Motherland (Adampol)

Her Motherland

Leyla Gencer’s mother was born in Polonezköy (Adampol) in Istanbul, a polish village founded by Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski.

History of Adampol

Polish-Turkish relations have been good since the 18th century, and the Ottoman Empire was the only major power in the world which never recognized the dissolution and partitioning of Poland between Austrai, Russia and Prussia, while (Istanbul) remained as the only capital city in the world to maintain a Polish Ambassador until the end of the Great War and the subsequent re-creation of Poland.

Polonezköy (Adampol) was founded by Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski in 1842. He was the Chairman of the Polish National Uprising Government and the leader of a political emigration party. The settlement was named Adam-koj (Adamköy) after its founder, which means the Village of Adam in Turkish (Adampol means Town of Adam in Polish). Prince Czartoryski wanted to create the second emigration centre here (the first one was in Paris). He sent his representative, Michal Czajkowsi to Turkey. Michał Czajkowski, after converting to Islam in 1850, became known as Mehmed Sadyk Pasza (Mehmet Sadık Paşa). He purchased the forest area which encompasses present-day Adampol from a missionary order of Lazarists. Plans were made to establish Adampol on this area in the future.

At the beginning, the village was inhabited by 12 people, but there were no more than 220 people when the village was most populated. In the course of time, Adampol developed and was flooded by a lot of emigrants from the rebellion in November 1830, during the Crimean War in 1853, and by runaways from Siberia and from captivity in Circassia. The first inhabitants busied themselves with agriculture, raising and forestry. After Polish independence in 1918, many returned to Poland. Before World War II, the first tourists already began to arrive to the village. The remaining inhabitants of Adampol (Polonezköy) took Turkish citizenship in 1938.

Adampol’s town chronicles registered the visits of famous people such as Franz Liszt (1847), French writer Gustave Flaubert (1850), Czech writer Karen Droz (1904), the first President of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1937), Pope Nuncio Angelo Roncalli – the future Pope John XXII (in 1941 some children received confirmation from him during his visit) and the first Polish diplomat after the Second World War, Adam Rapacki, then the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRL, accompanied by Turkish dignitaries (1961).

In 1985 the village was visited by the President of Turkey Kenan Evre, and in 1994 by Lech Walesa. The next President of Poland, Alexander Kwasniewski, twice came to Adampol (in 1996 and 2000) where he visited the Memorial House of Zofia Ryzy. Two years later Adampol celebrated the 160th anniversary of its founding.

Polish citizens (descendants of the founders of Adampol) often come back to Turkey in order to visit the settlement of their forefathers. Nowadays, there are about 1,000 people in Adampol and around 40 of them speak Polish fluently. There is a festival in Adampol (Polonezköy) every summer which enhances the cultural relationship between Adampol and Poland. The inhabitants pay some folk bands from Poland on their own and invite them to come to Adampol.

Famous Turks with partial Polish ancestry include the poet and playwright Nazım Hikmet, and the opera singer Leyla Gencer.

[Above short information is from]

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