Photos © Copyright: Özhan Öztürk
Santa (Grk: Σάντα, Trk: Dumanli) was a Greek town in Pontus in the province of Argyroupolis (Gümüşhane). It is located 52km south east of Trebizond (Trabzon). Prior to 1923 it was made up of 7 settlements, (Pistofanton, Zournatzanton, Tsakalanton, Ischananton. Kozlaranton, Pinetanton and Terzanton) made up entirely of Greeks numbering some 6000.
Around the end of the 19th century Santa had 15 priests, 8 churches 7 chapels, 5 schools, 9 teachers and some 260 students. Administratively Santa belonged to the vilayet of Trapezunta while ecclesiastically it originally belonged to the Metropolis of Argyroupolis, then later to the Exarchate of Panagia Sumela, and lastly it was transferred to the Metropolis of Rhodopolis (Livera). Santa has been described as as a rocky, barren and cold place surrounded by tall mountains that are covered in fog year round.
It’s believed Santa became established just after 1461 when Trebizond fell to the Ottoman Turks. Christians from surrounding regions of Trebizond such as Platana, Tonya and Mouzena fled to the mountains to avoid Turkish persecution and harassment.
The end for the Greeks of Santa came after 1918 when the Russians exited Trebizond and the Santaians, despite arming themselves, were victims alongside many other Greeks during 1918-1922. Those who survived massacre and deportation were forcibly expelled to Greece.