Cultural gesture: Turkey intends to restore the cathedral in ancient Armenian city of Ani

Cultural gesture: Turkey intends to restore the cathedral in ancient Armenian city of Ani

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Turkey has launched a project to conserve an ancient Armenian cathedral and a church in what is seen as a gesture of reconciliation toward neighboring Armenia, writes Turkish Today’s Zaman.


According to Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay the new project was being launched in partnership with the World Monuments Fund to conserve the remains of the cathedral and the Church of the Holy Savior in Ani, 40 kilometers from the eastern city of Kars.

“Ani, which is of global significance, presents particularly complicated challenges,” Günay said. “We hope that giving new life to the remains of once-splendid buildings, such as the Ani Cathedral and church, will bring new economic opportunities to the region.”

Turkey says it is committed to improving ties with Armenia, and has already restored the 10th century Akhtamar church, perched on a rocky island in Lake Van in eastern Turkey. It has also allowed once-yearly worship at the site as a gesture to Armenia and its own ethnic Armenian minority.

Günay did not say whether Turkey would also allow prayers at Ani once the restoration is complete.