TURKEY: Syriac Monastery of St. Quryaqos in Batman to be restored

Batman, Turkey – The monastery of Mor Quryaqos in the historical Syriac region “Bsheriye” or Beşiri, Batman Province, will be restored to its former state. The monastery will not be demolished and rebuilt because of its sacred church status. The main function of the restoration is to preserve the historical monastery and make it a place for tourism in Turkey.

Mor Quryaqos Monastery was once the seat of a Syriac Orthodox diocese and is considered one of the oldest Syriac monasteries. Like many other churches, monasteries and old buildings, it was vacant, fell into disrepair or was destroyed. The Turkish government did not recognize many of such ancient buildings as historical monuments as was the case with the Mor Quryaqos monastery. The monastery of Mor Quryaqos was severely damaged over time and used as an animal stable.

Fortunately, the authorities of Batman Province have now decided to reconstruct and preserve the old monastery to make it a place for historical tourism. It seems to be a turning point as the Turkish state starts to get more interested in the ancient buildings of the Syriacs, noticing the breadth of the long Syriac history in Turkey and its value for tourism. The restoration is a positive development for the Syriacs whose ancient buildings and history come back in view, albeit on the touristic map. Preserving and protecting monasteries like the Mor Quryaqos monastery and other historical buildings is important for coming generations to stay witness of the history of the Syriac people in Turkey.