A 400-year-old Armenian church located in Van Province of eastern Turkey is on the verge of full destruction, having been targeted by treasure hunters for hundreds of years.
The walls of St. Stepanos Church are almost completely destroyed, with deep holes dug inside the church.
Treasure hunters have also damaged the tombstones close to the church, one of the unique examples of medieval Armenian architecture.
The part of the church that managed to keep standing despite the attacks is at risk of a total collapse, the source said.
Located at Aksorik mountainside and near Bend-i Mahibrook in Muradiye, Van, St. Stephanos Church was built in 17th century.
St. Stephanos Church and its monastery, which is among the important constructions that managed to keep standing despite the damage of hundreds of years, has seen the greatest destruction of its history in the last 50 years.
St. Stepanos Church operated until the 1915 Armenian Genocide, being one of the most important places of prayer for Armenians.
For Armenians the pomegranate is one of the most recognizable symbols of the country. In Armenian mythology it symbolizes fertility and good fortune. It was a guardian against the evil eye. At weddings in Western Armenia, a bride would throw a pomegranate and break it into pieces. Its scattered seeds ensured that the bride would bear children. In Van, Armenian women who wanted to have a son would eat bread made from dough mixed with pomegranate seeds. Its importance is attested in historical Armenian manuscripts and stone carvings where it was used as a popular ornament. One of the most iconic Armenian art movies is that of Sergey Paradjanov named “The Color of Pomegranates”. In the film, the red pomegranate on a table with its wrinkled skin and fresh pulp stands out as an embodiment of the invincible soul of Armenia. Until the very day pomegranate is a commonly used theme in Armenian art and culture including cuisine. In fact, it has turned into a national cliché. Go to any art exhibition, and you’re sure to see two or three (or more) paintings where the pomegranate is featured. Souvenir shops are filled with ceramic, metal, and textile pomegranates and pomegranate-shaped knick-knacks. During weddings in Yerevan a small dried pomegranate called taratosik is given by a bride to unmarried guests as a blessing. After the horrid events of the Armenian Genocide many Armenian artists have used pomegranates as a theme in their lyrics and poems to describe a wide range of emotions, from suffering to hope, rebirth and survival of a nation.
In closing, a traditional ending for Armenian fairy tales:
“Three pomegranates fell down from heaven: One for the story teller, one for the listener, and one for the whole world.”
Lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament approved the motion recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
The motions authored by Joel Voordewind were supported by majority in the parliament.
Acting Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said that the Dutch government would not follow the parliament’s lead. Kaag says the Cabinet will “continue to exercise restraint”.
Acting Minister said that the Dutch cabinet member will be present in Yerevan in April at the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
Leading Armenian chess player Levon Aronian is the winner of the Gibraltar Masters Tournament.
Armenian grandmaster was stronger than Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the final tiebreak.
The three rounds of the Rapid Chess Tournament ended in a draw, but Aronian won during the fourth round.In Gibraltar Masters Tournament were taking part 274 chess players from 50 countries.