Artvin awaits tourism surge after restoration of church
ARTVİN - Anadolu Agency
Archaeology excavations have been ongoing around the church and the chapel for about a year. AA photosThe restoration of the historic İşhan Church, which is located in İşhan village of Yusufeli district in the Black Sea province, is set to be finished by the end of this year.
Artvin Governor Kemal Cirit said the restoration of the church, which has been registered as a protected cultural object by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, went out to tender for 817,945 Turkish Liras and renovation started last September.
İşhan Church, which is 34 kilometers away from the city center and draws tourists visiting the region, is believed to make contribution to faith tourism in the region.
“The church, which dates back 700 years ago, has undergone restoration in the past and survived up until today. The first stage of restoration has gone on for a year and will be completed next month. The second and third stage should begin in the church. We will have talks with the relevant ministry soon. Artvin might become an alternative tourism center. When the restoration is done, we estimate that many faith tourists will come here from close places like Russia, Georgia and Armenia,” the governor said.
Archaeology and and tourism to unite
Cirit said archaeology excavations have been continuing around the church and the chapel for about a year and continued: “Most part of the restoration works have been completed. All additional parts were removed during the restoration. The inside and outside of the chapel were renovated. The outer façade from the early period in the northern part of the church was also restored. Also, water damage to the structure was prevented. Approximately 75 percent of the restoration efforts have been finished.”
According to Cirit, the İşhan Church is one of the most important culture and faith tourism centers in Artvin.
“The church was already a destination that received many tourists in its current situation. When opened to visits after the restoration, it will raise awareness among tour operators and tourists. This will cause an increase in the number of tourists in the region. Also, economic opportunities such as souvenirs, food and accommodation centers will be created in the İşhan village as a result of this tourist mobility.”