Aybasti (Grk: Αϊμπαστί) is a town (and also a region) of northern Turkey (Pontus) that is identified with ancient Epasa (Grk: Έπασα). The region is rich in archaeological findings and historical monuments, such as the church Karatzali (Karacali Kilisesi) and the ruins of the baths Safalik (Sefalik) in the village of the same name. Anthony Bryer states that Bartae is identified as Aybasti.

 

The Greek villages of the Aybasti region are as follows:

- St Antonios (or Ayianton) - hometown of author Thea Halo,
- Kayialti,
- Kayiali,
- Kayiantipi (or Konakiani),
- Katran,
- Liftiar,
- Mbagdat,
- Elekin,
- Esenli,
- Karatzali,
- Domouzgiolou,
- Bugaralan,
- Tzimpoul
and
- Hanout.


Kayialti - Κάγιαλτι

A small Greek village which was located 5 km from another Greek village named Ayianton (St. Anton) in the Kotyora/Ordu province of the Trebizond vilayet. Up until the Exchange (1923), Kayialti comprised 30 Greek families who gradually made their way to Greece in the final years and even until 1926. The hardships for the Greeks of Kayialti started around 1908 when the Turks began conscripting them into the Ottoman Army which resulted in all the families except for 2 fleeing to Sohoumi in Russia.

The Greeks of Kayialti had one church, St George. Most of their houses were double storey and were made of stone. The ground floor was made of stone and the remainder of the house was made of wood. The rooves were made of wood (4 sided rooves). The village had its own 4 grade primary school and comprised one teacher and roughly 60 students. The village was also called Yaalti (Γάαλτι).

 

Kayiali - Καγιαλή

A Greek village which was located 5 km from Kayialti in the Kotyora/Ordu province of the vilayet of Trebizond. Up until 1923 the village comprised 20 Greek (including Greek speaking) families who in 1926 made their way to Greece following the Exchange of Populations (1923).

 

Kayia Tipi - Καγιά Τιπί

Also known as Konahiani or Gonahiani (Κονάχιανη or Γονάχιανη).
A Greek village located 10 km from Ayianton in the Kotyora/Ordu province of he Trebizond vilayet. Up until the Exchange (1923) the village comprised 70 Greek families many of which moved to Ayio Antonio in Halkidiki (Greece) between the years 1920-1926. Fifteen families moved to Triadi, 30 families to Arethousa, 3 families to Nipa (Aleksandroupolis), 6 families to Makriyialo, 3 families to Upper Ayio Ioanni (Katerini), 2 families to Katerini as well as other regions in Greece.

The Greeks of Kayia Tipi were Christian and had a church, St Ioanni Prodromou. The village also had a single grade primary school with one teacher and roughly 50 students. The houses of Kayia Tipi were usually double storey. The foundations and the floor of the ground floor were usually made of stone while the second storey was made of wood.

 

 Liftiar - Λιφτ(ι)άρ

A Greek village of the Kotyora/Ordu region which was located 15 km from another Greek village named Kayialti. Up until the First World War the village comprised 40 Greek speaking Christian families. During the War many of the inhabitants fled initially to Tsevislik in the Sohoummi region, but following the Exchange (1923) they made their way to Greece and settled in the Monolothos region of Greece as well as other places such as Petroto (Yeni Mahalle), Ayio Antonio (Dogantzi) and other places.

 
Ayianton (Ayios Antonios) - Αγιαντών (Αγιος Αντωνιος)

A mountainous village of Pontus which up until 1926 comprised 150 Greek speaking Greek families. The village was founded around 1885 by the Greeks of the surrounding 13 villages of Ordu, Trapezounta. In 1920-21 the Greeks of Ayianton took part in moves towards an autonomic Pontic state. However before they took part in any serious rebellious actions, the Turks caught wind of it and in order to terrorise them, they arrested 6 elders with the intent to send them to the Amaseia Courts of Independence. They were all saved however due to the intervention of Alisman Pasha.

Between June and September of 1921 the Turks arrested all of the village's inhabitants and sent them into exile into the inner regions of Asia Minor. Following one year of movements and extreme hardships they reached Diyarbekir and Silvan (Farkin). In June of 1922 they were again sent back to Diyarbekir where they stayed until October. On the eve of 1923 they were sent to Souverek and from there to Urfa (ancient Edessa) close to the Euphrates. Then they crossed the river and they entered Syria and arrived at Halepi where they stayed for 22 days. Those that survived the hardships were then separated into 2 groups, one of which went to Virito and from there they got onto ships and were sent to Peiraus, and from there Salonica and from there to the region of Dogantzi in Halkidiki. The other group departed from Halepi by train and arrived in Tripoli (Lebanon) and from there they boarded a ship and arrived in Patra (Greece). The following day they left Patra and arrived the next day in Pilaro (Kefallinia) where they stayed for 9 months. They then sailed to Kavalla and from there via Stavrou they arrived on the 20th of September 1923 in Thessaloniki.

The few that managed to flee from the arrests and exile/death marches in 1921, fled to the mountains. When the Exchange between Greece and Turkey was announced in 1923 they boarded ships from Ordu and arrived in Paireus (Greece). From there they were transported by train to Larissa where they stayed for a short period and then again they boarded trains to Thessaloniki and from there by foot they arrived in Dogantzi.

 

Sources:

* Eastern Pontus. S.Kalenteridis. Infognomon. pp 110-111.
* The Encyclopedia of Pontian Hellenism. Malliaris Paedia

 

 Epasa (Aybasti)

     

 

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