Northeastern Anatolia. Van Lake. Akdamar Island is the home to a tenth century Armenian church, known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross (915-921), was the seat of an Armenian Catholicos from 1116 to 1895. Armenian King Gagik I Artsruni (908-944) chose Agt'hamar (the Armenian name of the island) as one of his residences. The only surviving structure is the Palatine Cathedral of the Holy Cross built by the architect-monk Manuel.
The unique importance of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross comes from the extensive array of bas-relief carving of mostly biblical scenes that adorn its external walls. The meanings of these reliefs have been the subject of much and varied interpretation.