Armenian church of the 16th century in Diyarbekir is on the verge of complete destruction

The 500-year-old church Surp Sarkis is living its last days. The special stones of the church, which is about to collapse due to unrepair, were removed from their places and stolen.

Historical places in North Kurdistan are being plundered by the state and are facing destruction. The Surp Sarkis Church, which was built in the 16th century and is known as the Çeltik Church (Hızır İlyas), was used as a granary by local lords during the Armenian Genocide. Due to neglect it has now become a ruin frequented by drug users and treasure hunters. Having survived for centuries due to its architectural features, the church is now in ruins.

Since the dominant belief in Turkey is Islam, places of worship of different beliefs are either used for different purposes or are faced with disappearance due to neglect. One of these places is the Surp Sarkis church, located in Amed’s Alipaşa district, with a history of 500 years.

A Place For Drug Users

After the Armenian genocide of 1915, this historical church was used as a granary by the lords of that period. The church, which is also known as the Çeltik Church among the local people, has been unattended and neglected for about 20 years. Many of its stones were stolen and plundered by the treasure hunters.

Only the columns of the historical building are intact. The historical church, 70 percent of which has been destroyed, has thus turned into a place frequented by drug users. Several meetings were held with the Armenian Foundation and the Chamber of Architects and Engineers for the reconstruction and restoration of the building.

Black Basalt Stones

Since the historical church was neglected, many parts of it were demolished, and holes were made in the remaining walls for a person to pass. All of the inscribed stones inside the walls of the church were removed and stolen. Construction materials were placed in the dismantled areas.

Despite such a destruction and neglect, it is also possible to see that the magnificence of the church in the photographs. The historical church was built with black basalt stones only found in the Amed region. Basalt stones, accurately and perfectly cut, were used in the arches, doors, buttresses and windows of the historical building. At the entrance of the church, there are the ritual section, the baptism room, and the destroyed courtyard.

Source: ANF News




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