Historical town of Kemaliye and the Medieval churches and monasteries of Midyat and Tur Abdin plateau added to UNESCO Tentative List

Monastery of Mor Gabriel
Monastery of Mor Gabriel

Two more historical assets from the area of Turkey have been submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in April 2021. The first one is the town of Kemaliye in Eastern Anatolia and the second one is the city of Midyat and its numerous Medieval churches and monasteries.

Kemaliye, formerly known as E─čin from Armenian Akn meaning "spring", is a town in Erzincan Province in the Eastern Anatolia. Agn was founded in 1021 by King Senekerim-Hovhannes Artsruni of Vaspurakan with thousands of Armenian colonists from the Lake Van region. The town is picturesquely located as it is surrounded by mountains while the Karasu tributary of the Euphrates flows just to the east of Kemaliye. The justification of Kemaliye's value is in its unique architecture as recorded by UNESCO: "The intricate urban texture of Kemaliye creates a cultural and natural landscape that forms a whole. The nature-space-human relationship here has created a unique texture of settlement".

Midyat is situated at the heart of Tur Abdin region, meaning "the Mountain of the servants of God" in Syriac, a limestone plateau in south-eastern Anatolia. The area is bounded by the River Tigris in the north and east, the Mesopotamian plain in the south, and the modern city of Mardin in the west. In the 6th century Tur Abdin became a holy region for the Syriac Orthodox who had to live a life in exile due to the theological disputes resulting from the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The following historical churches and monasteries have been registered to the list: the Church of Mor Sobo, Yoldath Aloho, the Monastery of Deyrul Zafaran, the Monastery of Mor Gabriel, the Monastery of Mor Abai, the Monastry of Mor Loozor, the Monastery of Mor Yakup, the Church of Mor Quryaqos, and the Church of Mor 'Azozo'el at Kfarze.

With these two new additions, 85 cultural assets from Turkey have made it to the tentative list while 18 sites are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.