Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Deserted City of Ani

Church of The Redeemer (source)

Ani (Armenian: Անի)] is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey.

The landscape today. The Church of The Redeemer is the white building at the right side. The Cathedral of Ani is the building at the left side of the photo (source)

Called the 'City of 1001 Churches', Ani stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world. Between 100.000 and 200.000 people lived here at its prime, rivaling in importance with cities like Bagdad, Cairo or Constantinople. 

The remains of the huge Cathedral of Ani (two tourists are resting at the right side) (source)

Since it is located in the border region between The Ottoman Empire (Turkey), Persia (Iran) and Russia it suffered heavily from wars (and also from various earthquakes). The city was entirely abandoned by the middle of the 18th century. Today only a few buildings still (albeit just partly) stand.

city walls: the Kars gate (source)

birds eye view (source)

next episode: a tip


  1. Incredible that such a large city is now completely deserted. Must be an archaeologist's goldmine.

  2. It must have been an amazing place in its time. The view on the second picture is stunning.

  3. It's quite sad really those such wonderful buildings now deserted.

  4. I'd like to see a painting of Ani when the city was in its prime. It was probably a beautiful place. I visited the Wikipedia link and learned in 2010 Ani was identified "as one of twelve worldwide sites most on the verge of irreparable loss and destruction, citing insufficient management and looting as primary causes." I hope what's left of Ani can be preserved for future generations.

  5. "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
    -- Percy Bysshe Shelley

  6. Rob, I seem to always learn something when I visit your site. Ani has a very interesting history that I have now explored a little bit more. I would love to have seen it in its hey day as a trade center. The landscape is stunningly beautiful.

    1. Thank you Mary, I'm glad you're still online :-)

  7. Such a strange landscape. I looked up one of your links and found I'd traveled through this area
    in the 1970's, although I never saw Ani. I did get to cross Lake Van though, which was interesting.

  8. just to mention the policy constantly and convincingly pursued by the Turkish governments to erase any traces of the Armenian past. They did it with population, so they were not scrupulous with art!


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