Turkey to Open Akhtamar Church for Worship

VAN (Anatolia News Agency)– Turkey will open the Holy Cross Church on the historic island of Akhtamar in the eastern city of Van for worship in 2010, the governor of the Eastern Province of Van said.

Munir Karaloglu, governor of the eastern province of Van– the cradle of Armenian civilization–said they would open the Akhtamar Church, to worship in September 2010.

The church was opened in 2007 as a museum after it was restored by the Turkish government between May 2005 and October 2006. The restoration cost $1.7 million.

Karalogu said he had contacted the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in order to open the church to worship and to invite the Armenian community.

Former Turkish Minister for Culture and Tourism Atilla Koc and then Armenian Deputy Minister of Culture Gagig Gyurjian, and Mesrob II, the patriarch of Turkish Armenians, participated in the inauguration ceremony on March 29, 2007.

The Akhtamar Church was constructed by Armenian architect Bishop Manuel between 915 and 921 A.D. under the supervision of King Gagik I, whose capital resided in Van.

Among the important pieces of Armenian architecture, the church draws attraction with its stone workmanship and the relief on its walls.


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  1. Dave said:

    This is the prayer that Armenians will say in this church: “God save us from the Turks.”

  2. Berdj Melikian said:

    When the Church will be opened for worship,  will it have on the top The Cross installed as promised month and a have ago, by the Minister of Culture of Turkey?

  3. Frank said:

    The architecture involved in building our old churches were very sophisticated .
    An Armenian church in Kayseri was converted to a factory or something like that.
    There was a  cross on the wall of the church.
    The Turks wanted remove the cross and they realized that if they did do that. The building was going to have serious damage to the structure, so they left the cross there.
    We are from Kayseri and this is my fathers story.

  4. Pingback: Turkey to Open Akhtamar Church for Worship | Asbarez Armenian News | armeniatoday