Desecration of an Armenian Cemetery on Akhtamar Island, Western Armenia

Desecration of an Armenian Cemetery on Akhtamar IslandThe Turkish government encourages the desecration of an ancient Armenian cemetery. Only four years ago, church services were carried out in the Cathedral of Holy Cross of Akhtamar in Lake Van (Western Armenia, now occupied by Turkey).

This structure has a significant religious and historical value for Armenians. Some time ago, the Turkish government prohibited carrying out church services in the temple.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross of Akhtamar was built by architect Manuel sometime between 915 and 921 during the reign of Armenian king Gagik I. reports that an Armenian cemetery is situated south and southwest of the temple complex. Most of the cemetery’s tombstone monuments are in poor condition. Many of them are severely damaged. Their fragments are lying around as well.

Even though security officers are present at all times on the Akhtamar Island, some people without hesitation picnic in the territory of the cemetery…

After the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the Akhtamar Island was abandoned. The Cathedral of Holy Cross along with the cemetery remained the brightest monument of the Armenian architecture on the island situated in Lake Van.

In all religions, cemeteries are considered to be sacred places. The use of the Armenian cemetery’s territory for recreational activities is outrageous. Many people arriving on the island to esteem the burial grounds say that the Turkish government doesn’t protect the cemetery from vandals.

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