May 18, 2011. (Romereports.com)
It's an ancient Armenian Cathedral on Turkish land. For centuries it was abandoned and ignored, but now a new project is underway to conserve the Church.
The renovation is being called a symbolic gesture that will somewhat soften the bitter relationship between Turkey and Armenia. For decades, both countries have fought over the mass killings of Armenians in the early 1900's. Turks say the nearly 1.5 million deaths were the result of a civil war. Armenians disagree. They argue the killings were deliberate and genocidal.
The Ani Cathedral was built in the 10th century in the city of Ani, in the province of Kars, along the Turkish/Armenian border. The city was the Armenian capital, where hundreds of religious buildings once stood. Now, the landscape is a desolate area.
The Cathedral has Gothic architectural motifs from the Armenian Bagratid period. By conserving the church, organizers hope to highlight the region's beauty and enhance its cultural and historical significance.
The renovation program is undertaken by the World Monuments Fund, the U.S Department of State and the Turkish government.