Armenian Apostolic church was founded by two Apostle’s St. Bartholomew and St. Thaddeus, who where martyred during their mission in the southern regions of historical Armenia in the first century A. D. The St. Thaddeus's shrine is currently on the Iranian territory and the Armenian monastery St. Thaddeus built over it is currently a popular pilgrimage place for Christians and Moslems. The government of Iran gives importance to the preservation of country’s Christian heritage and the Armenian Monastic ensembles is added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The monastery of St. Bartholomew (now in the South-East of Turkey) was built in the 4th century at the site of the martyrdom of the Apostle Bartholomew. The burial site of the Apostle Bartholomew was inside of the Cathedral, which was the important pilgrimage place for Armenians before the genocide.
The monastery St. Bartholomew partly was destroyed by the Turkish army using explosives in the 1960s under the Turkish state-sponsored policy of cultural genocide of Armenian monuments. The main Cathedral currently is in ruins and it is turned into a military installation near the Turkish town Albayrak. It is also strictly prohibited to take photos of the monastery and come close to the standing ruins of the Armenian temple because of the regime of high security around the site.
Turkish armed forces still practices using the ruins or preserved constructions of the Armenian churches and temples as a military installations and stores.
• Van, region of Aghbak, St. Bartholomew the Apostle Monastery, 1913
• Van, region of Aghbak, St. Bartholomew the Apostle Monastery, nowadays