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Akdamar Church




Turks, Armenians Celebrate Restoration of Akdamar Church

Akdamar Church at Lake Van East TurkeyOn March 29 2007, the Government of Turkey hosted a ceremony marking the completion of the restoration of the 10th century Armenian church on Akdamar Island in Lake Van, Turkey. 

This landmark achievement was celebrated by over three thousand participants, including Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc, Armenian Deputy Minister of Culture Gagik Gyurgian, Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, senior government officials, high level representatives of international organizations, key contributors and tourists from Turkey and around the world.

Turkey initiated the $1.5 million restoration project in May 2005.  The restoration was completed by a team of experts composed of Turkish and Armenian architects, civil engineers and scholars.

The restoration team worked closely with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Turkish Armenian Patriarchy, universities, and civil society organizations in order to ensure adherence to international conservation standards.  During the restoration process, both the exterior and interior of the church were restored, the walls were strengthened against earthquakes and the stone sculptures and frescoes were cleaned.

Akdamar Church at Lake Van East TurkeyThe Church was constructed during the reign of Gagik Ardzrouni, King of Vaspurakan, by the architect Bishop Manuel between 915 – 921 AD. It was converted to a monastery in 1113 when the Kingdom of Vaspurakan came to an end, and the church became the center of the Armenian Patriarchate till the end of the 19th century.

During the inauguration ceremony, Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II and a Vatican envoy praised the restoration.  The Armenian Deputy Minister of Culture added that they were in Turkey not just to witness the restoration of the church but also to discuss new projects where Turkish and Armenian experts can cooperate in many areas, including archaeology and architecture.





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