World’s first cave church restored and open for visitors
HATAY – Anadolu AgencyThe St. Pierre Church, considered a pilgrimage place for Christians and believed to be the world’s first cave church by some sources, has been restored and expects to host 500,000 visitors annually.
Located in the skirts of the Mont Habib Neccar in the eastern province of Hatay, the church was a meeting point for the believers of Jesus in the 1930s. The restoration of the church began two years ago and now it has a brand new façade.
The rocks in the cave have been fixed in place with wire netting to lower the risk to visitors and the church was restored to make it true to its original appearance.
The mosaics in the church have come to the surface during the restoration. Also, all details from lounges to car parking and a cafe have been organized for visitors.
According to information provided by the Antalya Archaeology Museum, the church was visited by 3,870 people in the first 20 days after the restoration.
Before the restoration, 200-250,000 tourists were visiting the church annually.
The church is very important for Christians and they organize rites in the church every year on June 29. It is attended by officials from the Vatican as well as Christians from around the world.