Turkey restores only Ottoman and Seljukian buildings in Van

Turkish state restores only mosques from Ottoman and Seljukian era while leaving Kurdish historical buildings and Armenian churches to their fate. 

In the old city restoration works on Ulu Mosque, Red Minaret Mosque, Abbasaga Mosque, Husref Pasha Mosque, Horhor Mosque and Kaya Mosque are completed. The mosques are mostly from Ottoman era. 

While there are extensive restoration plans for other mosques in the city, the Armenian churches and Kurdish buildings are left to their fate. Especially after decades of looting by treasure hunters, the churches in the city centre fell into ruins and there are no government plans for restoration work. 

The tragic part of the story is that some churches in the city centre stand next to the mosques which are restored by the Turkish government. Turkish officials turned a blind eye on looters, treasure hunters who almost destroyed every church in Van. 

The only church that has been restored by the state is Akhtamar Church. The church underwent a restoration program. But experts criticised the restoration saying that it’s rather a transformation from a church to a museum. 

There are several historical Christian buildings in Van. Most famous of them are the Saint Bartholomeus and Giduts Monastery. Both are now in ruins and no restoration works are planned. 

Aside from Armenian churches, historic sites from Urartu period are also left to their fate. Considered as proto Kurds, Urartus reigned in the area between 860 BC – 590 BC and they left countless historic sites behind, most of them around the city of Van. But the historical ruins are not preserved and Turkish officials have no plans for excavations and works in the archaeological protected areas.