Biography: Vahan Tekeian is one of the greatest Western-Armenian poets. He was born in Istanbul in 1878, spend the last decades in Cairo, where he died in 1945. Tekeian was highly-educated, he studied at the best Armenian lyceums in Istanbul. He had working experience in Europe, Egypt and elsewhere. He was fluent in French, English and Turkish. He translated into Armenian the works of Shakespeare, Bodler, Hugo, Wilde and others. In parallel with the literary activity, he was prominent in the public activity and was involved in the management of education.
Tekeian is the author of “Kayseri. a diary of motion and stay” and he refers to his writing as a dairy or travel notes. The work represents Tekeian’s trip from Istanbul to Caesarea, which lasted five months from September 2, 1913. till January 30 1914. This travelogue was written due to his business activities, when Tekeian left to Kayseri as a director of the school of St. Garabed monastery. Perhaps because of this the travelogue is not of touristic character, it is more a description of a practical trip. The travelogue is based on the poet’s diary notes, which he decided to publish long after, in memory of the students and the teachers of the St. Garabed School in Kayseri, who fell victim of the Great Catastrophe. it was published in the newspaper “Voice of Nation” – later “Times” as a leaflet. The travelogue was published by Krikor Beledian and Sevan Deirmendjian, contemporary well-known Armenian intellectuals in 2016 with the book series entitled “Times of Istanbul – 100-years”.
Tekeian was very careful about his trip, pointing out all the stops of locomotive from Istanbul to Caesarea. He repeatedly mentioned the day and the time, when he stopped on this or that part of the road. Tekeian liked to describe the nature. He paid special attention to the people he met by his way, whether they were the local citizens, the passengers of the locomotive, the coachmen, and the hostels’ managers. He described in details the look, dresses, occupations and cuisine of these people. Tekeian had companions of different nationalities Armenian, Turk, Greek, German and American. Tekeian was very tolerant towards all the nationalities. The journey is taking place in a very warm atmosphere together with all these people.
From Constantinople to Kayseri