Ancient Armenian church in SE Turkey to be renovated

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An ancient church belonging to Turkey’s Armenian community in southeastern Diyarbakır province is expected to undergo restoration, officials told Anadolu Agency (AA).

The Surp Sargis Armenian Church, built in the 16th century in the Alipasa neighborhood of Sur district, Diyarbakır province, has an area of 3,769 square meters.

Owned by the Diyarbakır Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation, the church, whose upper structure was completely destroyed, is also known as the Paddy Church as it was used as a paddy factory for a long time.

An inscription, now in the Diyarbakır Archeology Museum, says the Christian place of worship was last repaired in 1840.

Cemil Koç, head of the Culture Ministry’s Directorate of Surveying and Monuments in Diyarbakır, said the 16th-century building deteriorated over time due to a decline in congregations.

He said the premises was used as a warehouse by various public institutions in the past.

The official added that the “monumental” building has immense importance for Diyarbakır. “Measurements that will form the basis of the building survey and projects are being made. Material samples have also been taken, which will help in getting more information about the church’s architectural style.”

Ergün Ayık, the head of the foundation, said the building is one of the two surviving churches in Diyarbakır, and that they have begun the process to return it to its former condition.

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