Nowadays almost every Armenian construction standing in Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey is ruined.

Western Armenian churches have visible stylistic difference from temples in Republic of Armenia.

They look more like mosques, namely like imamzadehs, Persian shrine tombs of the descendants of Imams.

It is possible to assume that the form of the temples of Western Armenia on the territory of the Ottoman Empire has been directly influenced by Islamic traditions, and every following renovation brought more and more of the religion’s features to churches’ architecture. The activity of religious communes altered the original appearance of Armenian temples.

At the same time, monasteries on the territory of modern Armenia have been constantly abandoned due to attacks of foreign states and subsequent loss of population, leaving the unaffected churches in the same condition for centuries.

Surb Karapet Monastery, about 30 km (19 mi) northwest of Mush (modern Muş, provincial capital of Muş province in Turkey). The monastery has been a significant religious center of the historic province of Taron.


The Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akdamar (Aghtamar) Island, in lake Van in eastern Turkey, built during 915-921, is the most antique and the only preserved temple among the churches presented in this article.
A procession in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
The Varagavank monastery by the lake Van. The monastery was founded in the early 11th century by Senekerim-Hovhannes Artsruni, the Armenian King of Vaspurakan.

Armenian women from the region of lake Van.
Armenian women from the region of lake Van.
An Armenian family.
A fully armed Armenian soldier, the region of lake Van.
Khachkars at the cemetery of the Arakelots Monastery (11 km south-east of Mush).
Surb Karapet Monastery’s main church, renovated after being destroyed by Persian troops in 1750s and by a devastating earthquake in 1784.
Surb Karapet Monastery’s main church, view of the main entrance.
The Varagavank monastery.
View of the Surb Karapet Monastery.
The Surb Karapet Monastery in winter.
The Narekavank monastery.
Another view of the Narekavank monastery
The Arakelots Monastery. Evidence shows that the monastery was founded in 11th century during the rule of the Tornikians, a branch of Mamikonians. The wall around the monastery was built in 1791.
Another view of the Arakelots Monastery
Monks of the Varagavank monastery, demonstrating the throne of the King Senekerim-Hovhannes.
View of fort of Van from Tabriz gate.
Chapels of the Surb Karapet Monastery, built in 16th century
Roofs of the Varagavank monastery’s churches

Surb Grigor Monastery on the Lim island in lake Van has a conical dome, which is very similar to the dome of the tomb of Persian Sunni Muslim poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (more popularly simply as Rumi) in Konya. Rumi’s tomb was completed in 1274, whereas the dome of the Surb Grigor church was built after 1310.

Armenians of Van province.
An Armenian girl from Eastern-Anatolia
Armenian nuns.
Entrance of the St. Bartholomew Monastery, eastern Turkey.
A view of a monastery unfamiliar to us.
Catholicosate of Armenian church of Sis has been located here since 1282.
The Lim Monastery
The St. Bartholomew Monastery.
Monks on the Lim island

Archive Images of Western Armenia