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Trabzon


City’s cultural life    EN

Author: EMIROGLU KUDRET

Trabzon-born Mekhitarist monk P. Minas Bıjışkyan (b. 1777) repeats the saying that there had been 365 churches in Trabzon one for each day of the year but during his visit in 1812 he cites 24 Greek churches, 11 of them in regular service. [1] The Armenian community had 3 churches at that time. [2]

The oldest known churches survived because they had been converted into mosques. In the Trabzon area, the worship of Apollon, Hadrian and Dionysos can be traced, while Mithraism was very strong; the shrine in mount Mithrion (‘Boztepe’) had been converted into a monastery. According to the legend, the martyr Eugenios came to the city in 300 A.D., whereas the first church was most probably built around 800 and it is understood that Eugenios became the patron saint of the city after the 1223 Turkish attack. The Metropolitan Lazaropoulos (1364-68) first mentions him in his book “Miracles of Saint Eugenios”. The Komnenos dynasty, to legitimize its independence, used Christianity, dedicating the cathedral to Saint Eugenios (converted into a mosque after the conquest).

The first Armenian bishop served in Trabzon in 1345. Both the Venetians and the Genoese were offered concessions to build their Catholic churches in the city (though after the Black Sea closed to non-Ottoman ships, they were either abandoned or converted into Greek churches). The Catholics received a firman to build a church in 1855 which is still in service.. Never has a Jewish community been present in Trabzon.

Bryer and Winfield identify 17 churches before 1204 in the city and 46 after, whereas 27 were built after the Ottoman conquest of 1461. [3] The conversion into mosques took place throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. After 1923, the abandoned churches were converted either into mosques or into social centres. Some others were destroyed (as was the case with some mosques and türbes) in the 1930s due to the plan for a ‘modern city’. Today we can identify 11 converted mosques.

The archbishop of Trabzon, Kostandinos Efendi, during his long service (1830-1879), had many of the churches in Trabzon repaired and almost cmpletely rebuilt, owing to the empowerment brought by the 1856 Reform Act (‘Islahat Fermanı’) as it became possible to act without the consent of the central government, which was hard to receive up to that point. From an architectural perspective, noticeable also in the mosques and other edifices, this meant altering the historical nature of the heritage. The churches and the monasteries reflected the prosperity of the Greek community of the 19th century.

Şakir Şevket, the first writer of Trabzon history in Turkish in 1877, accounts for 44 mosques, 24 Greek and 3 Armenian churches, 2 Catholic and 2 Protestant churces in the city. [4] This number is in accordance with the one given by Bijişkyan and by the Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi in 1879. [5]

Inscriptions moved from one church to another, chrysobulls, historical and travel accounts mention 90 churches in the city, but the number could be lowered because of duplications of 38 of them, while only 35 have been physically identified.

Nu [6]

N [7]

Dedication

Sect

Before 1204

1204-1461

After 1461

Destroyed before 1915

Destroyed after 1915

Ruined or surviving

1

15 65

Church B

 

X

     

1958

 

2

 

St Akindynos (Kindinar Camii)

 

X

       

S

3

4

St Barbara

 

?

         

4

3

St Barbara monastry ?

 

?

       

R

5

 

St Basil

 

X

X

   

X

 

Inscription 542. Repaired in 1867, completely built in 1890-95. Destroyed in 1972.

6

 

St Anne (Küçük Avyasıl)

 

X

       

S

One of the oldest churches present in the city. Built in the 7th c., repaired in the 9th. There is a Roman relief on top of the the south portal. Used as a depot after 1923. Empty but not open and not restored.

7

 

Theotokos Chrysokephalos monastery (Fatih Camii)

 

X

X

     

S

Inscription 914. The modern plan of reveals an 12th century intervention. It was the cathedral of the city. Converted by Fatih 1461.

8

26 67

St Constantine

 

?

X

 

X

   

The reference in 1223 may be a place name. Recorded in 1487.

9

48 73

St Dynamis

 

? referred to in 1223

       

?

10

 

St Eugenios cave church

 

?

     

X

 

Discovered in 1898, reported in 1904.

11

 

St Eustratios/ Karlık

 

? referred in 1223

       

R

12

 

St George of the Limnians

 

X?

   

X?

   

Referred in 1223 if really there had been a chapel.

13

 

St Peter

 

X?

   

X?

   

14

 

St Prokopios

 

X? Referred 1223

   

X?

   

15

 

St Longinos

 

X

X?

 

X?

   

Referred in 1223 Turkish attack no record then.

16

 

St Eugenios Monastery (Yeni Cuma Camii)

 

X

X

     

S

Built in the name of the patron saint of Trabzon. Not known when it was first built, there is an inscription dated 1291. The surviving building is of the 14th century. Converted

between 1486-1523

17

 

St John Prodromos (Kaledibi/Sotha Kilisesi)

 

X

 

X

X

 

S

İnscription of 1306. Completely rebuilt in 1856. Repaired in 1998 and used as a meeting centre.

18

 

Hagia Sophia monastery

   

X

     

S

Assumed to be built by Manuel I., in 1250-1260. The bell tower was built in 1427. Converted into a mosque in 1572/73. Had extensive repair in 1864. Used as a military depot and hospital during the First World War and again as a mosque. A museum after the 1958-61 restoration. Converted into a mosque in 2014.

19

74

Palace chapel

   

X

X

 

1932

 

İnscrription of Manuel and Andronikos I Komnenos (1183-85)

20

 

St Andrew

   

?

   

X

 

Believed to be the first Christian shrine in Trabzon upon the visit of apostle St Andrew

21

49

St Andrew

   

?

   

X

 

22

 

St Margaret

Catholic

 

X referred in 1319 Venetian concession

 

X?

   

23

 

Church K

Catholic

 

After 1319

 

1609 in Greek hand

X

 

24

 

St John the Sanctifier

 

Chapel attacked by Turks in 1336

X?

     

R

25

 

Theotokos Theoskepastos monastery (Kızlar Manastırı)

   

X?

     

S

1340’s. Repaired in 1843. The only known nunnery in Trabzon.

26

67

St Constantine

   

?

 

X

   

Supposedly founded by daughter of Alexios II or III. Ruined after 1880.

27

 

St Eleutherios

Catholic

 

X

   

X

 

Greek church converted to Latin in 1360. To Greek again in 1461. İn ruins in 1826, 1850, destroyed in 1961.

28

67

St Christopher

   

X

 

X

   

Recorded in 1364. If Semerciler Camii converted in 1759.

29

25 33

Theotokos Paramythia

   

X?

 

X?

   

İn 1364 referred as the seat of Metropolitan of Alania.

30

81

St Theodore Gabras monastery

   

X referred in 1364

 

X

   

31

67

St Niketas

   

X referred in 1364 chrysobull

 

X?

   

32

 

Santa Croce

   

X must be Greek built Venetian after 1367

   

X

 

33

25 29

Theotokos Elousa monastery

   

X

   

X

 

Referred in 1367. Ruins by 19. c. Destroyed due to the construction of the harbour in 1916.

34

 

St Philip (Kudrettin Camii)

   

X

     

S

Komnenos built, in 1461 cathedral, inscription 1506, converted 1665.

35

64

St Sabbas

   

X inscription 1411

     

R

36

 

Morher of God (Astuatsatsin)

Armenian

 

X

X

 

X

 

First Armenian church, inscriptions of 1414.

37

 

Kaymaklı Monastery

Armenian

 

X

     

R

Chapels of 1421, 1622, according to Bordier Roman Catholic first. Built by the Armenian community during Alexios IV’s reign in 1424. Many times repaired and altered; the frescos are from the 18th c.

38

 

St Nicholas

   

X

 

X?

   

Sold to the empress 1426 given to the monastery 1432.

39

 

Nativity of God

Armenian

 

İnscription 1431

X

 

X

 

40

 

Monastery of Pharos

   

X

 

X

   

Known by chrysobulls of 1432 and 1460.

41

 

St Marina

 

X

 

X?

 

X

 

Built by Genoese demolished in 1461, built by Greeks with the same dedication.

42

 

Surb Mammam (Ayomam, St Mammas)

Armenian

X

X

 

X?

   

Possibly Ayos Mammas in 1487 defter. A dependent of Kaymaklı monastery. İn ruins in 1819.

43

 

Surb Oxent (St Auxentios) monastery

Armenian

 

?

   

X

 

Aya Aksun in 1487 tımar defter. 19th c. Cathedral.

44

 

St Gregory of Nyssa monastery

   

X

   

1930

 

In 1487 defter Ayos Grigoros, 1665 became cathedral. İn 1815 Tomb of the last Georgian king in the courtyard. Rebuilt in 1863. Destroyed for the construction of the city club, 1930.

45

51 56 63

Church C

   

X

X

 

X

 

46

90

Church D

   

X

   

X

 

47

70

Church L

   

X

     

R

48

9

Çifte Hamam

   

X

 

1520-23 bath

   

49

21

Nakib Camii (St Andrew)

   

X

Converted before 1557

   

R

50

 

St Barbara chapel

   

?

   

X

 

51

45 56 63

St George

   

X

   

X

 

52

 

St George

   

X Bordier confusing

 

X?

   

53

 

St George Kourtza

   

X

   

X

 

Medievel chapel replaced in the 19th c. by a church.

54

 

St Gregory

   

X? İn Bordier

 

X?

   

55

 

St Reverande

   

X? In Bordier

 

X?

   

56

45 51 63

St Gregory

   

?

   

X

 

57

 

Surb Hovhannes) (St John)

Armenian

 

X?

   

X

 

58

85

St John tes Petras

   

X

       

59

79

St John Theologos

   

X?

 

Abandoned in 1893

X after 1929

 

60

 

Theotokos Evangelistria

   

X

   

X after 1929

 

61

 

St Nicholas

   

X

   

X?

 

Chapel inscription old, built in the 19th c.

62

 

Zeytinlik Camii

   

X

     

R

Columns found in 1958

63

45 51

56

St George Tsartakle

   

X?

   

X

 

İn the hands of Şatıroğlu family in the 18th c.

64

 

St Demetrios monastery

     

Recorded by Bordier 1609

     

65

 

St Blaisios

     

Reported by Bordier as à la Roman

X

   

66

 

Church J

       

1609 abandoned

   

67

8, 13 26 28

Church A

     

X

 

1929

 

68

 

Church E

     

X

 

X

 

69

 

Hypapante

     

1819

 

X

 

70

1, 7172

St Kyriake

     

X? Recorded in 1819

 

X

 

71

15 60

Church F

     

1838

 

X

 

72

15 60

Chruch G

     

19th c

 

X

 

73

9

Chapel M

           

R

74

19

Christ

Relics of St Athanasios

   

X

     

75

 

Koimesis

     

Chapel of 19th c.

 

X

 

76

 

Koimesis

     

Chapel of 19th c.

 

X

 

77

 

Metamorphosis

     

X

 

X

 

78

 

Metamorphosis

     

X

 

X

 

79

59

Mumhane Camii

             

80

 

St Anastasia

     

X

 

X

 

19th c. Chapel of Frontisterion.

81

 

St Maria

Catholic

   

X

   

S

By a firman of 1855 inaugurated in 1874 still in service

82

36

St Basilikos

     

? reported in 1879

 

X

 

83

41

St Constantine

     

?

 

X

 

84

42

St Constanitine

     

X

   

R

Built by Metropolitan Constantios of Trabzon (1830-79)

85

58

St John Exoteichos

     

X

   

S

86

47

St Kerykos

             

87

 

St Theodore

     

X? Chapel of 19th c.

 

X

 

88

 

St Theodore

     

X parish church in 1904

 

X

 

89

46

The Holy Trinity

     

X? Chapel 19th c.

 

X

 

90

1, 71 72

Taxiarechia

     

X

 

X

 

 


[1] Bıjışkyan 1969, p. 52.

[2] Bıjışkyan 1969, p. 73.

[3] Bryer and Winfield 1984, p. 245-46.

[4] Şakir Şevket 2001, p. 78.

[5]Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, 1296/1879, p. 128.

[6] Adopted from Bryer and Winfield.

[7] The number of the churches that would be the duplicate.


References

Anabolu, M.; Trabzon’daki Bizans Çağı Yapıları, İstanbul, 1969.

Ballance, S.; “The Byzantine Churches of Trebizond”, Anatolian Studies, V. X, 1960, 141-175.

Bıjışkyan, P. Minas; Karadeniz Kıyıları Tarih ve Coğrafyası 1817-1819, trans. Hrand D. Andreasyan, İ. Ü. Edebiyat Fakültesi, İstanbul, 1969.

Bordier, Julien; “Releation d’un voyage en Orient par Julien Bordier, ècuyer de Jean Gontaut, Baron de Salgnac, ambassadeur â Constantinople, 1604-1612”, ed. Chrysanthos Philippides, Archeion Pontou, 1935, 6, 85-158.

Bryer, A. A. M. and David Winfield;, The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontos, Dumbarton Oaks Studies, Washington D.C., 1985.

Chrysanthos Abp. of Athens; I Eklisia Trapezuntos, Athens, 1973.

Kansız, İsmail (ed.); Trabzon Kent İçi Kültür Varlıkları Envanteri, Trabzon Kültür ve Turizm Md. Y., Trabzon, 2010.

Karpuz, Haşim; Trabzon, Kültür Bakanlığı, Ankara, 1990.

Mehmed Aşıkî; Menâzırü’l-Evâlim, ed. Mahmut Ak, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara, 2007.

Rice, David Talbot; The Church of Hagia Sophia at Trebizond, Edinburgh, 1968.

Şakir Şevket; Trabzon Tarihi, ed. İsmail Hacıfettahoğlu, Trabzon Belediyesi Y., Trabzon, 2001.

Trabzon Vilayeti; Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi, 1296 (1879), V. 22, Kudret Emiroğlu, Trabzon İli ve İlçeleri Eğitim, Kültür ve Sosyal Yardımlaşma Vakfı, Ankara, 1999.


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