Stazybo’s harvest on Kızderbent

By: | Post date: 2010-06-01 | Comments: 7 Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, History, Modern Greek

I am wrapping up the series of posts on Kızderbent with the rich harvest of material that Stazybo Horn found for me, which I present with the odd comment. Then I’ll put up a post on what the material found online—thanks to Butcher of Yore and Stazybo Horn more than me—seems to be telling us.

I haven’t made my mind up yet on whether I’ll keep researching Kızderbent: any serious linguistic work needs to be done by a Slavist, preferably someone with a good knowledge of Turkish, and I’m neither. (Not to mention, I no longer am research-active.) Just as clearly though—as Butcher of Yore said at the start—someone should do the work, while Trakatroukika is still spoken. More on that later on though.

Trakatroukika on Facebook

Before Stazybo’s list, here’s one item from me. I noted there are two Facebook groups for Kizderveniotes. From the Wall of the second group, some emblematic language use:

Dimitris Chatzidimitriou: sonta pravas trakatroukides? takae touka FACEBOOK (April 9, 2009 at 10:32am)
Kostas Mpesias: metafrasi tou poio kato....ti kanete trakatroukides??eiste edo sto facebook [Translation of the foregoing: How are you, Trakatroukides? You are here on Facebook] (April 10, 2009 at 6:23am)
Tasos Petmezas: NE RETSIO TAKA.... (April 10, 2009 at 7:09am)
Kostas Moustik: so de pras ? (July 10, 2009 at 10:54am)

Anyone want to translate the rest?


I’ve given the titles of the three books by Nikolaos Ververidis: Οικογένειες Κιζδερβενιωτών Μικράς Ασίας, Οι Ροκατζήδες, Η έξοδος των Κιζδερβενιωτών της Μικράς Ασίας. Both Stazybo and Butcher of Yore would like me to try to get hold of these books; I have not made my mind up yet, like I said.

I already mentioned there is a postgrad thesis on how the Kızderbent refugees integrated in their new homes: Fotini Karalidou, Η περίπτωση ενσωμάτωσης των κατοίκων του Κίζδερβεντ Μ. Ασίας στον ελλαδικό χώρο. Postgraduate Thesis, History & Archaeology Dept, Aristotle University, Thessalonica 1992, 128 pp. + 5 photos + 7 maps, addendum on methodology. Stazybo Horn found the same author’s PhD thesis: Κοινωνικές σχέσεις, ταυτότητες και τοπική αυτοδιοίκηση στο Δήμο Αξιούπολης και στο Δήμο Χέρσου του Νομού Κιλκίς: (η εφαρμογή του Ν. 2539 “Καποδίστριας”) [Social relations, identities and local government in Axioupolis and Chersos municipalities, Kilkis prefecture: the application of the Kapodistrias Law 2539].

The Kapodistrias law reduced the number of municipalities: the thesis looks at the impact on identity in the local villages, including Valtotopi, which is where she is from and which is what she had investigated in her previous thesis. (p. 25, noting the distinction between indigenous and refugee villages: “The distinction between Us and Them and its transformations in time, in Valtotopi of present-day Axioupolis municipality, were the subject of my postgraduate thesis which I undertook in 1986 under Alki Kyriakidou-Nestoros.”) [Kyriakidou-Nestoros, a second-generation folklorist, died in 1988.] The municipality mergers ran against this division, and the different identities it expressed—but the old divisions are already fading anyway.

p. 129 has a villager from Valtotopi talk about the history of the village, and the effects of the Greek Civil War:

In Valtotopi we were all of the same stock. There were folk from our village, Kizdervent in Asia Minor, in other villages too; but here, people were only from our village. [That is, Valtotopi’s population is exclusively from Kızderbent.] With the Civil War, the village split. There were two cafés. They were at odds with each other. In ’44 the partisans killed one café owner, Andreas Kyriakidis, who was the village alderman. Then they started hating each other, that he had been betrayed, and such. The other café owner left the village with all his family… Then the entire village was armed by PAO [Πανελλήνιος Απελευθερωτική Οργάνωση, paramilitary fighting the communist resistance]. The whole village was burned down, twenty-four victims.

The Kizdervent Association of Thessalonica was established in 1982, and rehearses every week; they often organise trips to Kızderbent; its dance troupe (whose members are not descended from Kızderbent) often give performances. (p. 147, 178) Valtotopi promotes itself as an “authentic” village, preserving Kızderbent traditions, such as the Kurban communal meal—with an indigenous Macedonian, married to a Valtotopi man, taking the lead in the festivities. (p. 168–9) There are attempts by the association to record Trakatroukika, which is spoken only by first- and second-generation refugees. (p. 185)

On mentioning Trakatroukika, Karalidou gives a citation: Μπαλτσιώτης Λ., «Η πολυγλωσσία στην Ελλάδα» [Multilingualism in Greece]. Σύγχρονα θέματα Vol. 63, April–June 1997, pp. 89-95. I’m assuming it’s a glancing mention.

From cyberstalking, Fotini Karalidou is teaching in secondary education, and has recently been transferred from Kilkis to Thessalonica prefecture.


One of the villages the Trakatroukides settled in is Roditis, near Komotini; I speculated that Trakatroukika will be well preserved there, for lack of contact with Bulgarian or (likely) Turkish. Roditis was formerly called Brokteion (Μπρόκτειον), and is mentioned in this Album on Thrace and Macedonia (Λεύκωμα Θράκης – Μακεδονίας) published in 1932. (WARNING: 210 MB PDF !!!)—p. 142, in a listing of land, and on p. 305, under Kosmion municipality:

Refugee settlement of Brokteion, from the town planner Broktos who laid it out. Population of 406 inhabitants, refugees from Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor. Industrious and hospitable, with the help of the government they have been almost completely reinstated agriculturally. Public buildings: a primary school erected by the Resettlement Agency. Water pump around 160 m deep.

The album is really a collection of government reports on Thrace, and has a wealth of information—and of course is very much a piece of its time; lots of photos of senators and ministers, a photo of education minister George Papandreou (grandfather of the current prime minister, and looking more like him then than he did thirty years on, as the “Old Man of the Democracy”) overseeing the matter-of-fact rationale for limiting access to “foreign” schools: “a large number of Greek children flocked to those schools, which dripped into their souls contempt for their religion and fatherland.” (p. 195) (I’m assuming this means the Rumanian schools set up for Vlachs.)

The Komotini school principal Thanasis Papatriantaphyllou has written some nationalist poetry which mentions Kızderbent:

It was in 1922,
the Feast Day of the Rood,
When we were rendered refugees
by a nation crude.
We left behind Malagra,
Isopos, Pasithea,
Kizderven (sic), Evandros,
and Bursa fair.
We ended up down here
and found a lovely shire.
We started a new life
with effort and desire.


Another village settled by Trakatroukides is Nikomidino, in Thessalonica Prefecture. This page from the Nikomidino kindergarten is about cultivating appropriate national sentiment and appreciation of the Heroes of The Macedonian Struggle; but it also mentions the Trakatroukides:

a village half of whose inhabitants are native Macedonians and the other half are Macedonian refugees from our Byzantine Ohrid, with a peculiar linguistic idion, “takatoukika” (sic).

Given the political tenor of the site, it’s not at all obvious that “Macedonian” means “speaker of Macedonian Slavonic”; see the kindergarten’s protest against Microsoft Encarta listing a Macedonian language as something other than Greek. But given the early 20th century language boundaries between Greek and Macedonian Slavonic, the same coexistence of Trakatroukika and indigenous Macedonian Slavonic seen in Polypetro is also likely for Nikomidino.

Fr Ververidis (he’s named as both Nikolaos and Ioannis, but I’m assuming it’s Nikolaos) gave a speech on the defence of Kızderbent against a raid by Turkish irregulars (çete, τσέτες) on 14 September 1920. He donated his book on the expulsion of the Trakatroukides (Η Έξοδος των Κιζδερβενιωτών της Μικράς Ασίας), as well as a collection of lullabies (Ανθολόγιο Νανουρισμάτων)—in Trakatroukika, or more general?

According to the kindergarten’s history of the village, it was called Voreno/Vereno/Vyreno in Byzantine times, was destroyed around 1400, and was reestablished under Ottoman rule as Megale Agia Paraskevi; it was renamed as Nikomidino after the arrival of refugees from around Nicomedia (= İzmit)—which is indeed 64 km from Kızderbent.

The online genealogy bug has spread to Greece; the Skarmoutsos family lists among its ancestors a Stylianos Koukoulekidis, born Kızderbent (date not given), died Nikomidino, 1955.

Another geneaology site unearths a destination for Trakatroukides I was not aware of: “Dimitrios Pantikidis, born in Kızderbent 1912, and Triantafyllia Yakoumi Pantikidou, born in Kızderbent 1919, inhabitants of Fotolivos, Drama” (in Sitagroi municipality).


The YouTube video in a previous post was filmed in Polypetro. The village history says that “The village is mixed. It consists of indigenous Macedonians who established the village around 1875, and refugees from Asia Minor (Kizdervent of Nicomedia) who settled in the village in 1924.” The primary school closed down in 1995, and students now go to neighbouring Evropos. Makedonikos of Polypetros Football Club has recently closed down. The village had a population of 552 in 2001.

I mentioned that blogger Partizana, who comments on the Pontus and the Left blog, is from Polypetro. On the Pontus and the Left blog, Blogger Omer cites a history of Polypetro by a D. Plagaridis (comment #43): the village was founded around 1875, purchased by “indigenous” inhabitants of the surrounding villages from Bea Sali’s feudal property. The village was named Kosinovo or Kusinovo, after an existing settlement inhabited by both Muslims and Christians, 500 m east of the present day village. The village was renamed as Polypetro in 1927 (a time of mass hellenisation of village names). The 1920 census counted 206 inhabitants; 42 refugee families settled in 1924, swelling the population to 393 by the 1928 census. The village customs include a Yule fire lighting on Dec 23, called Kolde.

Folklore performances

The YouTube video from Polypetro featured members of the Kizderveniot Association of Thessalonica. The association is actively promoting Kızderbent folklore, and there are photos up of a performance they gave at the Pontic Club of Trikala three years ago—including traditional dress, and dances: “St Basil’s Dance; Kerchief Dance; Aptaliko (Aptal/Abdal Havası); Spoon Dance (Turkish Wikipedia link)”. Some photos also turn up on the Orthodox World blog, reported as being from Dora Stratou’s troupe. The locales listed for the dress are Kızderbent, Bursa (82 km south), and Kütahya (Κιουτάχεια, ancient Cotyaeum) (205 km south)

The president of what appears to be another Kızderbent association gave a speech at the same club last year: the “Kizderveniotes” Association of Asia Minor Nicomedians. More people will have heard of Nicomedia in Greece than Kızderbent, so it makes sense for Kızderbent refugees to take on the name of Nicomedia. But there were certainly Greek-speaking Christians in Kütahya and Bursa, whose dances the Thessalonica association presents. So presumably the associations represent refugees from the broad Nicomedia/Nicaea region, and the Kızderbent refugees are presumably the most prominent subgroup.

A performance given in 2007 appears to include a third group, the Kizdervent Cultural and Educational Association of Asia Minor Greeks (Εκπολιτιστικός Μορφωτικός Σύλλογος Μικρασιατών Ελλάδας «ΚΙΖΔΕΡΒΕΝΤ»).


  • Πράγματι, φαίνεται ότι και στην Καλλιθέα Ροδόπης εγκαταστάθηκαν τρακατρούκηδες

  • Anonymous says:

    to horio sto opoio egkatastathikan trakatroukides ston nomo rodopis (komotini) einai i kallithea kai ohi o roditis. auto pros diorthosi tou parapanv sholiou.

  • Το Πλήρες Γεωγραφικόν Λεξικόν της Ελλάδος υπάρχει στην Ανέμη

  • Pierre A says:

    Just to pin down Nikomidinon (βερονός) a bit more precisely, it is about midway between Lake Langadha (Κορώνεια) and Lake Beşik (Βόλβη), to the south of the İri Deresi, which runs between the two lakes. In 1937, the community included Gümeniç (Στίβος), a little to the west. On the Austrian General Staff Map, Sheet 41-41, Thessalonica (Greek overlay, 1910) it is shown as predominantly Christian, while Gümeniç is shown as Muslim. Both towns are close to the modern road that runs close to the south edge of the lakes. My source, as always, is Γριγορίου Στεφάνου, Πλῆρες Γεογραφικὸν Λεξικὸν τῆς Ἑλλάδος (Athens: n.d.[1937] ), an absolutely precious reference, which gives the historical names as well as the modern names for almost all communities in Greece.

  • opoudjis says:

    @Stazybo: Thank you. Not going to put my hand up about Yalova, but nothing would surprise me…

    @Anon: AAAARGH! That's what happens when my bibliography is 15 years out of date! Thank you Anon. As they say in 4chan (sorry), "Anonymous Delivers".

    For the record in English, Alexandra Ioannidou at the Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies Dept of University of Macedonia (Thessalonica) has done linguistic work on the Slavic dialects of (Greek) Macedonia, including contributing to the volume "Linguistic Heterogeneity in Greece" back in 2001. (See her publications.) I'm not finding an explicit mention of Trakatroukika anywhere, but Anon thinks he's seen something online in the past, and it's entirely plausible.

  • Anonymous says:

    η αλεξάνδρα ιωαννίδου (πανεπιστήμιο μακεδονίας) νομίζω ασχολείται με τα τρακατρούκικα, κάτι είχα πετύχει ονλάιν παλιότερα

  • You've missed a K in Koukoulekidis, there. BTW, on that page, you may have noticed Karamürsel next to Kizderbent, it should be the province the former belongs to; it looks like the wider area of Kocaeli was a melting pot of races (it's Asia Minor, of course…).

    If you go through editing, you might want to correct the very first link of your post, too.

    (irrelevant(?): And out of the blue I noticed on Google Maps a place near there, called Yalova; there is another Yalova in Messinia, Greece, for which's name origin, I've always wondered…)

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