Following the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange in 1924, the Greek church was abandoned in Söke district of Aydın and since then, the church is abandoned to its fate and being destroyed by treasure hunters.
197 YEARS OLD CHURCH IS BEING DESTROYED
The 197-year-old church built by the Greek community in the region in 1821 and dedicated to the Saint Nicholas in the village of Güllübahçe (Gelebeç) which is in 18 km southwest of the town of Söke in Aydın, has been registered as a historical work, but it is still not protected. It is being destroyed by treasure hunters. It has also been used as a mosque and it is still used by homeless people and addicts. The historical monument, which is abandoned to its fate, is disappearing day by day.
According to the interview of the Ediz Verdioğlu from the Demirören News Agency with Mehmet Özçakır, the Chairman of the Association of Protection of the Ancient Monuments, is one of the two ancient churches of the city- and the other one is the one in Germencik Mursallı.
THE CHURCH MUST BE PROMOTED AS A STATION OF FAITH TOURISM
Özçakır also stated that the restoration work in the structure should be initiated and this would help to promote the faith tourism in the region.
AZIZ NICHOLAS CHURCH AND HISTORY
According to the information on the website of the Güllübahçe Culture Association, the Church of St. Nicholas was built in 1821 by the Greeks on behalf of St. Nicholas, who also known as Santa Claus.
The church was used by the Turks who came to exchange by the Turks after the departure of the Greeks in 1922.
İzmir 2ndCultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board has registered the church as a cultural asset to be protected with the decision no. 2690 dated 20.05.1992. In 1998, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism also registered the building and it has been recently used as a mosque; until it is destroyed by treasure hunters.