Ani was once the thriving capital of medieval Armenia and was inhabited by 100-200 thousand people. Being an important trade hub, it was bustling with merchants, artisans, wanderers and nobles. It was also an important city for early Christians (called by some the ‘City of 1001 churches’) and apart from places of worship, its buildings and fortifications were among the most advanced structures of its time. It was a cultural and economic centre and a trading partner of the Byzantine and Persian Empires. Its lively streets were always crowded and its inns always booked out.
Now you won’t see any of this. It’s empty. Ruined, uninhabited, abandoned.
Its splendour and importance started to decay after the invasion of the Turks in the 11th, the Georgians in the 12th and the Mongols in the 13th century. The rise and fall of another empire, as history often goes.
Nowadays Ani lies on Turkish territory and has become a ‘tourist’ attraction with not many tourists in sight. It’s so remote and so far from the beaten path that it seems to be almost at the end of the world, which makes its desolation even hollower.
(Click to enlarge)
Our gallery was also published on Fans of Armenia on Facebook.
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