December 16, 2019 - 11:02 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A campsite for travelers will be established near the Armenian Monastery of Saint Thaddeus in Iran in order "to bring comfort" to the visitors of the UNESCO-registered place of worship, Tehran Times reports.
“The scheme is aimed at providing recreational and amusement facilities to domestic and foreign tourists visiting the World Heritage,” Chaldoran Governor Hassan Mohammadzadeh said, adding that construction operations will be commenced early next [Iranian calendar] year (starting March 20, 2020), ISNA reported on Sunday.
He noted that 10 billion rials (about $240,000) will be invested in the project.
Each summer, hundreds of Christian worshippers and pilgrims from Iran, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Germany, Canada, and some other countries come together at St. Thaddeus to observe a religious ceremony, which is passed down from generation to generation.
The holiday is of high importance for Iranian-Armenians who mostly come from the cities of Tabriz, Urmia, Tehran, Isfahan, and Qazvin, to stage the reunion in groups and families. It also provides them the opportunity to go on holiday and visit distant relatives.
Also known as the Qareh Klise (“the Black Church”), the church is one of the oldest surviving Christian monuments in the country. It is situated in West Azarbaijan province, some 20 kilometers form Maku, adjacent to the borders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.
The ancient Church shows off elaborate bas-reliefs of flowers, animals and human figures on its façade and exterior walls. It bears verses of Old and New Testament in Armenian calligraphy as well.
Together with St. Stepanos Monastery and the Chapel of Dzordzor, Qareh Klise was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2008 under the name “Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran”.
UNESCO says that the churches bear examples of the outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions.