Historic Virgin Mary Church reopens as library
The church, reopened on Jan. 15, attracting many attention on its first day by bookworms and students, who were in need of a working space for their lectures.
Erkan Küp, the director of libraries of the municipality, said that the library has nearly 50,000 books.
Some 25,000 of these books are published, while 22,000 are in digital form, he said. He also added that the library will have some 3,000 audio books as well.
An important aspect of the library benefits the students where they can use the computers for any research and print their documents free-of-charge, Küp conveyed.
Due dates for the books can also be extended online and e-books on the library’s database will be open to access from outside the library, he added.
The director also said that the library consists of three parts, one with computers, another one with silent working spaces and a third one with food and beverages - where visitors can chat, read books and grab a bite.
“Turning a church into a library is a first for Turkey. This shows that we are protecting history,” he said.
“This place has become a place for learning and was protected from decaying,” Küp added.
The field of the Virgin Mary (Surp Asdvadzadzin) Church had been known as the Emir Sultan neighborhood until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the church is located in the field, known as Kiçikapı and Cumhuriyet neighborhood, which is a central location.
Sources do not indicate the date of its construction, but it is stated that the church was built in the 1800s with the contributions of Hacı Garabed Zartaryan.
The church had functioned until World War I and then served as a depot, municipality and police station. It was assigned to the Youth and Sports Ministry in 1961.
Used as a sports center, the structure had been neglected and handed over to the Kayseri Municipality with a protocol in 2012 for 25 years. The church has an area of 915 square meters with three naves and basilica. There is a baptistery in the northeast part of the church.
Within the scope of the library project, the structure will remain in its original form. All unoriginal and additional materials in the church were removed from the structure.