Eurasia

Roman Τraces

We will travel to five countries of the former USSR (Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan) in which Greeks - Pontians still live in.

Roman Τraces

 

Our vision is to imprint and record through art the everyday life, traditions, and culture of people who bring a primordial heritage and the story of their people are still alive in their worldviews.

The project "Roman Τraces" refers to the life and stories of the remaining Greek Pontians in the countries of the former USSR, who have lived in their ancestral homes for hundreds of years, keeping alive their tradition, language, culture and the millennial History of Pontic Hellenism in the Black Sea.

Using means like photography, video testimonies, storytelling and writing, we want to bring to the foreground the human stories of the Pontians, who teach to younger generations, through their morals and life, how to keep their tradition alive.

We will travel to five countries of the former USSR (Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) where Greek - Pontians still reside, in order to capture their everyday life and their culture. Our aim is to activate and promote Hellenism residing in the former USSR countries, as well as to inform the Greek population residing in Greece of the history and the life of the remaining Pontians in former USSR.

Our project "Roman Τraces" has set as its mission the rescue of a significant part of the Pontian cultural heritage, through recording and rescuing important and anecdotal cultural evidence from the countries of the former USSR. However, our work carries a social and educational purpose as we aim to capture and disseminate the memories, narratives, and evidence that we will collect through a series of innovative actions that can inspire and actively engage a wide audience beyond the Pontians.

5.000 km
3 years
2,000 m
Expert
Traces Of Roman
Armenia

THE FIRST TRACES

Our journey began from the pontian village of Yaghdan in Armenia, because that’s where Anna comes from and where she spent the first three years of her life. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, her family, as thousand others, migrated to Greece.

The stories she heard from her family while growing up had created an image of a fantasy land in her mind. By going there, we wanted to capture through photography the landscape and its people, visit the remaining Greeks and grasp the concept of homeland and Romiosini, the “Greek Spirit”.

The landscape of north Armenia, where Greeks used to live, is barren and hazy. The soft light of mount Caucasus creates a feeling of deep serenity and calmness, without being overwhelming. The dry and bare mountaintops come one after another creating a unique plasticity, they are full of copper and that is why nothing grows on them. The villages are muddy, deserted and poor.

In the post-soviet times, life is extremely difficult for those people who are directly depended on their land and livestock to make a living. Outside of the houses, one can see piles of manure and sense the strong smell of mud and animal feces.

Inside all the houses, the walls are covered with old, dirty and worn out wallpapers. The furniture and the space they live in come straight from the 90’s. Time seems to stand still back in 1992, when the pontians left for Greece.

The people there are quiet and calm. Those left behind had to experience the decay and destruction of their homes and villages. They carry the entire civilization of the pontian Hellenism. They are the last keepers of a culture and a way of life that’s getting forgotten. They stand alone and proud on a land they consider to be their home. For them, home is not Greece, home is being Greek.

Our desire to document and bring into the light the lives of those people was made stronger by this journey. People who, despite the difficult conditions under which they live, teach us, their descendants, pride, dignity and respect towards ourselves and the culture we carry.

THE FIRST TRACES
ROMAN TRACES - ARMENIA

THE ROMANS OF ARMENIA

Borias Batmanof is a Pontian from the village of Akhtala, Armenia. He tells us about his life, the history of the Pontians, the situation they experienced when the USSR collapsed, his visit to Greece and his return back to his village.

"THE EYES ARE THE MIRROR OF THE SOUL"

THE ROMANS OF ARMENIA
The Journey Begins Here

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