Nine Syriac Christian Churches Recommended to UNESCO

05/12/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  Nine churches and monasteries in Tur Abdin, Mardin have been added to a tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage. Tur Abdin was mostly comprised of Syriac Christians until the last century and remains a prominent Christian site.

The Christian religious sites included on the tentative list are Mor Sobo Church, Mother Mary Church (Yoldath Aloho), Deyrulzafaran Monastery, Mor Gabriel Monastery, Mor Abai Monastery, Mor Lozoor Monastery, Mor Yakup Monastery, Mur Quryaqos Church and Mor Azozo Church. The list includes nine of approximately 100 churches and 70 monasteries as the region spans across 80 villages.

Midyat’s mayor commented that it was helpful to the region to develop culture and religious tourism for the prosperity of the region. Other church-goers expressed their hope that the nine will be added to the permanent UNESCO World Heritage list.

Several churches in Turkey have been looted and desecrated in the past year, reportedly after multiple appeals to local officials to protect the sites. ICC’s joint report on Turkey also highlights how Christian sites can be manipulated by the state, for the benefit of the state only and not the church. This tentative list of nine churches would assist the local church in protecting their heritage and Christian identity.

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