St. Bartholomew’s Monastery in Baskale endangered

St. Bartholomew’s Monastery in Baskale endangered
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The monastery, which was previously used as a police station and then destroyed by treasure hunters, is currently being used as a barn and haystack.

St. Bartholomew’s Armenian Monastery in the Baskale district of Van is currently at risk of disappearing. Previously serving as a police station, the monastery was destroyed by treasure hunters and is now being used as a barn and haystack. This site dates back to the fourth century and is believed to be the burial place of St. Bartholomew..


The monastery holds significant importance to the Armenian community and was used by Armenians in the region until World War I. However, after the Armenian Genocide in 1915, the community was extracted, leaving the monastery abandoned. Despite its cultural significance, the monastery’s future remains uncertain.

Once used as a police station until 2013, the monastery has suffered substantial damage. Although the police station was moved in 2013, no action has been taken to restore this historically significant building. Sandbags placed by soldiers now sit in front of the monastery, further deteriorating its appearance. While part of the site is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of National Education, no restoration efforts have been started.

Promises of restoration have been made in the past but remain unfulfilled. In 2013, Aktaş handed in a restoration report to the TBMM, but no action was taken.. In 2015, former People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Van deputy Ozdal Ucer questioned the lack of restoration actions to the Minister of Culture and Tourism Omer Celik, but received no response.


With the monastery’s gradual disappearance, there is a growing concern among the villagers of Albayrak. Residents observe animals from nearby villages entering the monastery, causing damage to its structures. Some animal owners even use the site as a barn or haystack. Frustrated by this situation, the villagers urge immediate protective measures for the monastery.

Archaeologist Ridvan Yigit, living in Van, highlights the unfortunate destruction of many historical buildings in the region because of insufficient state support. He stresses the importance of projects, surveys, and budgeting for protecting these valuable cultural assets.. Regrettably, cultural heritage in the area is deteriorating because of bureaucratic hurdles, a lack of funding, and a general lack of appreciation for historical structures.