Cappadocia church restorations conclude

October 17, 2011, Monday/ 17:12:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES

This year’s round of extensive restoration of two of Cappadocia’s oldest rock-cut churches has concluded, following six months of conservation efforts carried out by a joint Turkish and Italian team of archaeologists.

In the Buckle Church, frescoes portraying the life of Christ are being carefully repainted by experts. At the second church, known as the Church of the 40 Martyrs, experts are repairing damaged portraits of the church’s namesake, the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste. According to Christian belief, the 40 were killed by the Romans during a wave of anti-Christian persecution in the fourth century.

According to the Nevşehir Museum Directorate, the churches date from the 10th century, when Cappadocia sheltered Christian communities seeking refuge from the turbulent political climate. The churches are part of a once vast complex of monasteries and churches that today makes up the Göreme Open-air Museum, one of Turkey’s largest tourist attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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