As part of Turkey's attempt to promote its unique Anatolian heritage to the world, Akdamar Holy Cross Church has been photographed by famous artist Izzet Keribar and is also just a click away for viewing by art lovers.
Under the Turkish Presidency Directorate of Communications, a photography exhibition entitled "Akdamar," was unveiled at the Hagia Irene Church in the Topkapi Palace Museum on Tuesday.
Turkish photography artist Izzet Keribar captured the unique nature of Akdamar; his exhibit will be on display for visitors to see through the lens of the famous artist.
The 1,100-year-old Akdamar Church, a medieval Armenian church in Turkey’s eastern Van province, was built between 915 and 921 by architect Bishop Manuel, under the direction of King Gagik I Artsruni.
Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has carried out extensive renovation and restoration work to bring the medieval church back to its former glory.
The opening ceremony kicked off with the film "Hidden Masterpieces of Anatolia Revealed: Akdamar," and was followed by a message from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"We have protected and preserved the Akdamar Church, which is an important belief centre of the Christian community, especially the Armenian peoples. We have worked diligently to preserve our common cultural heritage and to pass it on to future generations," Erdogan's message read.
Also speaking at the opening, Turkish Armenian Patriarchate Gov. Sahak Masalyan said, "It is promising that the church has been turned into a memorial church with the restoration that started in 2005. Each time we visit, we find the historical place improved and organised through meticulous efforts. This event is beyond a photo exhibition, rather it is a part of a more comprehensive project envisaging international promotion."
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, veteran photographer Keribar said that he had been taking photos for 65 years and that the exhibition was one of the milestones of his professional life.
"I have been taking photos for 65 years. It is a precious moment for me as I am standing here with my photos of Akdamar, commissioned by the Presidency's Directorate of Communications. This is one of the crowning works of my life," Keribar said.
Designed as the first step in the project initiated by Turkish Presidency Directorate of Communications to promote Turkey's rich historical heritage to the world, Akdamar Holy Cross Church photo exhibition will be open to visitors for the next 20 days.
The website www.akdamarkilisesi.gov.tr, which provides extensive information and visual materials in Turkish, English and Armenian, was also established for visitors who are unable to visit the church in Turkey's Van province but are interested in seeing a masterpiece that has stood the test of time for centuries.