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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
In pictures: Armenian church restored

Akhtamar church, the lake, mountains

The Church of Surp Khach, or Holy Cross, was built between 915 and 921 during the reign of Armenian King Gagik I.


The church will function as a museum, not a place of worship, following its $1.5m (763,000) restoration.

Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II

The spiritual leader of Turkey's Armenian community, Patriarch Mesrob II, called for services to be held at least once a year.

view of island

The church is situated on an island in Lake Van, known as Akdamar - or Akhtamar in Armenian.


Frescoes of saints adorn the inside of the tower.

stone carvings

Biblical scenes are depicted in carvings on the facade.

stone carvings

Turkey hopes the restoration will help to heal a rift with Armenia. Armenian dignitaries said they hoped many more churches would be restored.

Ankara restores Armenian church
29 Mar 07 |  Europe

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