Initiating a new policy of returning foreign artifacts to their original owners, Iranian officials have said that they will return a 629-year-old bell, which belonged to an Armenian church in Turkey, to that church on Akhtamar
, an island in Turkey's Lake Van.
Church [in Lake Van]," said Culture Ministry representative Seyranuhi Geghamyan during a visit to Kemal's home to present
Akhtamar Church was saved at the last minute thanks to great efforts by author YaE-ar Kemal.
It is a remarkable development that in the festival held in Los Angeles, Akhtamar Church was selected as the historic landmark that represents the city of Van, Deputy Patriarch Archbishop Aram AteE-yan, as the guest of honor, was able to deliver a touching speech there and that such an environment was created in the first place.
Boats provided a shuttle service for pilgrims from all over Turkey, and some from Armenia and elsewhere in Europe, to the isle of Akdamar (Akhtamar
in Armenian) on Lake Van, to the 10th century Church of the Holy Cross, Anatolia news agency said.
The Armenian Church has said it would not participate in a mass scheduled for September 19 at an ancient Armenian church on Akhtamar
Island in Lake Van.
The restoration of the Akhtamar
Church, the demonstrations in Turkey after the assassination of Hrant Dink, Turkey's EU membership process and finally Turkish President Abdullah Gul's visit to Yerevan in September 2008 are all cornerstones of this new era.
Located on the island of Akhtamar
in eastern Turkey's Lake Van, Ankara hopes the highly publicized renovation of its country's best known Armenian ecclesiastical building will improve tense relations with Europe, the United States and neighboring Armenia.
A few miles to the west of Khorkom was the island of Akhtamar, with its famous tenth-century church, which Gorky later praised as "that jewel established in our crown of beauty." When the family moved to the city of Van, in 1910, Lady Shushanik also made sure that her son became familiar with the collection of illuminated manuscripts housed in the great monastery of Varak, which lay nearby.
I visited Vosdan, Akhtamar, and the smoke-blackened ruins of Varak.
The Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akhtamar
that also that sat on the festival grounds, amazingly realistic from the inside and the outside even at two-fifths of its actual size, was one of the most visited places at the festival.