Whether its been for commercial reasons, military reasons, escaping persecution or war, or having been transferred onto this island nation as prisoners, Cyprus has been home to thousands of Armenians for hundreds of years. This excerpt is a synopsis of the book entitled The Armenians of Cyprus by Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra, which delves into the past and present Armenian community of Cyprus.
Early Years: Prior to Singapore's colonization in 1819, this fairly small island of 692 square kilometers was home to indigenous people only. Immediately after its colonization, Armenians were amongst the traders and merchants who began making way for Singapore. The Armenians coming to Singapore were originally from Persia (now Iran): either born there or having very close ancestral lines that could be traced there. They came from New Julfa—the Armenian epicenter in Persia—as well as Calcutta, Madras, Penang, and Java, where they had migrated to for business, schooling, or to find better lives. An 1823 census showed 16 Armenians in Singapore, with the number jumping to 25 in 1827, and then to 44 by 1834. Unlike the many other immigrants, the majority of Armenians came to Singapore with their families and with the intention to stay for long periods of time.
On September 6th I finally had the chance to visit this bakery. As I was driving on Adams Blvd. comparing the building numbers to the address I had written down on paper, I was beginning to doubt that I was heading in the right direction—not because the block numbers weren't getting closer to my destination address, but rather because I saw no signs of an Armenian neighborhood on the streets. There were numerous Hispanic stores to my left and right and the people walking the streets were nearly all Hispanic or African-American. Maybe I was on the East block of Adams and the Armenian neighborhood was on the West? Or maybe I would soon arrive at a very small, concentrated, block of Armenian homes and shops. But no, before I knew it I saw the unassuming sign of Partamian Bakery in the middle of this inner-city neighborhood.
Just got back from a road trip to Northern California. On the trip, we stopped at two shops which were listed on the Hayk the Ubiquitous Armenian website as Armenian establishments: Aram's Cafe in Petaluma and Aram Bakery in San Jose.
Aram's Cafe was much more than I expected in terms of its Armenian influence in a city considerably far from any Armenian community (Petaluma is 40 miles north of San Francisco--the nearest Armenian community). Upon entering the restaurant, you see the two tall walls on your left and right are draped with Armenian decoration: rugs, the ubiquitous William Saroyan poster, maps of Armenia, photos of Echmiadzin, and much more. The menu was also impressive as there were numerous items which referred to "Armenian" this and "Armenian" that. Taste wise I'd have to say the place was not bad, but certainly nothing to boast about.
A few weeks back I made a visit with some friends to Paso Robles—one of the premier wine regions in California after Napa and Sonoma. During our visit there, we came across a winery with the name Minassian-Young and of course I had to inquire about it's origin...
This article was originally published by the Los Angeles Times newspaper.
Quality Armenian bakers from . . . Mexico?
Two childhood friends from Zacatecas went to work for baker Leon Partamian in 1975. On his death they inherited his shop, which they now run.
By Bob Pool | Los Angeles Times | Staff Writer
Timothy Leary? Gay men's choir? Harmonious living? How many shades and flavors do Armenians come in? In this excerpt from Oorenk Magazine, the authors go off the beaten path to examine the odds and ends of the Armenian community of San Francisco.