This is an attempt to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian History, in this case a short moment in the daily life of the Armenian students of the Marash seminary of teachers. These are girls from Marash or from neighboring cities and villages. We have tried to create a dialogue between them...
The general picture of Armenian education in the town of Marash is quite impressive. At the beginning of the 20th century, the town had a superb and vast network of boys’ and girls’ schools.
Without a doubt the protestant and catholic foreign missionaries’ educational work inserted a new dynamism in the region, creating an atmosphere of competition, which resulted in positive progress in the educational arena. The American missionaries founded the first modern educational establishments in the town of Marash, with Armenian being the main teaching language in these missionary schools since the absolute majority of the students and the teaching staff were Armenian.
The construction of missionary schools, the adoption of new teaching methods within these establishments, and the swift development of girls’ education, provided a powerful intellectual jolt to the customs of this provincial environment. The Apostolic Armenians of Marash, which made up the majority of the community, wanted to develop their own educational establishments as well. Even though funding was on an unequal footing, community leaders refused to remain passive on the issue.
As with many Armenian inhabited regions of the Ottoman Empire, in Marash as well, the two main forces which drove the educational awakening were the progressive clergy and representatives of the class of wealthy merchants - the first with its intellectual abilities, and the second with its financial gifts.
The Armenian schools in Marash were: The Central School (Getronagan Varjaran), The Mesrobian Boys’ School, The Hripsimian Girls’ school, The Marash Academy high school, Central Turkey Girl’s College, and The Cilician Theological Gymnasium. Moreover, there were the German, British, and Armenian orphanages, which were founded after the anti-Armenian massacres of 1895, where orphans could receive an education.