Today we went to the ancestral village of my father's family, Kirechane, where the Heristanidis-es are from. It's high in the hills not far from Trapezounta (Trabzon) with views out to the Black Sea. We are not from mainland Greece, but from Pontos in Asia Minor. Here, thousands of years ago, Greek adventurers and traders set up Hellenic colonies. The Greek presence ended in 1923 with the Asia Minor catastrophe.
We had tea with a bunch of old and not so old men. One was 90 years old and said he remembered some Heristanidises. He said there were at least four Heristanidis houses, out of about 45 Greek homes in the village.
Our guide was a lovely man who reminded both of us of one of my Greek cousins in Thessaloniki. He is Turkish but like me of Pontic Greek descent. We communicated in Greek. When I said something about being a foreigner, he said "You're not the foreigner here, they (non-Pontian Turks and others) are!
Later we visited an amazing building built by a wealthy Greek banker, Konstantine Kabayanidis in 1890 as a summer home - to escape the humidity and heat of Trabzon. It became State property after all the Greeks were expelled, as were all Greek homes and businesses.
|Kirechane primary school, complete with Pontic dancers!|
|Gorgeous tiled floor in the mansion|
|It's hazy, but there is a view to the Black Sea from|
Kirechane. Hazelnut trees in the foreground.