TBILISI, DFWatch–The rehabilitation of the Georgian Ishkhani Monastery on Turkish territory has been partly suspended.
The Ministry of Culture a few days ago asked for a halt in rehabilitation work at the 7th century monastery until Georgian specialists have had a chance to visit the country and get familiar with the ongoing restoration.
On Tuesday, Metropolitan Teodore appealed to the Turkish ambassador to Georgia with the same request after having been a trip to Turkey. He wrote in an open letter that during his trip he visited Georgian monasteries and churches.
“Unfortunately, we discovered Ishkhani Monastery to be in a very difficult condition. There is already started cleaning work, a lot of stones and earth has been removed,” he writes, underlining that this is taking place while there are no Georgian archeologists or art experts present.
Wednesday, the National Center of Manuscripts informed that the frescoes at Ishkhani are being thrown in the trash and archeological layers are destroyed.
Buba Kudava, Director of the Center of Manuscripts, posted photos from Iskhani expressing concern about the rehabilitation work at the monastery.
The Minister of Culture on Wednesday said that it would discuss the restoration at Ishkani with the corresponding Turkish ministry in Ankara on April 12. Meanwhile, the work has been suspended.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said the government will finance the sending of Georgian experts to Turkey, while Merab Bochoidze, head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Protection, said that Georgian specialists are ready to go to Turkey any time.
“But going to Turkey is not enough. It should have results,” he said.