Sourp Kevork Church in Mardin is ‘One of Most Threatened Landmarks in Europe’

Sourp Kevork Church in Mardin

YEREVAN (hetq.am)—The Sourp Kevork (St. George) Armenian Apostolic Church (Mardin,Turkey) has been selected as one of the seven most threatened landmarks in Europe by Europa Nostra, a leading European heritage organization.

The announcement was made yesterday by Europa Nostra, together with the European Investment Bank Institute, at a press conference in Athens, on the eve of its 50th Anniversary Congress.

“These monuments and sites were selected not only because they tell a fascinating story about our shared past, anchoring the sense of belonging to a European family, but also because they are highly valuable to the local communities who are strongly engaged in saving them,” stated Europa Nostra President Plácido Domingo.

Europa Nostra writes the following about the Armenian Church of St. George:

For 15 centuries the Church of St. George was the spiritual home of the large Armenian community in the Turkish city of Mardin. This Grade I registered historical building was founded in 420 AD and was in use until 1915, when the Armenian population left the city. In spite of its outstanding historical and cultural importance, this monument is currently in an advance state of decay.

Europa Nostra Turkey, with the support of the owner, the Mardin Armenian Catholic Church Community Foundation, is strongly committed to rescuing this tangible witness of Turkey’s multi-cultural history. The preservation of the church and its annexes would enable the future generations to understand the contribution of Armenian people to Mardin’s history and identity and, at the same time, allow a wider public to appreciate their cultural expressions and artistic achievements.

The local authorities, who are also aware of the economic advantages from future tourism development, are supportive of restoration projects in their town, but their endeavours need to be encouraged and supported by national and European partners.

The 7 Most Endangered for 2013 were selected by Europa Nostra’s Board from the 14 sites shortlisted by an Advisory Panel composed of international experts. In this initial year, civil society organisations and public bodies from 21 European countries submitted 40 nominations.

Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute will undertake rescue missions to these heritage sites after the summer.

The other six sites listed are: The Roman amphitheatre in Durrës in Albania, the buffer zone in the historic centre of Nicosia in Cyprus, Vauban’s 17th century fortifications in Briançon in France, the Renaissance monastery of San Benedetto Po in Italy, the 15th century monastery in Setúbal in Portugal and the historic mining landscape of Rosia Montana in Romania.

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5 Comments

  1. Vazken said:

    “This Grade I registered historical building was founded in 420 AD and was in use until 1915, when the Armenian population left the city. ‘… Falsifying history? Armenians were forced out, they did not depart on their own terms as this article shamefully seems to suggest.

  2. robig said:

    “selected as one of the seven most threatened landmarks in Europe”

    Since when is Mardin, Turkey in Europe? Who writes these articles and how is this chosen?

  3. Kevork said:

    Europa Nostra, thank you for the support, but you are typical modern-day European cowards who are too afraid to speak the truth. If you want to avoid historic truth, at least don’t tell a lie behind it, such as “This Grade I registered historical building was founded in 420 AD and was in use until 1915, when the Armenian population left the city” – No the Armenian population did not “leave the city”, they got a Genocide and got massacred, murdered, killed, raped, tortured and destroyed by the same racist Turks who have not changed and who are still operating their house of horrors to this day.

    “These monuments and sites were selected not only because they tell a fascinating story about our shared past” – another lie, it was not a “shared past” it was an occupied, forced and oppressed genocidal past.

  4. craig said:

    “This Grade I registered historical building was founded in 420 AD and was in use until 1915, when the Armenian population left the city.”
    When the Armenian population “left the city?”.
    Right, they just decided to leave.

  5. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Origin of famous photographer Yusouf Karsh from Mardin…Read his story did he leave the place or they killed his family…? Also my Mother’s Aunt Katherine from Family name Qara-Gulla…She was the one saved because she married to my mother’s uncle Aziz Sabri (Abrahamian).

    *Yousuf Karsh (1908 – 2002) was an Armenian-Canadian photographer, and one of the most famous and accomplished portrait photographers of all time. Yousuf or Josef (Hovsep in Armenian). Karsh was born in Mardin, He grew up during a time when he as a child and he and his family witnessed the great famine of the period, costing the family the life of Yousuf’s sister, and the ensuing 1918 pandemic along with the atrocities and severely harsh measurements of mass deportation by the authorities on the Armenian minorities living in the Ottoman Empire, the so called “sick man of Europe”. He later wrote, “I saw relatives massacred; my sister died of starvation as we were driven from village to village.”
    At the age of 14, he fled with his family to Syria to escape persecution. Two years later, his parents sent him to live with his uncle George Nakash, a photographer in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Karsh briefly attended school there and assisted in his uncle’s studio. Nakash saw great potential in his nephew and in 1928 arranged for Karsh to apprentice with portrait photographer John Garo. The image of Churchill brought Karsh international prominence, and is claimed to be the most reproduced photographic portrait in history. In the late 1990s Karsh moved to Boston and on July 13, 2002, he died. He was interred in Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa. Karsh was a master of studio lights. One of Karsh’s distinctive practices was lighting the subject’s hands separately. He photographed many of the great and celebrated personalities of his generation. Journalist George Perry wrote in the British paper The Sunday Time that, “when the famous start thinking of immortality, they call for Karsh of Ottawa.”

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