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Houshamdyan: A project to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian town and village life

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  • Houshamdyan: A project to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian town and village life

    Interesting! I was afraid it was just some amateurish endeavor, but the list of contributors is quite impressive. Haven't examined much textual content, though -- just maps and photos.

    To be viewed in conjunction with VirtualANI?

  • #2
    Re: Houshamdyan: A project to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian town and village life

    Originally posted by TomServo View Post

    You missed out an "a", though. it's

    Correct URL is

    I don't like the way they have been altering the old photos by tinting them.
    Last edited by bell-the-cat; 11-12-2011, 02:59 PM.
    Plenipotentiary meow!


    • #3
      Re: Houshamdyan: A project to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian town and village life


      Houshamadyan e. V. (non-profit Organisation)
      Berliner Str. 100
      13189 Berlin, Germany
      Email: [email protected]

      This interview appeared in the 5 November 2011 edition of Nor Harach, Paris.
      We herewith present its English translation:


      The ?Houshamadyan Associationı has been operating in Berlin since 2010. Its
      basic plan is the creation of a similarly-named website as an encyclopaedic
      storehouse of knowledge concerning the legacy left by the Armenians of the
      Ottoman Empire. Today the website (
      <> ) is a reality and is in its developmental and
      finalisation stages. We conducted an interview about many different aspects
      of the website with the project director and chief editor, the historian Mr
      Vahé Tachjian.

      Q. Mr Tachjian, when and how was the idea of the website thought of? What is
      its main aim?
      A. The idea of giving new value to various aspects of the daily lives of
      Ottoman Armenians was in mind and in those of several of my close friends
      for many years: to present their daily lives, their social environment,
      local history and culture. The question was how could all this be done? We
      examined the question with people who were specialists in various fields.
      The internet, in this context, was considered to be the inevitable answer.
      In reality we live in new times. The people who thought of ?Houshamadyanı
      were almost all of the same generation. We didnıt take our first steps in
      the world of computers - it was only during our student days that we
      established close links with that realm, but today we, like many others, are
      submerged in this world and are aware of its role and absolute sway. We
      therefore thought it was not impossible to present a serious scientific
      subject, a serious plan, completely on the internet.

      Q. Werenıt you afraid or careful of being the first?
      A. Of course, there was a risk in this step as our plan was a large one and,
      at the same time should not be presented in a complicated way. When a
      website is created, it should, in the first instance, be made communicative,
      attractive, simple and useful. When one of these points is missing or
      defective, the website plan fails very quickly. The internet is full of such
      failures. I think that we have mostly succeeded in this first challenge, and
      ?Houshamadyanı, in its form and simplicity, is a success.

      Q. Can you tell us who the initiators were, and what your working group is?
      A. Certain practical steps followed the development of the plan, designed to
      put it into a firm and trustworthy way forward. In the first instance, the
      ?Houshamadyanı not-for-profit association was formed in 2010, which is in
      reality the planıs governing body. The chairman of the association is Elke
      Hartmann and the vice-chairman Meliné Pehlivanian. The website has, at
      present, one full-time official, a website designer, an Armenian-English
      translator and article writers who receive honorariums. It is our aim to
      increase the number of people working on the website to speed up the tempo
      of work. But this, of course, requires greater financial means - new sources
      of income.

      Q. Can you give us details of those who are providing assistance?
      A. It should be emphasised that until today our financial resources are all
      personal donations. We have a main benefactor who has promised financial
      assistance for five years. His yearly donations provide 65% of our annual
      budget, meaning that the need for financial assistance is still very great.
      I also consider all the encouraging letters that we receive from our website
      visitors as assistance too. If this plan was, for us, an historiographic
      necessity in the first instance, I am convinced that, for a whole public, it
      is a necessity in terms of culture and inheritance. We feel, and our
      visitorsı reactions demonstrate, that our website in this way fulfils the
      role of a bridge between the past and present - the old, forgotten and
      ignored, and today.

      Q. What difficulties and obstacles have you encountered during your work?
      A. Difficulties and obstacles, I think, are always present in big plans like
      those of ?Houshamadyanı. Financial difficulties and finding good quality
      contributors, I think, are things that will exist throughout the time the
      plan continues. But the important thing is my enthusiasm and that of my
      fellow-workers. Often, during every day, we have the impression that we are
      in the process of building and reconstructing something lost or forgotten.
      We do this by writing articles, collecting photographs, bringing sound
      recordings to life and finding films. This process of construction is
      assisted by ?Houshamadyanısı friends - visitors to the website - with the
      subjects and information they send us. In other words it is a collaborative
      plan. In the end, no matter how frantic our working days are, the
      satisfaction of doing the work is, I think, most important. This is what
      creates a positive atmosphere - against every present and all future

      Q. What are your basic sources of information?
      A. Our basic sources, from the 1930s onwards, are the memorial books
      published in various Armenian communities in the diaspora. In other words
      the books produced by compatriotic associations of various formerly
      Armenian-populated villages, towns or cities in the Ottoman Empire that
      aimed to keep the memory of their homeland alive. These books have often
      been written by non-professionals, but be that as it may, they are primary
      sources for our plan, bearing in mind that they are very rich in all kinds
      of information concerning the legacy of the past. There are other
      publications too - starting from the 19th century: memoirs written by
      Armenians, review journals and specialist works produced in Armenia - all of
      which are useful for our plans.

      Q. Are these sources available?
      A. It should be noted here that one of our aims is to value Armenian sources
      and make them readily available to the public that doesnıt speak Armenian.
      In other words we would like to present Ottoman Armenian life through our
      website, based on Armenian-language sources. We are also convinced that our
      initiative will aid general efforts in the multidisciplinary study of
      Ottoman history.

      Q. Do you have the ability to determine the number of visitors to the
      website on a daily basis and by geographical area?
      A. Yes, internet technology gives us the ability to know such ?secretsı. We
      have, on average, between 150 and 200 visitors to the website every day. The
      largest group of visitors is from the USA. Then Turkey follows, with a great
      number often being inhabitants of the interior provinces. In other words,
      these are the people who live in the places that are the subjects of
      ?Houshamadyanıs studies. This is important and very interesting. Thus this
      need for inheritance and culture relates to the citizens of Turkey too. I am
      convinced that they too want to know about this past, to read texts, to see
      photographs, to hear songs and stories. All of this has driven us to
      consider a Turkish version of our website to be of prime importance. We are
      seeking financial assistance to translate the texts appearing on our website
      into Turkish.

      Q. What plans do you have for the development and future of the website?
      A. The website is already living its natural development. It is becoming
      more widely known week by week, and trust is being established between us
      and our visitors. This permits us to gradually receive more and more items
      from our visitors. Apart from this, in terms of our work, our efforts on the
      first place we studied - Palu (the town and villages) - are almost
      completed. All the subjects about the area are already on the internet. The
      next subject we are presenting is the Marash region. We shall soon be
      presenting subjects about Van and Kharpert/Harput. Apart from the website,
      the ?Houshamadyanı Association also has plans to mount exhibitions and to
      publish books. But these are in the future. At present we are centring our
      efforts on our website.

      Q. We wish you great success and new achievements.

      Interview conducted by Tork Dalalyan
      Translated by Ara Stepan Melkonian
      Plenipotentiary meow!


      • #4
        Re: Houshamdyan: A project to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian town and village life

        Another relatively new website: