St. Bartholomew’s monastery in Adamakert is about to be destroyed

  • by Western Armenia, July 15, 2023 in Patrimony
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St. Bartholomew's Armenian Monastery in the Adamakert region of Van in the 1990s, until 2013 served as a police station. The monastery, destroyed by treasure thieves, is now used as a barn and goldsmith's workshop.

The historic monastery, which has not been restored and was destroyed through neglect, is in danger of disappearing. St. Bartholomew's Monastery in the village of Albayrak was founded in the 4th century. It is believed that Saint Bartholomew, one of the 12 disciples of Christ mentioned in the New Testament, was buried here.

Before the First World War, the monastery was used by Armenians living in the area. But in 1915, following the genocide committed against the Armenians, the monastery's congregation was forcibly exiled from the region, and the monastery was left to the whims of fortune. 

The monastery, of great importance to the Armenian community, is now on the brink of destruction. Residents of the village of Albayrak have reported that cattle from surrounding villages occasionally enter the monastery, graze there and damage the structures. The villagers expressed their concern at the situation and demanded that the monastery be placed under protection as soon as possible.

Radvan Yighit, a research archaeologist living in Van, points out that most of the historic buildings in the area have been destroyed for lack of sufficient government support. According to him, the Turkish state does not allocate a budget for restoration work, and historical and cultural buildings are being destroyed day by day.