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Old Churches and Monasteries, Baghdad

The Armenian Orthodox Church One of the oldest churches in Baghdad, known as Church of Meskenta and as the Church of the Virgin Mary, located in Midan Square off Al-Rashid Street.

It was first built in 1640 AD by the Armenians on a piece of land granted to them by the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV. Then it changed hands to the Nestorian Christians before it eventually went back to the Orthodox Armenians possession.
Every year, on August 15 special rituals are held in this church for the Assumption of Virgin Mary to heaven. The church is visited all year round by Baghdadis from various sects to present their offerings and gifts. It is also known to people as the Church of Meskenta after the name of a woman died a martyr in the 5th century. Certain traditions related to local folklore are practiced there such as the Iron chain which some people put round their neck, where if it unlock automatically, prayer acceptance and wishes come true. This church was reconstructed in 1967 and maintenance works and extensions have continued in last few years.

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