The tiny village of VAKIFLİ, with its apparently unremarkable mix of dilapidated mudbrick and timber houses and modern concrete villas, is in fact unique. For this is Turkey’s sole surviving Armenian village, set amidst orange groves on the lush lower slopes of Musa Dağı. During the Turkish deportations and massacres of the Armenians in 1915 the inhabitants of Vakıflı held out against the Turkish forces until they were evacuated to Port Said by French and British warships. Most of the villagers returned in 1919 when the Hatay became part of French-mandated Syria. When the Hatay joined the Turkish Republic in 1939, most of the area’s Armenians, bar the inhabitants of Vakıflı, decided to leave. At the heart of the village is the restored and extended Surp Asdvadzadzin Kilisesi, to which the village muhtar(headman) has the key, though the church is not always locked.

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