Turkey, Armenian culture museum

First Armenian museum inaugurated in Turkey

Vakıflı is a town dedicated to ecotourism located on the Mediterranean coast, famous for being the only one in Turkey where all its inhabitants are of Armenian origin and preserve their identity and culture.

Turkey’s first Armenian museum has been opened in Vakıflı, a small but touristic town inhabited by Armenians located in the Samandağ district of the Turkish province of Hatay, on the country’s Mediterranean coast. The museum is dedicated to both Armenian cultural heritage and other cultures, according to its creators.

In statements to the press, the president of the Foundation of the Armenian Orthodox Church of the Town of Vakıflı, Cem Çapar, explained that they had been working on the project to create a museum for a long time. “This museum has objects not only from the Armenian culture, but also from the culture of all the peoples living in Anatolia,” he said.

Çapar explained that the project had been completed thanks to the help given by his wife Lora Çapar, a journalist by profession, and that the museum -baptised as “Armenian Museum of the Mountain of Moses”- had been completed thanks to the ancient objects given by families of the town.

Dresses, historical objects and jewelery are now on display in the museum, as well as images from Armenian traditions and from other Anatolian peoples. “We were unable to perform the inauguration (before) due to the coronavirus outbreak. Since we have now entered the normalisation phase, we are now opening the museum for visitors. We will make our official inauguration in the coming days,” Çapar concluded.

The only town in Turkey where all its inhabitants are Armenians

Vakıflı currently has some 130 inhabitants of Armenian descent, although its population doubles in summer thanks to ecotourism and the return of many of its former residents, as it is estimated that some 500 emigrated in recent years to Istanbul to seek employment.

Located next to the Mountain of Moses (Musa Dağı, in Turkish), the town is located off the Mediterranean coast -just 10 km away- and is famous for being the only one in Turkey where all its inhabitants are of Armenian origin and try to preserve their identity and culture. Vakıflı has several hostels built in restored old stone houses, and a beautiful church that was restored in the 90s with the help of the Turkish government.