In Constantinople, the Armenian periodical “Zhamanak” published the story of one of the oldest Armenians of Historical Armenia, 104-year-old Heghine Urushyan.
A resident of the Constantinople Ortaköy district, “Heghine Yaya”, as her relatives call her, was born in 1914 into the family of Hayrapet and Anna Urushyan in the village of Chorkotan. Back at the time, this village was inhabited by Armenians from the village of Yozgat.
“My mother would take me and my younger brother Grigor to neighbors’ houses, they also would often visit us. We were very close to some neighbors. We had a tonir in the garden of our house – men would gather by it, light a fire, and bake bread,” the elderly Armenian recalls.
When Heghine was 8 years old, her family had to leave her native village of Yozgat since no more Armenians lived there. After the Armenian Genocide, Heghine’s family, like many Armenians from Historical Armenia, headed to Constantinople.
“When we arrived in Constantinople, we settled in a room that already housed two families. We spent nights lying on the ground. We cooked and ate from one pan, we had no plates,” said 104-year-old Heghine about the first difficulties of city life.
After the family settled in Ortaköy, Heghine began attending a local Armenian translation college. However, after graduating from preschool, she had to drop out of school and find a job because of difficult living conditions.
“Until now, she does not feel her old age. She is trying to do everything herself. Recently, she made liquor for a neighbor according to an Armenian recipe. She also prepares various sweets. Our ‘centuries-old oak’ is our ‘eternal flame’,” said Mrs. Flora, a relative of Heghine Urushyan.