Syriac monastery to be included in Faith Park

assyrian-monastery-to-be-included-in-faith-park-2011-02-23_l1.jpgThe thousands-of-years-old Syriac Mor Yakup Monastery complex in Mardin’s Nusaybin district is being restored. The historic monastery and a nearby tomb of a 13th-generation grandchild of the Prophet Mohammed will be united and opened to tourism as a Culture and Faith Park Complex. Mardin Gov. Hasan Duruer says the project will emphasize the beauty of living together

Mor Yakup Monastery in Nusaybin.

The restoration of churches and monasteries in Anatolia has not lost speed over the last few years, and the next relic slated to undergo reconstruction work is the Mor Yakup Monastery complex in the southeastern province of Mardin.

After the restoration of the historic Armenian Surp Haç Church on Akdamar Island in the eastern province of Van, works in Mardin’s Nusaybin district have gained speed. The Mor Yakup complex, which dates back to the year 326 and belongs to a Syriac community foundation, will be united with the 12th-century Zeynel Abidin complex and open to tourism as a “Culture and Faith Park” in the coming months.

“We hope to contribute to the economy by reviving faith and culture tourism in Nusaybin,” Mardin Gov. Hasan Duruer told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. He said their aim was to strengthen the dialogue between cultures. “Polarization between cultures and faiths increases in our daily lives. This project to build a culture and faith park aims to emphasize the beauty of brotherhood and living next to one another.”

The thousands-of-years-old church has recently come up due to the increasing number of attacks on it.

Common excavation with Syria

The restorations and excavations for the Faith Park project started in 2000. Duruer said during the restoration, 15 statues on calcareous ground, a mosaic panel, chamber ruins and 225 graves were found in the northern limestone grounds of the church as well as the ruins of a school that belongs to the monastery complex.

He said right after the opening of the park, archaeological excavations will begin to unearth the ancient city of Nisibis. “A part of the ancient city is within the borders of Syria and so we intend to pursue the work together with Syria,” he said.

Mor Evgin Monastery will also be restored

The governor said the monastery complex was abandoned prior to the restoration. “A place for a metropolitan bishop, which was constructed in 1872, was used as a house by a Muslim family. The part of the monastery that was underground was forested; that’s why no obvious trace of the monastery was visible.”

The governor also said the Zeynel Abidin complex includes the tomb of the 13th-generation granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed. “The complex includes Zeynel Abidin’s sister Sitti Zeynep’s tomb as well. The student rooms that can be found right next to the tomb serve as Koran course classrooms today.”

In previous years, due to senseless reconstruction plans, seven buildings were constructed in the area between the Mor Yakup Church and the Zeynel Abdin complex, according to Duruer. He said after approving the project, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry had those buildings emptied and demolished.

Duruer said the works in Nusaybin would not be limited to the Mor Yakup Church and the Zeynel Abidin complex. The restoration of the fourth-century Mor Evgin Monastery, which still lies within the borders of Nusaybin, will also start in the near future. “Nusaybin will have an important tourism potential once these historic renovations are done