Cathedral of Mren – Karabağ Köyü, Turkey - Atlas Obscura

Cathedral of Mren

Karabağ Köyü, Turkey

This ancient abandoned church in a remote part of Turkey is in danger of falling over. 


Sitting on the site of the medieval settlement of Mren, on what is now a remote spot near Turkey’s border with Armenia, the Cathedral of Mren is a slowly eroding chapel that has stood for over a thousand years.

Believed to have been built around the mid-600s, the Cathedral of Mren is a fascinating relic from an almost unbelievably old period. The blocky little building is built out of alternating black and red masonry bricks that make the historically significant church look almost as though it is comprised of Lego bricks. The interior of the chapel also has a number of surprisingly well-preserved devotional paintings and etchings.

As remarkable as it is that the ancient church still stands despite centuries of age and regional turmoil, the wonder of the site may be fading. Given the church’s age, the structure has begun to fail. Recently, the southern wall of the structure collapsed, leaving the rest of the building more unstable than ever.

The Cathedral of Mren is not open to the public and permission must be granted from the Turkish government to visit the site, so it is not in immediate danger from human interference. Yet if preservation efforts are not undertaken soon, the world may lose one of its more remarkable pieces of history.       

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