'Hopes fulfilled'

Restoration of 101-year-old Armenian church in Zakho complete

ZAKHO – The restoration of the Armenian St. Mary Church in Zakho has been completed, marking the end of a long-awaited project for the local Armenian community.

The inauguration ceremony took place on Friday, attended by the Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs, the administrator of Zakho, various religious figures, and Armenian bishops.

Zakho is a district in Duhok governorate, near the Iraq-Turkey border. In 1915, a number of Armenians fleeing genocide and Ottoman persecution settled in various Kurdish areas, with a significant number in Zakho.

Approximately 150 Armenian families, totaling over 1,000 individuals, now reside in Zakho. The city has the largest Armenian population in Iraq.

The Kurdistan Region hosts five Armenian churches: four in Duhok and Zakho, and one in Erbil.

St. Mary Church, initially built in 1923 by Armenians, occupies a 1,300-square-meter area in the Kesta neighborhood of Zakho, where many Armenians live. It has now been restored.

Shivan Abdi, head of Zakho’s press office, told 964Media, “We cannot say it is merely restored or reconstructed, as the structure has not been fully destroyed. Nonetheless, it went through significant modifications, from expansion to modern design changes.”

The church has been modernized, and the project, funded by the Hungarian Health organization, took three years to complete.

Pishtiwan Sadiq, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs, told 964Media, “As the Kurdistan Regional Government, we are ready to serve all religions without discrimination.”

David Hunan, a notable Armenian figure in Zakho, told 964Media, “Our hopes have been fulfilled. I cannot express how happy I am, as we have been waiting for three years.”

Duhok villagers safeguard Armenian heritage dating back more than a century

Duhok villagers safeguard Armenian heritage dating back more than a century