The Greek name of the settlement was Peramos (this is how it appeared in official ecclesiastical documents), while the Turkish, a possible corruption of the Greek name, was Perama. Before their persecution and expulsion, the inhabitants of Peramos amounted to 3000, exclusively Greek-Orthodox.1 The population increased dramatically between 1890 and 1915, when Peramos was destroyed by a great fire. Most inhabitants were considered locals, although there were several immigrants from Macedonia and some from the islands (Cephalonia, Sifnos and Chios). As it happened in other towns of the peninsula, the ending "-akis" in a number of surnames of Peramos, as well as the similarity of various toponyms with surnames and toponyms of Crete have given ground to a theory, according to which the inhabitants came from Crete. However, neither Peramos nor any other town had any oral tradition reminding of that origin. The people spoke Greek, though with lots of dialectal particularities. At any rate, the existence of Peramos as well as of other settlements, such as Diavati, Langadi, Kastelli and Michaniona, was evidenced at least from the 14th century.2 This proves that the settlement must been founded before the Ottomans captured Crete (1645-1669). The town may have been founded either during the Venetian rule 3 or after the Ottoman conquest; in the second case, the Cretan colonists probably were assimilated into the natives of the settlement.4 After their expulsion from Peramos to Greece, the refugees settled in Nea (meaning "new" in Greek) Peramos of Kavala, in Nea Peramos of Megara, in Thessaloniki and in Athens.
2. Administration and Communal Structure
In the first decades of the 20th century, Peramos was the seat of a . The müdürlük of Peramos included another four villages of the Peninsula of Kyzikos: Michaniona, Kastelli, Diavati and Langada. Peramos, in turn, was subjected to the of Bandırma, which belonged to the of Balıkesir of the vilayet of Bursa. The müdürlük of Peramos was created in 1898, when Bandırma (Panormos) became an independent seat of a province and the above villages were detached from the province of Artaki (Erdek). Peramos had a land registry, where the real estate transactions were carried through; in the town there was also a mayor, who was responsible for maintaining and cleaning the roads, for keeping the town clean etc.
The municipal council and the mayor were elected by the inhabitants of Peramos. In fact, they should have the approval of the , who validated the election, and of the most notable potentates of Peramos. There were fines for road pollution, while the landed property of the inhabitants was guarded by appointed officers. A night watchman (pasvantis, from the Ottoman pasvan) was also appointed to guard the town during the night, while there was also an officer responsible for collecting the taxes coming from the sales of wine and fish. In general, taxes were paid for the transportation of goods from and to Constantinople. However, this was not the case in commercial transactions with Bandırma or Mudanya. Finally, Peramos was the seat of a police station and a port authority. The municipal council also included a with tax-collecting jurisdictions. The main taxes were the yol bedeli (for road maintenance), the emlak vergisi (for landed property), the papaz bedeli (for the metropolitan of Cyzicus, to whose jurisdiction Peramos belonged ecclesiastically ; the tax was paid by all married couples and was 12 kurus a year at the time), the öşür (ousouria), that is, the tithe and the bedel (military tax). Two tax collectors (tahsildar) supervised the tax services performed by the muhtar.
The general assembly of the inhabitants held in the school of Peramos every two years directly elected the or ‘epitropi’ (committee). The dimogerontia had 6 members and was responsible for the churches and the schools of the community, as well as for the general supervision of community interests in front of the Ottoman administration.5
3.Housing Development and Churches
Peramos had two parishes-quarters (machalades, from the Ottoman mahalle): St. George (to the west) and St. Demetrios (to the east), built around the two namesake churches of the town. The quarter of St. George was richer because it included the buildings of the coast, with the harbour (pier) and the coffee houses of the town. The Church of St. George was built in the early 20th century. It stood on the site of an earlier church destroyed by a fire (possibly in 1873). St. George was a big church, with a gabbled roof and a bell tower, almost on the same level as the church. On the other hand, St. Demetrios was an old stone church, with a wooden roof, probably 300 or 400 years old. The citizens had already collected money and were ready to pull it down and rebuild it, but had to stop because the relations with the Turks deteriorated after 1913 and, as a result, the plan was put off. Apart from St. George and St. Demetrios, there were two more churches built next to each other: the first was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the second to the Taxiarchs (Archangels). They were old and dilapidated and the people had decided to reconstruct them in the form of a single church. However, in this case the plan was cancelled due to intracommunal conflicts between the potentates of the town, although a considerable part of the materials intended for the construction of the church had been purchased. In addition, within two hours to the northeast of Peramos was the monastery of St. George of Dafni (Dafni was a fishery, a sandy gulf suitable for fishing, right between Kastelli and Michaniona), while within one hour from the town was the monastery of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Faneromeni, famous for the miraculous icon of the Virgin, which after 1922 was taken to the patriarchal church of St. George in Constantinople.6
In general, the economic activities of the people of Peramos were related with vineyards, olive groves, sericulture (providing the most important income to the inhabitants) and orchards. Fishing and shipping played a key role in the economy as well. Peramos transacted commercially mainly with Bandırma. They communicated mostly through sailing ships, the so-called ‘pazar kaikia’ (from the Turkish pazar kayığı). The distance by sea was 2½ hours. The town had established commercial transactions with Constantinople as well. Peramos had grocers, greengrocers, butchers, craftsmen (carpenters, builders, etc.) as well as merchants, as the "kerestetzides" (from the Turkish keresteci), that is, timber traders, cloth traders, etc.). Potatoes and coal were provided by Kaber Bahçe. Onions came from Skamnies and were usually exchanged for grapes. The inhabitants also purchased wheat from Bandırma, which was milled in the flour mills of Peramos. Bread was purchased from Bandırma and Armenochori. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Peramos sold their own greens to Constantinople, while their fish were sold to Bandırma (mostly bonitos and mackerels) and silk to Mudanya. Finally, there were 14 pits of bluish granite in the region of Peramos, which were exploited by foreigners.
5. Education – Clubs
Education first bloomed in the early 19th century, mainly encouraged by the metropolitan of Cyzicus, Makarios (1806-1811), who played a key role in organising regular schools. That is when the first primary school was established. In the early 20th century (1905), there were 200 pupils attending the mixed six-grade school, which was supervised by 3 teachers; there were also 80 infants observed by a nursery governess, with an annual cost of 15,000 kurus (150 golden liras).7Apart from Greek, the students of the sixth grade were also taught Ottoman Turkish and French. The school was built on the eastern tip of the coast of Peramos, at the foot of the hill Kastro (a big hill towering over the natural harbour of the area). The construction of the Papadopouleion Girls’ School, a donation of Mikes Papadopoulos, a wealthy merchant of carpets in Constantinople who came from Peramos, started in 1911 on top of the same hill. The architect was P.D. Photiadis and the school was officially inaugurated in August 1913. The teachers were paid by the community, which collected taxes from the inhabitants whose children studied at that school; the payment was made according to the grade of the student (higher grades paid higher taxes). The town had also a school superintendent responsible for the orderly behaviour of the pupils.
Educational activities in Peramos were mainly backed by the clubs that were established by the Peramians who lived in Constantinople (about 200 families). The first of them, the Educational Society ‘Elpis’, was established in 1872 and survived until 1882. The Educational Society ‘Taxiarch’ was established in 1907 and operated until 1914, while the ‘Anorthotikos Syllogos [Reconstructive Society] of Peramians’ (1919-1922) operated for a short period and tried to restore the buildings damaged after the persecutions of 1915.
1. This number is provided by Π. Κοντογιάννης, Γεωγραφία της Μικράς Ασίας (Athens 1921), p. 266. In the early 19th century, according to the Αναγραφή της Κυζίκου, an 1825 text by an unknown writer, Peramos had approximately 350 houses. In 1869, the population of the town amounted to 2500 inhabitants; the statistics of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1905 report a number of 3400 inhabitants; according to a 1921 report of the dimogerontia of Peramos, in 1914 the population was approximately 5000. For a summary of the statistical information about the population of Peramos until the destruction of the settlement in 1915, see Σγουρίδης, Γ.Α., Η Πέραμος της Κυζίκου. Ιστορία-Λαογραφία-Χρονικά-Αναμνήσεις, έκδ. Συλλόγου Περαμίων-Κυζικηνών (Athens 1968), pp. 80-82. Α.Ν. Αναγνωστόπουλος, Γεωγραφία της Ανατολής Α΄, Φυσική Κατάστασις της Ανατολής (Athens 1922), p. 70, reports that Peramos had 2500 inhabitants and 566 houses. Finally, the 1922 statistics of the Ecumenical Patriarchate report 3750 inhabitants. Patriarcat Oecumenique, Les atrocités kémalistes (Constantinople 1922) p. 223.
2. Ertuzun, R. M., Kapıdağı Yarımadasi ve Çevresindaki Adalar (Istanbul 1993), p. 220.
3. Possibly after the rebellion of 1268-1274; see Μακρής, Ι.Κ., "Οι κάτοικοι της Κυζικηνής Χερσονήσου", Μικρασιατικά Χρονικά 9 (1961), p. 223.
4. Σγουρίδης, Γ.Α., Η Πέραμος της Κυζίκου. Ιστορία-Λαογραφία-Χρονικά-Αναμνήσεις (Athens 1968), pp. 33-50.
5. Σγουρίδης, Γ.Α., Η Πέραμος της Κυζίκου. Ιστορία-Λαογραφία-Χρονικά-Αναμνήσεις (Athens 1968), pp. 88-98, where are contained the Regulations of the Greek-Orthodox Coommunity of Peramos. The Regulations where composed in 1910 and deal with the jurisdiction, the operation and the formation of the dimogerontia.
7. According to the relevant statistics of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. See Ημερολόγιον Εθνικών Φιλανθρωπικών Καταστημάτων Κωνσταντινουπόλεως (Constantinople 1905), p. 181.