The monastery of the Seven Churches, one of the most important historical monuments of Van in Historical Armenia, is currently endangered.
The dome of the destroyed monastery collapsed in 2011 from an earthquake. And now, locals frequently use the stones of the monastery as building materials. Tourists often get shocked when comparing old photographs of the historic church with its current state.
A program was developed that was to separate the monastery from a nearby mosque and restore it. However, no steps have yet been taken to execute this program.
The historic monastery of the Seven Churches, also known as Varagavank, was built between the 8th-11th centuries at the foot of Mount Erek. The monastery complex consisted of 7 churches. According to sources, in 1005, Armenian king Senekerim-Hovhannes built the church of St. Nshan, now known as Varagavank.
Other sources claim that the monastery was built earlier. Or at least, they claim that the monastery’s location had been designated in the 3rd century when Saints Gayane and Hripsime, taking a fragment from the cross of Jesus, arrived in Van and left the holy relic in this very place.