The Church of the Holy Cross in Aghtamar, the largest of the 4 islands in Lake Van, is distinguished by its original architectural solutions and composition, which prove the Armenianness of the church, breaking even the stereotypes of the Turkish denial policy.
Of the monastery complex, which was the spiritual center of the Artsrunyats kingdom of Vaspurakan, only the Church of the Holy Cross has been preserved. It was built in the years 915-921, by the architect Manuel, under the commission and patronage of Gagik Artzruni, king of Vaspurakan. The monastery was abandoned in 1917. The icons in the church are distinguished by their beauty and originality. On its walls, one can find plant ornaments symbolizing nature, the Old and New Testaments, as well as bas-reliefs created on secular themes. The sculptures of Jonah, David and Goliath, Samson, Adam and Eve throwing themselves into the sea are impressive. On the west facade of the church is the king of Gagik Artzruni, holding a miniature of the Holy Cross. In the center of the south facade are the four patriarchs of the Artzruni family. On the walls you can see sculptures representing various manifestations of human life. The Church of the Holy Cross of Aghtamar was reopened in 2007 as a museum after renovation. And in 2010, after a break of 95 years, the first liturgy was held in the church.
“Historical-cultural reserve-museums and historical environment protection service” public non-profit organization.