Liberation Mosque

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Liberation Mosque
Kurtuluş Camii
Kurtuluş camii-Aziz Gregor Ermeni Kilisesi-Gaziantep - panoramio.jpg
Liberation Mosque in May 2009
AffiliationIslam, originally Christianity
LocationŞahinbey, Gaziantep Province, Turkey
Architect(s)Sarkis Balyan
Date established1986 (as mosque)

Liberation Mosque (Turkish: Kurtuluş Camii), formerly the St. Mary's Cathedral or Holy Mother of God Church (Armenian: Սուրբ Աստուածածին Եկեղեցի, romanizedSurp Asdvazdadzin Egeghetsʿi), is located in the Tepebaşı district of Şahinbey, Gaziantep in Turkey.[1][2] Initially built as an Armenian Apostolic church, it was converted into a stable after the Armenian genocide; and later, into a jail.[2] Sarkis Balyan—the Ottoman-Armenian architect serving Sultan Abdul Hamid II—designed the church. The building was constructed between 1892 and 1893, undertaken by the stonemason Sarkis Taşçıyan.[1][3] The church was part of a complex which also contained a school and the administrative buildings of the dioceses of the kaza of Antep.[4]

Holy Mother of God Armenian Church as depicted in a photograph in 1920.

In 1915, almost all of the Gaziantep Armenians were deported to Syrian desert during the genocide.[5] The church was sealed on 22 August 1915; and its sacramentals and furnishings were put in a large stable, then they were bought and sold at an auction.[1] For over three years the cathedral was used by government for military purposes.[1] Next, it was turned into a prison in the early 1920s; and served as this facility until 1970s.[1][6]

The building was converted into a mosque in 1986.[2] The top half of the bell tower was demolished, the remainder converted into a single-balcony minaret. The bell, which was cast in the 19th century in South America, was taken to Gaziantep Museum.[citation needed]

After renovation, the mosque reopened on 17 June 2017.[1]

During the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquakes, its dome and minarets collapsed.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Korucu, Serdar (24 June 2017). "Antep'te 'Kilise Olarak Yapılan Cami': Kurtuluş Camii" ['The Mosque Built as a Church' in Antep: Kurtuluş Mosque]. Biamag (in Turkish). Istanbul. Bianet. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Fisk, Robert (2016-10-15). "A beautiful mosque and the dark period of the Armenian genocide". The Independent. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  3. ^ Thomas A. Sinclair: Eastern Turkey. An Architectural and Archaeological Survey. volume 4. The Pindar Press, London 1990, p. 111
  4. ^ Osman Koker, "Armenians in Turkey 100 Years Ago", Istanbul 2005, p267.
  5. ^ Akçam, Taner (2012). The Young Turks' Crime Against Humanity the Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-1400841844.
  6. ^ Ungor, Ugur; Polatel, Mehmet (2011). Confiscation and Destruction: The Young Turk Seizure of Armenian Property. A&C Black. p. 82. ISBN 978-1441130556.
  7. ^ Boncuk, Mehmet. "Tarihi cami depremde hasar gördü". Sabah. Retrieved 8 February 2023.

Coordinates: 37°03′37″N 37°22′32″E / 37.06028°N 37.37556°E / 37.06028; 37.37556