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Bitlis: Baghesh Armenia

William Saroyan was an acclaimed Armenian-American author of the twentieth century whose family originated in the Bitlis province of the Armenian plateau.

Bitlis had a sizeable Armenian population that was decimated during the Hamidian massacres of 1895 and the Armenian Genocide. Bitlis is referred to as Baghesh (Բաղեշ) or Paghesh in Armenian. Folklore abounds as to the origin of the name. In Armenian, the word 'Bagh' means cold; and the word 'Esh' means donkey. Accordingly, a folktale attributes the name Baghesh to a donkey who wandered off from his stable only to be found frozen the following spring in the valley below...Baghesh.
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