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Bayburt Churches destroyed by Turks

Our fifth day's march led us through the interesting old Armenian village of Varzahan. Just before reaching this we passed several horsemen, who were engaged in wild and apparently purposeless evolutions, accompanied with much firing of guns. It appeared that these had come out to welcome the Ka'im-makam of Diyadin, who had been dismissed from office, and was returning to his native town of Gyumish-Khane; and we had scarcely passed them when he appeared in sight, met, and passed us.
I wished to examine the curious old churches which still bear witness that Varzahan, notwithstanding its present decayed condition, must formerly have been a place of some importance. Our Armenian fellow-traveller offered to conduct me, and I was glad to avail myself of his guidance. After I had examined the strange construction of the churches, the Armenian inscriptions cut here and there on their walls, and the tombstones which surrounded them (amongst which were several carved in the form of a sheep), my companion suggested that we should try to obtain some refreshment. Although I was anxious to overtake our caravan, I yielded to his importunity, and followed him into a large and dimly-lighted room, to which we only obtained admission after prolonged knocking.
The door was at length opened by an old man, with whom my companion conversed for a while in Armenian, after he had bidden me to be seated. Presently several other men, all armed to the teeth, entered the room, and seated themselves by the door. A considerable time elapsed, and still no signs of food appeared. The annoyance which I felt at this useless delay gradually gave way to a vague feeling of alarm. This was heightened by the fact that I was unable to comprehend the drift of the conversation, which was still carried on in Armenian. I began to wonder whether I had been enticed into a trap where I could be robbed at leisure, and to speculate on the chances of escape or resistance, in case such an attempt should be made. I could not but feel that these were slender, for I had no weapon except a small pocket revolver; five or six armed men sat by the heavy wooden door, which had been closed, and, for anything that I knew, bolted; and even should I succeed in effecting an exit, I knew that our caravan must have proceeded a considerable distance. My apprehensions were, however, relieved by the appearance of a bowl of yoghurt (curds) and a quantity of the insipid waferlike bread called lawash. Having eaten, we rose to go; and when my companion, whom I had suspected of harbouring such sinister designs against my property and perhaps my life, refused to let me pay for our refreshment, I was filled with shame at my unwarranted suspicions. On emerging once more into the road I found the faithful 'Ali patiently awaiting me. Perhaps he too had been doubtful of the honesty of the Armenian villagers. At any rate he had refused to proceed without me. About 2 p.m. we arrived at the town of Baiburt. 
E. G. Browne
A Year Amongst the Persians
London, 1893, pages 31-33
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