Karapınar, Hekimhan

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Karapınar is a village in the Hekimhan district of Malatya Province, Turkey. "Karapınar" is the Turkish word for "black fountain", from which the village's name is derived. The village presumably was established more than 400 years ago and there is no any evidence of older settlements. The villagers of Karapinar began migrating here as early as the era of the Ottoman Empire. Karapinar is located on the southern slope of Yama mount, bordering Malatya and Sivas provinces, on what was once the historical Silk Road. The area surrounding the village is rough, stony and mountainous, with no rivers or creeks in the area, resulting little agricultural production.


In 1995, due to a landslip, Karapınar was relocated to a lower elevation 10 km south of the site of the old village. Living in the old village was very hard and grueling, with only a very limited means of transportation, other than on mules and horses. The houses in the old village were primitive, constructed of dirt and stone with dirt-covered flat roofs. In winter, snow was scraped off by hand, and when it rained, villagers had to roll cylinder-shaped stones onto the roof to stiffen the dirt and to stop the rainwater that flowed through the roof, and down into house. Life then was very arduous, compared with life in the new village.

Construction of the new village was funded solely by the government, getting underway in 1993 with its completion in 1995. New Karapınar has around 50 houses, all made of reinforced concrete with tile roofs. The new village is closer to intercity highways, has a sewer system, telephone connection, drinking water, a road to Hekimhan, Malatya and Sivas, and has a single mosque. There is no school in the village as there are no school-age children there.


Generally, in Turkish culture and especially in eastern Anatolia, the household is highly important and everything revolves around it. Within it, the main human physiological needs are met - shelter, rest, food and raising a family - and the most intimate and emotionally important social relations are played out there. Primarily, this is for economic unity, which recently united the men with the women into the household group. Secondly, was the strict segregation of the sexes and the fierce attitudes toward feminine honor. In Turkey, especially in the eastern part of Turkey, it is believed that a man's first and foremost duty is to protect his family honor and to provide his family with their needs.


Men form the permanent core of a normal household, and are the head of the family and the household. The senior man, either the father or father's father, owns the fabric of the house, and usually owns most or all of the land. His sons and grandsons are born into, and remain in, the household until his death, when one of his sons, usually the eldest, then becomes the head of the household. Younger sons, sooner or later, leave to build their own independent households.

In Turkey's village culture, the father's authority is strongly emphasized. Sons are expected to obey their fathers, and on the whole, they do. Respect is based on a series of formal rules; one does not answer back, or speak in public with their father present without specific invitation to do so. Sons do not smoke in their father's presence. Except for formal schooling, the father is almost entirely responsible for educating and training their sons in socially acceptable behavior, and in the essential farming skills. Sons are expected from about the age of eight to watch, water and feed the household animals, and at about twelve, they learn to handle a plow.

In village culture, brotherhood is very strong. More than any other kin, brothers are bound together by the social system. If they are fairly close in age, they are likely to be lifelong neighbors, and the intimacy of a childhood under a common roof is likely to continue throughout life with co-operation and mutual dependence. Bound by common interests in inheritance and the common duties to their parents. To their close agnates, they very often maintain a daily flow of contact and mutual services throughout life.


The women own and are the core of the household, yet they work, talk, and amuse themselves as much as possible outside of it. The grown women of a household are women that are brought in as wives from another household, except, rarely, for daughters or sisters due to marry out, or if they return to their husbands. They are all, in one way or another, appendages of the core of male agnates. Adult women have rights and interests in more than one household, yet they belong unequivocally to none. In spite of this marginal position, they are most active largely within the household in which they reside, and their presence is indispensable to its daily routine.

Women want sons, but this does not mean that they do not love their daughters. Girls grow up with the women of the household, and learn their most important lessons from their mother, helping her in all the household tasks. This intimacy, greater than that between any other pair of different generations, is suddenly interrupted by the girl's marriage, which normally takes place about puberty or soon after. Marriage is a time of acute grief to the bride's mother. After marriage, a girl still looks to her own mother for help, advice and comfort. She visits regularly; if the distance is great, then for a month or so once a year; if her mother is in the same village, then frequently and casually. If she becomes ill, she is sent home to be cared for by her own mother.

Before marriage, sisters are as close to each other as brothers are; how this initial intimacy develops in later life depends on the physical distance and social relations between the households into which they marry. If they marry into the same household, or two very closely related households, or even if they are in the same village, they will normally maintain close co-operation throughout life.


Co-wives live under one roof. The villagers does not have a common term for co-wives, but they had, and frequently used, a term for a second wife, a word which carried decidedly derogatory overtones, kuma. Only one or two men in Karapinar have actually had two wives, as it happens mostly due to the infertility of the previous wife. The men will marry another woman to have children, and for the continuation of the generation of their family.

Now, as the young population of the village dwell in cities, the previously stated form of life no longer can be observed in Karapinar village as the newer generation has mostly adapted themselves and their life style to the standards of city life.

Neighbouring villages[edit]

Relative to the village of Karapinar, the villages of Akmara and Kaymak are to the east, the villages of Kavacık and Akçamara are to the west, Yeşilkale village is to the south, Karacaören is to the southwest, Kutan village is to the north and Dereyurt is to the northeast.


The climate is dominated by hot, dry summers and cold, long and snowy winters.


Starting from the 1960s, Karapınar have gone through mass emigration due to economical circumstances. Most preferred cities were Malatya, İstanbul and some other cities around Turkey. There is also a small number of families in some European countries.In summer time, the population of Karapınar doubles up as people of Karapınar come over for family reunion and visits.


After the 1960s Turkey in general, and particularly in Karapınar, mechanization of agriculture and infrastructure was implemented in order to increase productivity and to grow the agricultural economy. Along with the mechanization,migration into Turkey and Karapınar, began as people sought to find work while the economy was weak. When rural investment for farming was expanded with the introduction of tractors and with technical assistance of the rural road system, the economy and activities began to grow in Karapinar. However, despite this technical improvement, oxen-drawn plows remained in use for some time in the hard-to-reach places since most of the area of the village was rough, stony and mountainous.

At present, the main economical activities in village are; agriculture, stockbreeding and the production of wool rope.


Turkish Village, Copyright 1965, 1994 (Paul Stirling)
Research On History of Karapinar, 2005 (Recayi Ertan)