St. Giragos Armenian Church

St. Giragos Armenian Church

by admin, 7 September 2015
It is located in Ozdemir street in Balikcilarbasi, close to Sheikh Matar Mosque. According to Deed Records, it’s a church used by Orthodox Armenians. The construction date of the church is not clearly known. The name of the church is first seen in between 1610-1615 in Seyahatname of Polish Simeon. Surp Giragos Church, being one of the most important works of Armenian architecture history, is the biggest Armenian church in the Middleeast.
It was restored by Armenian Patriarch Bedros Vartabes in 1722, later enlarged and built by Armenian architects, Sahin, Saruhan, and Yarem in 1729. Though it was fully ruined in the big fire in 10 June 1881, it was rebuilt in 1883. These historical informations have come up to today by 9 stone tablets located on the church’s walls. After being used for different purposes as military depot until 1960, the church was taken over by Diyarbakir Armenian Congregation. By partially reparing, the church has reached its main purpose.
The church, having a glorious look, lies in east-west directions. Entrance to the church is from west. The church is formed of nartecks, naos, women’s loge, apsit, belfry, which is not valid today, and outbuilding. When the first onion headed belfry was destructed by a lightning, a new one that is more glorious than the old one with 29 meters height was built by an Armenian stone expert. Belfry built by famous Zilciyan, was set on this new tower. On the top, 3 meters 24 carat golden cross was set, and was destructed in 1914.
The church, was ruined in 1915, was used as base by German officers during World War 1. After the war, it was used as cloth depot. Today, the soil roof is ruined. Five of the columns, arches, and apsis could survive. After the restoration by Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality , the church had opened to praying since the end of 2011.