The Destuction of Armenian Historical Monuments

In 1912-1913 with the instruction of the Turkish Interior Ministry the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople drew up the list of the Armenian monasteries and churches functioning in the territory of the empire.

According to the statistics collected by Archbishop Maghakia Ormanian, the number of the Armenian monasteries and churches functioning in the territory of Western Armenia amounted to 2200.

2150 of these buildings were plundered and set on fire during the years of the genocide.

Since 1928 a process of altering the Armenian geographical names has begun in Turkey. The Turkish government has changed the names of settlements, rivers and mountains for several times.

For example, the settlement of Moks in Vaspurakan turned into Myukyus, then Bakhchisaray and finally Hyuseyniye, Berdagh turned into Dinlenje, Andzav - Gyorushlu, Sevan - Ortaja, Aren - Gyolduzlu etc. Hajn turned into Salimbeyli in honor of the organizer of the Armenian massacres of 1920 in Hajn.

The monuments of Akhtamar and Ani, which are presented as Turkish ones without any reference to their Armenian origin. Akhtamar has turned into Akdamar, Ani into Ane  while Mount Ararat has been renamed as Aghre dagh.

These steps pursued the objective of collating the changed names according to the Turkish language.

According to the UNESCO data for 1974, 464 of the 913 buildings that remained standing after 1915 were destructed, 252 were reduced to ruins while 197 need immediate attention.

Today Turkey enjoys UNESCO membership but numerous facts evidence that this country continues obliterating the history and culture of the Armenian people.

   The 6th clause of the decision of the European Council on the Armenian Genocide which is dated 18 June 1987 states:
   The Turkish government must show a fair treatment towards the identity, language, religion, culture and historical monuments of the Armenian people;
   The Council of Europe demands that the preservation of the historical and architectural monuments situated in Turkey should be improved.

Photo's of the Destruction by Turkey

Karmrvor Sourb Astvatzatzin (Holy Virgin), Shushants Village, Van, 15th century.

View before 1968, Destroyed, View in 2000.

Varag Monastery, 5th to 19th centuries.

 View in 1900s, Destroyed, View in 2004 (photo, S. Karapetian)

Salnapat St. Gregory Monastery, Koghbants Village, 9th to 15th centuries.

View before 1913 (photo Bachmann), Destroyed, View in 2004,(photo S. Karapetian)

St. Gevorg Church, Angegh Village, Hayots Dzor District, 14th century.

View in 1970s, (photo A. Haghnazarian), View in 2004,(photo S. Karapetian)

St. Bartholomew the Apostle Monastery, Aghbak District, 5th to 12th centuries.

View Before 1913,(photo Bachmann), Bombed. View in 1980s.(photo A. Haghnazarian)

Narek Monastery, Rshtunik District, 9th to 10th centuries.

View in 1900s, The mosque built on the site in 1980s (photo 2004, S. Karapetian)

Lim Monastery, Van, 9th to 15th centuries.

View in the 1900s, View in 2004 (photo S. Karapetian)

Van City, Kaghakamej Quarter (Armenian).

View before 1913(photo Bachmann), Remnants of Kaghakamej (photo 2004, S. Karapetian)



Bitlis Medieval Armenian cemetery, 10th to 18th centuries.

View before 1913 (photo Bachmann) , Destroyed, View in 2000. (photo S. Karapetian)

St. Hovhannes of Bagrevand, Erzerum (Karin), 613 to 619.

View in 1960s. Destroyed. View in 2000.

Sourb Arakelots (Holy Apostles') Monastery of Moosh, 5th to 17th centuries.

View in 1900S. View in 2000. (photo 2000, S. Karapetian)

St. Karapet Monastery of Moosh, 4th to 18th centuries.

View in 1900s. Destroyed. View in 2000. (photo 2000, S. Karapetian)

Ani Medieval Armenian City, 9th Century.

Ani Coat of arms, 10th century (photo 1910s). Ani coat of arms, Armenian cross removed under the plea of "reconstruction" in the late 1990s (photo 2000, S. Karapetian)

Sourb Prkich (Holy Saviour) Church, Ani, 1036.

View in 1910, Cut in half by Turkish Army, View in 2000. (photo Bartolos)

Tekor Cathedral, 5th century.

View in 1912, Blown up in 1956, View in 2000.


Mren Cathedral, Tekor Village, 639 to 640.

View early in the 20th c. View in 2000.

Horomos Monastery, 10th to 11th centuries.

View in 1965, View in 1998

Bagnayr Monastery, Bagnayr Village, 11th to 13th centuries.

The view before the 1960's. View in 2000.

Khtzkonk Monastery, Near Ani, 7th to 13th centuries.

Blown up in 1966. View in 2000. (photo 2000, S. Karapetian)


Photo's and Information courtesy of Research of Armenian Architecture





Some of Destruction by Turkey

The church of Tekor which was erected in the 5th c. was standing until 1956, served as a target during the artillery trainings of the Turkish army.

Tzepni Church in the village of the same name dating back to the 7th c. was renamed Zibini and turned into a mosque.

The Monastery of St. Bartholomew the Apostle that was erected on the site of his martyrdom, Aghbak District of Vaspurakan Province, and was considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Armenian people and the Christian world, was blasted.

The monastery of St. Karapet was plundered and partly devastated in 1915. During the artillery trainings of the Turkish troops in the 1960s the monument turned into a heap of stones which were later used for the foundation of a village in the same place.

In 1915 Varagavank was consigned to great devastation in consequence of which some parts of it were used as a warehouse and a cattle-shed. In 1998 the stones of the monastery served as building material for the construction of a mosque erected in the same place.

Out of the five churches of Khtzkonk Monastery erected in the 10th-12th cc. only St. Sargis Church has "miraculously" survived despite the fact that the destruction resulted in gaps in 6 distinct places.

The monastery of St. Makar situated 30 km north-east of Nicosia, in the occupied territory of Cyprus, was plundered and totally destructed in 1997.

Sourb. Arakelots (of the Holy Apostles) Church of Kars turned into a mosque in 1998.

The numerous stone pieces bearing Armenian lapidary inscriptions that had fallen near the Turkish spiritual school in Bitlis served as " building material" for the repairs of a mosque in 1973.


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