Ani Ruins

Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city in the Kars province, founded at the beginning of the 9th century AD, near the border with Armenia. It was the capital of the medieval Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia until the 11th century Byzantine conquest, covering today much of Armenia and Eastern Turkey. Natural disasters and invasions by the Mongols and then the Tamerlane destroyed much of Ani, resulting in an appearance of a haunting medieval town surrounded by the remains of its imposing walls. The city was abandoned and largely forgotten for centuries, but still it reminds us of its past glory and dignity with its reddish brown-colored buildings and impressive fortified walls still encircling the ruins of several churches, mosques, and caravanserais.

Ani is primarily known for its magnificent monuments based on Armenian architecture. Called the ‘City of 1001 Churches,’ it houses several churches, cathedrals, palaces, and fortifications, which were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world. The surviving churches and the remnants of the city walls attest to the high quality of Armenian stonework during the Middle Ages. The medieval ruins are spread over a large area and display excellent examples of Armenian civilizations.

If you wish to see Armenian history, incorporating Ani into your Eastern Turkey tour is definitely recommended. Kars is the right place to start your excursion to Ani, approx. 45 km away.