A photo exhibition depicting the Armenian Akdamar Holy Cross Church – a valuable piece of Turkish cultural heritage – opened in New York on Tuesday.
Organized by the Turkish Presidency Directorate of Communications, the exhibition highlights Turkey’s efforts to restore and promote the medieval Christian art and architecture.
The church has been photographed by Turkish artist Izzet Keribar, as part of a project called Hidden Masterpieces of Anatolia Revealed.
“This is an initiative to overcome difficulties of communication between Turkish and Armenian people, a bridge of goodwill for a better future and understanding,” Armenian Locum Tenens of the Patriarchate Sahak Mashalian, said in the opening ceremony.
Saying the church witnessed many tragic events, Mashalian emphasized that it also witnessed thousands of years of friendship and shared common history of both nations.
Turkey’s efforts to restore and promote Akdamar Church should be seen as a “friendly invitation” to Armenian people, he said.
Akdamar is a special place that can bring peace between the two countries, he added.
The 1,100-year-old Akdamar Church, a medieval Armenian place of worship, in Turkey’s eastern Van province, was built between 915-921 A.D by architect Bishop Manuel, under the direction of King Gagik I Artsruni.
Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has carried out extensive renovation and restoration works, to bring the medieval church back to its former glory.