VAN — The earthquake in southeastern Turkey has reportedly caused damage to the Surb Khach (Holy Cross) church on Akhtamar island.
According to the Turkish newspaper Zaman, the dome of the church developed a crack after the powerful earthquake hit the province of Van on Sunday.
The 10th century holy site had survived noticeable damage from last Sunday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake, however closer inspection revealed the crack, according to the Turkish daily.
Officials said their initial observations show that there is no other serious damage to the church, but they are waiting for the aftershocks to end before evaluating the whole structure of the church.
Some mosques in the area also show earthquake damage to their minarets.
Akhtamar is a sacred spot for Armenians and remains a beacon of the historic Armenia before the Armenian Genocide began in 1915. Under modern Turkish rule, the church had been maintained only as a cultural museum, but was controversially re-consecrated in September 2010, along with an announcement that religious service would be allowed once a year.

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