The travelers drove from Cappadocia to Kayseri. It rained hard, revealing that their rental vehicle had bad wipers. There wasn't much traffic, but Google routed them strangely including a trip through Kayseri's industrial district.
In Kayseri the travelers stayed in Setenonu 1892 Hotel, a very fancy hotel in the center of the city. They had two rooms, with three beds this time. Nancy used the very fancy hotel bathroom for her laundry, a humorous juxtaposition. After settling in, the travelers had a quick dinner within walking distance. The waiter and restaurant owner spoke no english. It continued to rain very hard.One of the rooms in Setenonu 1892 Hotel. [38.716 N, 35.485 E]
The travelers enjoyed a wonderful drive over Mt Erciyes from Kayseri to Develi. One of the small pieces of information remembered by Nancy is that, although the family lived closer to Kayseri, they would prefer to travel to Istanbul because the way to Kayseri was made so difficult by the mountain. Although modern roads make the way easy, it was clear to the travelers why it would be difficult to travel over Mt. Erciyes in those times.
They met their guide (Selim Akdoğan) at the entrance of town. Selim proved to be an amazing local guide. His business care gives the following credentials and roles: B.Sc P.D. MBA CCol ASDC Economist, Scientist, Journalist, Historian, Politician, Senior Executive. Selim has a clear love for natural life & enjoys exchanging views with everyone.
The traveler's ancestors had the surname Torosian. This corresponds to the Toros Mountain Range, which passes through Develi. The Torosians lived in an Armenian village called Fenesse next to a Turkish village Develi. Currently, the village of Fenesse is simply a district of Develi, and no Armenians reside in the area. The travelers searched modern Develi for evidence of the Torosian family.
This photo of Yesia was taken between 1900 when he immigrated to the US and 1908 when he was married. As of 1933, Yesia and his wife petitioned Turkish authorities (via the US Department of State) for compensation for the loss of family real estate and properties. Yesia claimed that his uncle, Sarkis Effendi Yanuk Garabed Torosian, had bequeathed a home and vineyards to him which were described in detail. The claim was denied but Jim and Nancy had the documents with the description of the properties.
The Torosians were, in part, vineyard owners. There are no longer vineyards in Develi, but the same valley described in Nancy's notes still has visible terracing from those days. The entire area was clearly cultivated in the past. The guide Selim remembered the time when there were vineyards from his own childhood.Valley in Develi, showing signs of terracing. [38.392 N, 35.502 E]
Nancy's notes contained references of a fountain in Fenesse, where spring water would emerge with great force. This old fountain has been converted into a swimming pool. There are many springs around Develi, which lead to a "ground irrigated" effect and relatively fertile soil.old fountain, now a swimming pool. [38.387 n, 35.501 e]
The guide Selim showed the travelers where the ruins of St. Toros were. This was the main Armenian church in Fenesse. This is likely where the Torosians would have attended church. It has now been made into a childrens playground, with only one wall of the church still standing.Ruined wall of St. Toros church. Left to right: unknown local man, Selim, Nancy, Jim. [38.387 N, 35.496 E]
Selim was kind enough to introduce the travelers to the municipality officials at the head office of Develi. These are the locally elected government officials. The travelers were introduced to the acting mayor, and the acting director of culture and social affairs. These officials were very accommodating, seeing that all needs were taken care of. They even vacuum packed the goat cheese (Tulum) that the travelers were still carrying from Kemeryaka. The culture and social affairs director (Ali Orhan), stayed with the travelers for the remainder of their visit.
All enjoyed a discussion of Torosian property and Develi history. A map showing the various districts of Develi hung on the wall. The Torosian family lived in the Fenesse district. The Everek district was close by, but separated by Turkish occupied land.Districts of Develi.
After meeting the municpality officials, the travlers, guide Selim, and cultural affairs director Ali headed out to take a walking tour of Develi.A sign points the way to Fenesse. [38.391 N, 35.492 E]
A school near the town center was serving a special "Noah soup", celebrating the date when the Biblical ark made ground. Nancy was of great interest to the local students as a professor from America. All gathered around to try out their ability to speak english.Travelers enjoy "Noah soup". Foreground left to right, acting mayor, local government man, Ali, Selim, Jim. Note very large soup bowl on table. [38.387 N, 35.492 E]
Along the walking tour of Fenesse, the travelers meet a local family making grape honey on the street. They share their creation, which tasted very sweet with unusual undertones.Locals reduce grapes into a rich honey. [38.383 N, 35.491 E]
They visited many old buildings.Typical old building in old Develi. Many of these buildings were around even when Armenians occupied this area. [38.383 N, 35.490 E]
There were also local people knocking down walnuts from trees. The freshly harvested walnuts had a strong flavor.Locals use a long stick to harvest from a walnut tree.
The travelers saw an old Armenian church in Everek district. The building is still standing, but is now being used as a mosque.
The travelers were treated to lunch by the standing mayor and cultural official. They ate at an outdoor restaurant in the town center, Elbiz restaurant. The cuisine was Turkish pizza.
After lunch, the travelers visited the home previously owned by the Bedrosian family, the last Armenian family to occupy Develi. This home was in the Everek district.
The travelers visited upper Develi, the old town that looks over the valley where the modern city lies. This old town has suffered through a few earthquakes, but original buildings do still stand.
The travelers saw a very old mosque in the mountains above Develi.
Next, the travelers visited the second oldest mosque in Develi, located in upper Develi. They enjoyed a sweet traditional drink, stored in large stone containers within the mosque. This mosque was gifted to the city by a very wealthy woman. A stone column in the front of the mosque freely rotates, its joint captured but not pinned by the stone above. This is an "earthquake alert system"; any small motion of the stone caused by an earthquake would cause the column to either stop freely rotating or fall out.
The travelers went up to the ridge where several Turkish millitary memorials were erected. The overlook provided remarkable views of the mountains and valley.
After another very busy day, the travelers were happy to return to Kayseri. For dinner they tried a restaurant that specializes in manti, a favorite family food. Kayseri is said to be the birthplace of mainti, and there are many varieties served there. Nancy, Jim, and Blaise were able to each try a different variety of manti for dinner.
The travelers were able to visit a local Armenian Apostolic Church. This may be the only Armenian church in the wider area of Kayseri / Develi.
The travelers split up and enjoyed a casual day of rest in Kayseri. Nancy and Blaise went to work at on organizing notes at a local Starbucks. Jim had fun exploring the city and enjoying amenities at a fancy hotel nearby. The travelers enjoyed the "sights and sounds" of everyday life in Kayseri.
All three of the travelers left Kayseri- Nancy and Blaise for the USA and Jim for a little more time in Istanbul. After dropping off the rented car, they began the journey in the Kayseri airport
In Istanbul Blaise and Nancy knew that a delay (2 hours) of the flight to Chicago would pose problems in getting to our respective final destinations. The Turkish Air folks arranged for Blaise to have a stand by status with an Am Airlines flight but he still needed to check with their office in Chicago. Nancy did not have any options since the flight to Cedar Rapids was the last one that night. Once Blaise and Nancy parted in Chicago, Nancy did what she could to make my flight to Cedar Rapids. Had to go through security and get to the gate. Poor signage confused her and she went to the gate terminal (1) rather than the security terminal (2) first. While waiting in the security line she met a kind woman who was in the same boat. When they both discovered that they could not get to Cedar Rapids that night, she (Jeanette Harrington) offered to let Nancy share her hotel room. She did so and Nancy was able to shower and have 3 hours of sleep before returning to O’Hare for the final flight home.