ISTANBUL (Agos) — Diyarbakir Surp Giragos Church was granted with 2015 Europa Nostra, which is one of the most prestigious awards in the field of cultural heritage. The award ceremony, which had been planned to be held in Surp Giragos, was held in Vortvots Vorodman Church in Istanbul because of the ongoing curfew in Diyarbakir. Speaking at the ceremony, Diyarbakir Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation Chair Ergun Ayik said, “We wish we held this ceremony in our church. We miss the good old days.”
Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor Firat Anli, writer Migirdiç Margosyan, Bakirköy Municipal Council member Margirit Dikme, former mayor of Prince Islands Municipality Mustafa Farsakoglu, former mayor of Sur Municipality Baskani Abdullah Demirbas, HAYCAR administrators, architect Korhan Gümüs, Agos Editor-in-Chieg Yetvart Danzikyan and representatives of some foundations attended the award ceremony.
Though it was announced that Archbishop Aram Atesyan will attend the ceremony, he didn’t.
At the ceremony, Europe Nostra Turkey Representative Prof. Dr. Nuran Gülersoy gave an outline of the organizational structure and activities of Europa Nostra.
EU Delegation Deputy Head Andrea Schmidt pointed out the importance of restoring a church that is left without a congregation by the help of local support. Schmidt also said: “I feel sorry that we couldn’t be in Surp Giragos today. We feel sorry about the people who died there, as well as the danger that the cultural heritage is faced with.”
Schmidt stated that they also worry about the expropriation in Sur province.
Left to its own fate for years, Surp Giragos Church was finally restored by the great efforts of Armenian community and opened to worship in 2011. The restoration is granted with 2015 Europa Nostra, which is the most prestigious restoration award in Europe. There were 263 applicants and 28 projects won the prize in different categories. From Turkey, Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir was granted with the award.