Armenian church in eastern Turkey becomes hayloft after serving as school

A historical structure in the eastern province of Van, which once was an Armenian church, has been converted into a hayloft after serving as a school for some time, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Villagers fill the former church in the Korlu village of the Çatak district, 30 kilometers from Van, with hay, grass, cowpat and wood, but they have personally appealed to authorities to renovate it.

Considering the villagers’ request, Van Culture and Tourism Provincial Director Muzaffer Aktuğ said the renovation could be started soon.

The historical church had served as a primary school for five years when there was no school in the area 30 years ago. Thirty-five students were taught at the school, before it was abandoned and converted into a hayloft by villagers.

Villagers have attached a wooden door to the church, some parts of which are about to collapse, and tried to restore to prevent it from collapsing.

Tourists had come to the village to look at the church, but it was mostly neglected.

“For us, the church has a particular value because we graduated from here when we did not have a school. Now it is used as a hayloft. We want officials to restore the church and use it for tourism,” said villager Selim Gurban.

Aktuğ said he would give instructions to the Van Museum Directorate to learn about the church’s situation and whether it was suitable for restoration.

“Work will start according to the report after it is made by museum officials. We will discuss the report with the Van Monuments Directorate and we will renovate it if that is ultimately decided [by the directorate],” Aktuğ said.

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