Stones of Armenian church in Van used in mosque construction

(Armradio) – The stones of Varagavank Church in Van are being used in a mosque building. «The church is being regularly destroyed to use its stones to build a mosque, houses in neighboring villages and other constructions. The temple is on the verge of destruction», Ali Kalchek, the Head of the Van Monuments Protection Union, told the local mass media.

At the moment classes of the Koran for local children are conducted in the church.

The Armenian church of Varaganvank belongs to the 7-8th centuries. It was substantially damaged during the Armenian Genocide in 1915. The church was restored later thanks to the efforts of Turkish Armenians.

Varagavank was an Armenian monastery on the slopes of Mount Varag (Erek Dağı), 9 km (5.6 mi) southeast of the city of Van, in eastern Turkey.

The monastery was founded in the early 11th century by Senekerim-Hovhannes, the Armenian King of Vaspurakan, on a preexisting religious site. Initially serving as the necropolis of the Artsruni kings, it eventually became the seat of the archbishop of the Armenian Church in Van. The monastery has been described as one of the great monastic centers of the Armenian church by historian Ara Sarafian and the richest and most celebrated monastery of the Lake Van area by historian Robert H. Hewsen.

During the Armenian Genocide, in April–May 1915, the Turkish army attacked, burned, and destroyed much of the monastery. More of it was destroyed in the 1960s, although some sections are still extant.

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