400 year old Armenian church in Turkey on the verge of destruction

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.