding capable teachers for the school. The students were taught Greek, ecclesiastical history and arithmetic. More courses, such as Ottoman Turkish and gymnastics, were added in the last period before the Exchange of Populations.15

1. Α.Κ.Μ.Σ., Φάρασα, ΚΠ 344; Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., Μικρά Ασία, 19ος αι.-1919. Οι Ελληνορθόδοξες Κοινότητες: Από το Μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο Ελληνικό Έθνος2 (Athens 1998), p. 185. A map of Kiepert mentions the version Farash, see Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., as above, p. 185. Kyrillos of Constantinople, Ιστορική περιγραφή του εν Βιέννη προεκδοθέντος χωρογραφικού πίνακος της μεγάλης αρχισατραπίας Ικονίου (Constantinople 1815), p. 15, also mentions the version Pharasoni. He attributes the name of the settlement to an alliteration of the name of a church existing in the area, which was dedicated to martyrs Jonas and Barachisius.

2. Α.Κ.Μ.Σ., Φάρασα, ΚΠ 344.

3. Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., Μικρά Ασία, 19ος αι.-1919. Οι Ελληνορθόδοξες Κοινότητες: Από το Μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο Ελληνικό Έθνος2 (Athens 1998), p. 663.

4. Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., Μικρά Ασία, 19ος αι.-1919. Οι Ελληνορθόδοξες Κοινότητες: Από το Μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο Ελληνικό Έθνος2 (Athens 1998), p. 663.

5. Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., Μικρά Ασία, 19ος αι.-1919. Οι Ελληνορθόδοξες Κοινότητες: Από το Μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο Ελληνικό Έθνος2 (Athens 1998), pp. 167, 663.

6. Ανδριώτης, Ν.Π., Το Γλωσσικό Ιδίωμα των Φαράσων (Athens 1948), pp. 7-14.

7. Ανδριώτης, Ν.Π., Το Γλωσσικό Ιδίωμα των Φαράσων (Athens 1948), pp. 7-14 and Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., Μικρά Ασία, 19ος αι.-1919. Οι Ελληνορθόδοξες Κοινότητες: Από το Μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο Ελληνικό Έθνος2 (Athens 1998), p. 663.

8. Α.Κ.Μ.Σ., Φάρασα, ΚΠ 345, chap. VI.

9. Faroqhi, S., Towns and townsmen in Ottoman Anatolia: Trade, crafts and food-production in an urban setting, 1520-1650 (Cambridge 1984), p. 175, with the map of Asia Minor including the mines operating in the late 16th century.

10. Ασβεστή, Μ., Επαγγελματικές ασχολίες των Ελλήνων της Καππαδοκίας (Athens 1980), p. 158.

11. Α.Κ.Μ.Σ., Φάρασα, ΚΠ 361; Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., Μικρά Ασία, 19ος αι.-1919. Οι Ελληνορθόδοξες Κοινότητες: Από το Μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο Ελληνικό Έθνος2 (Athens 1998), p. 366; Ασβεστή, Μ., Επαγγελματικές ασχολίες των Ελλήνων της Καππαδοκίας (Athens 1980), pp. 157-160.

12. Α.Κ.Μ.Σ., Φάρασα, ΚΠ 344.

13. Α.Κ.Μ.Σ., Φάρασα, ΚΠ 344.

14. Λουκόπουλος, Δ. – Πετρόπουλος, Δ., Η Λαϊκή Λατρεία των Φαράσων (Athens 1949), pp. 53-57.

15. About education, see Α.Κ.Μ.Σ., Φάρασα, ΚΠ 353 and Αναγνωστοπούλου, Σ., Μικρά Ασία, 19ος αι.-1919. Οι Ελληνορθόδοξες Κοινότητες: Από το Μιλλέτ των Ρωμιών στο Ελληνικό Έθνος2 (Athens 1998), pp. 366-367.

     
 
 
 
 
 

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