REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Akdamar Church

Akdamar Church

Akdamar Island, is 55km. from Van and a twenty minute motor ride from the jetty on Van - Tatvan highway. It is known for its original church. Akdamar Church was commissioned to architect priest Manuel by King Gakik I of the Vaspurakan dynasty during the years 915 - 921 B.C.

The church has a four leaved clover plan with a domed center, and it is built from red colored cut tufa stone.

At the exterior of the structures there are stone reliefs depicting religious themes from the Bible and Tevrat as well as earthly themes, such as life at palace, hunting scenes and human and animal figures. The manner these themes are worked show an influence of 9th and 10 th century Abbasi Art, which was itself in turn greatly influenced by the Central Asian Turkish Art.

The interiors of the church walls are decorated with frescoes showing religios themes, which are practically disappearing today. These wall paintings have a special significance as the most comprehensive and oldest examples found in this region.