No surprise there! The photograph that is mentioned shows damage that was there in the 1950s, and that was probably done in 1915.
California Courier Online, November 18, 2004
2 - Visitors Use 10th Century Akhtamar Armenia Church for Target Practice
BRUSSELS - The Van correspondent of Istanbul's Milliyet newspaper writes
that the marvelous carvings of the 10th century church of Akhtamar in Lake
Van are regularly being used as targets for shooting practice by visitors.
The newspaper published also a photo where one can see the state of
after such visits. The correspondent reports that the church is protected
by a guard in the summer time only during the working hours.
During the rest of the day the visitors entertain themselves by shooting on
the carvings of the Akhtamar Church, and some of them even try to find some
Archeology Professor at the University of Van, Veli Seçkin says that there
are rumors among the population that there is treasure cached in the island
of Akhtamar. Even the Church guard was once arrested while he was "hunting
Already in May 2004, the Zaman newspaper warned that the famous church of
the Holy Cross of the Akhtamar Island was almost in ruins.
The church, which is visited by many foreign tourists, is badly neglected
and close to ruins. The church has been neglected and harmed by treasure
hunters and is at risk of collapsing. Both its foundation and ceiling have
cracks and holes.
The City of Van's Culture and Tourism Province Director, Bilal Sonmez, told
Zaman that a project for the preservation of the historical identity of the
church is already being prepared. Sonmez said that the issue has already
been transferred to the Culture and Nature Assets Council and that the
directorate is waiting for a decision.
Unfortunately the above-mentioned project for the preservation of the
historical identity of the church was never carried out and the Church is
not protected by UNESCO, since each country decides which are the monuments
to be protected by UNESCO.
The Assembly of Armenians of Europe and upon its request many Armenians all
around the world sent alert letters to UNESCO, but they remained without
In order to raise the awareness of the European an exhibition "Armenian
Architectural Heritage in South Caucasus and Middle East", organized by the
Assembly of Armenians of Europe with the co-operation of the Research on
Armenian Architecture under the patronage of Swedish Parliament member
Jonas Sjostedt, took place in the European Parliament, at the end of