Turkey Restores Ancient Armenian Church as Show of Goodwill

Akdamar Church, also called the Church of Surp Khach, or Holy Cross, an Armenian structure dating back to 921 C.E., is being restored in a US$1.5 million project being undertaken by Turkey as a step towards improving relationships between the two neighboring countries.

Relief carvings on the outer walls of the sandstone building depict Jesus Christ, a sea creature devouring Jonah, Abraham and Isaac, David and Goliath, Adam and Eve, and the church's builder, Armenian King Gagik I. Frescoes inside depict other biblical scenes in Byzantine, Islamic and Abbasid visual traditions.

Records show that a harbor and a palace also existed nearby, but archaeologists have not yet found these ruins.