Midieval Armenian Ghost City of Ani

The Monastery of the Hripsimian Virgins, in the ruins of the city of Ani, Turkey, on April 19, 2011. The monastery is thought to have been built between 1000 and 1200 AD, near the height of Ani’s importance and strength. The Akhurian River below acts as the modern border between Turkey and Armenia. CC BY SA Georgios Giannopoulos

The Atlantic‘s “In Focus” section on January 24 showcased the ruined medieval city of Ani, situated on the Akhurian River in modern-day Turkey. Known as “the city of a thousand and one churches,” Ani was founded over 1,600 years ago. Below is a plan of the site as well as a few of the pictures from The Atlantic’s website.

The ruined church of the Holy Redeemer, seen on February 19, 2010. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

The ruin of the Church of Saint Gregory of Tigran Honents on the edge of the border with Armenia, in Ani, the now-uninhabited capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom in Kars at the Turkey-Armenia border. (AP Photo)

Church of St. Gregory Wikimedia Commons

As Alan Taylor, writes:

“Ani was situated on several trade routes, and grew to become a walled city of more than 100,000 residents by the 11th century. In the centuries that followed, Ani and the surrounding region were conquered hundreds of times — Byzantine emperors, Ottoman Turks, Armenians, nomadic Kurds, Georgians, and Russians claimed and reclaimed the area, repeatedly attacking and chasing out residents. By the 1300s, Ani was in steep decline, and it was completely abandoned by the 1700s. Rediscovered and romanticized in the 19th century, the city had a brief moment of fame, only to be closed off by World War I and the later events of the Armenian Genocide that left the region an empty, militarized no-man’s land. The ruins crumbled at the hands of many: looters, vandals, Turks who tried to eliminate Armenian history from the area, clumsy archaeological digs, well-intentioned people who made poor attempts at restoration, and Mother Nature herself. Restrictions on travel to Ani have eased in the past decade.”

The Ani Cathedral, in the Turkey-Armenia border province of Kars, Turkey. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Damaged frescoes of the church of St Gregory of Tigran Honents, at the historical site of Ani in Kars province, on February 19, 2010. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Inscription on an exterior wall of the cathedral. Original here CC BY SA Scott Dexter

A gorge below Ani, showing numerous caves dug into cliffs, as well as fortifications. A modern border fence can be seen at bottom center, Armenia is on the left, Turkey, on the right, photographed on June 8, 2011. Original here CC BY SA Adam Jones

Panoramic View of the city walls of Ani Wikipedia Commons


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