Antakya (Antioch), located in the southern region of Turkey, is one of the oldest settlements in the country. Its history dates back to the prehistoric times. It has been through countless invasions throughout its history. It has been dominated by various civilizations and has been the center of many religions. The city, which was founded by Alexander the Great in the Roman period, has many routes to nearly all directions as a result of its geographical location. Due to its context, this makes the city the point of convergence of cultures. After the Roman period, Byzantine and Arab-dominated city (AC 395 — AC 963), were exposed to constant war between the Christian and Muslim communities for the domination right to the city. Today in Antakya, although the majority of the population is Muslim and Christian, the Sunni Arabs, Sunni Turks, Shia Arabs, Assyrians, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Protestant Arabs, Arabs, Armenians, Jewish people and other minority groups all live together in harmony, thus forming the dynamics of multicultural city structure. The name “Christian” was first coined in this historic city. Antakya also hosts the Church of Saint Peter, which is believed to be one of the earliest Christian houses of worship, making it extremely valuable for Christianism. Indigenous inhabitants of Antakya have lived in the same land since the foundation of Christianity. Today, 90 percent of the Christians are Orthodox, 10 percent are Protestants and other believers, where the population of Christians are decreasing. Bearing in mind the aforementioned history and context, a research was conducted on the Orthodox Church, Antakya Protestant Church and Vakıflı Armenian Church which all still exist to this day in the city. Purpose of the research is to evaluate the structure of the churches in regards to the following parameters;
- The responses of the churches to the indigenous inhabitants
- Cultural shifts in the ever-changing sociocultural values of the society
- The city image they present.
The reason behind choosing these three structures for the study is the fact that all three structures boast Christian symbolism and imagery.
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