NEVSEHIR, 28 April (BelTA - Anadolu Agensy). - A centuries-old Orthodox church in the heart of Türkiye was reopened to visitors Thursday following a meticulous restoration and conservation effort undertaken by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Built in 1849, the Virgin Mary Church in Nevsehir province was used as a place of worship for Orthodox Greeks until 1924 and as a prison between 1950-1983. The historical building was brought into tourism after being idle for about 40 years.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the church, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Nadir Alpaslan said the damage the historical building suffered over the years has been repaired thanks to the work carried out.
Noting that serious steps are being taken to protect historical and cultural assets throughout the country, Alpaslan said: “As the ministry, we are working to provide services to future generations by approaching our cultural assets with great sensitivity and protecting them like our eyes and souls wherever they are in Türkiye.”
Highlighting the importance of Cappadocia as a popular place in terms of culture and tourism, he said: “Türkiye has big goals in tourism. We are taking firm steps towards becoming one of the most ambitious countries in the world in tourism by increasing our tourism income to the level of $100 billion by 2028.”
For her part, Nevsehir Governor Inci Sezer Becel said the region has a rich tourism potential thanks to the historical buildings inherited.
Nevsehir Mayor Mehmet Savran said they were happy to bring the historic structure to the region's tourism after the work started about three years ago.
“The Virgin Mary Church was opened for worship during the Ottoman period and was used as a prison from 1950 to 1983. Therefore, it was a seriously damaged structure,” Savran said.
“Our Ministry of Culture and Tourism brought this building to our city as a beautiful work after a very meticulous restoration process,” he added.
Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the central province of Nevsehir, became a popular destination worldwide in recent years thanks to its distinctive volcanic cones known as fairy chimneys, atmospheric underground cities, hot air balloon trips, houses carved into rocks, and churches, chapels and shelters used in the early years of the Christian faith.