Ani Turkey – History of Ani Ruins Kars Turkey
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Ani Turkey – History of Ani Ruins Kars Turkey

Hi everyone! We continue our blog series with a new one! In this post, we will focus on explaining Ani Turkey which will help you during your potential visit to Ani Ruins – Kars Turkey!

History of Ani Ruins Turkey

The ruins of Ani in eastern Turkey is 48 km from the city of Kars. Ani Ruins, stretching along the Arpaçay region, offer unforgettable moments to its visitors with its unique view and history. Ani Ruins close to Turkey’s border with Armenia has been the UNESCO list in 2016 with its rich cultural heritage.

Although the first information about Ani points to the 5th century, important findings belonging to the Bronze and Iron Age were obtained as a result of meticulous excavations in the region in 1892. At the same time, Ani hosted the Urartians whose capital was Van (Tuspa).

The reason why the city of Ani has been preferred as a settlement for many centuries is that the city is built on the hill overlooking the Arpaçayı side and the Alacasu valley to ensure security. The other reason was that the city of Ani met its water needs from Arpaçay. With its strategic location, the city of Ani has witnessed many wars and has been a habitat for many civilizations.

The city of Ani, established on an area of approximately 78 hectares, was the capital of the Armenian Parkaduni dynasty (885-1045) for many years. With the establishment of the city of Ani on the Silk Road, it ensured trade control between Byzantium, Syria, Iran, and Central Asia. Therefore, the welfare level of the city has increased rapidly and has added great importance to the city.

Surrounded by 4.5 km of walls, the city lived its brightest time in the period of Smpat II and his son Gagik, and the population exceeded 100,000. (977-1020). In 992, the city became the center of the Armenian patriarchate. It has become one of the holy lands inhabited by bishops, priests, and monks. During the excavations in the city of Ani, churches, chapels, and monumental tombs of the clergy were unearthed. For this reason, the city is also referred to as a “city of 1001 churches”.

Ani, which was occupied by Byzantine in 1045, was captured by the Seljuk sultan Alparslan in 1064. The city, which lost its importance with the change of trade route in the 14th century, taken under the control of the Ottoman Empire in 1579.
It is possible to see different architectural structures in the city of Ani, which has hosted so many religions, cultures, and nations in it.

The main ones are as follows;

  • Ebu’l Manuçehr Mosque; It attracts great attention with its feature of being the oldest mosque belonging to the Seljuk period in Anatolia (1072).
  • Tigran Honents Church; There are scenes from the life of Gregory – Krikor, one of his saints who brought Christianity to the Armenians, and the Jesus (1215).
  • Silk Road Bridge; The 6km long bridge is the first entrance of the silk road to Anatolia. The top of the bridge is for caravans, the bottom is for pedestrians and soldiers.
  • Great Cathedral (Fethiye Mosque); This building (1010), also known as the Virgin Mary Church and whose construction took about 60 years, was turned into a mosque by Sultan Alparslan and the first conquest pray was performed here. This cathedral is also one of the most striking works of the architect Tiritat, who restored the dome of Hagia Sophia.
  • Genç Kızlar Kilisesi (Virgin Monastery)
  • Abughamrents (Poladoğlu) Church
  • Selcuklu Caravanserai
  • Seljuk Palace
  • Büyük and Küçük Hammams
  • Bostanlar Deresi Caves
  • Ateşgede Temple
  • Ani Kaya Church

How to go Ani Ruins Kars Turkey?

Ani ruins is located 48 km away from Kars city of Turkey. And, it is one of the developing touristic destinations of Turkey. Interest in this place is increasing day by day. Transportation to this place is quite easy as explained below.

Flights: Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, and Sun Express airlines from Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir operate direct or indirect flights to Kars. From Kars, you may rent a car or take a taxi to Ani Ruins. 

Train: Unfortunately, there is no available train from Istanbul till the Kars, or Ani Ruins. The only option is from Ankara to Kars. In recent years, the most popular train journey (by locals or foreigners) is operated by Orient Express within Ankara – Kars – Ankara route.

This journey takes about 24 hours and passes through 7 different cities. It gives you a great opportunity of exploring different localities and taking dozens of photos! If you are interested in taking your place in Orient Express, we highly recommend you pre-booking your seats since the tickets of this route miss-out months ago! Here you can click to go to the official website of Orient Express!

Busses: It is possible to find a bus ticket almost from every city in Turkey to Kars. However, the journey can last too long from cities like Istanbul, Izmir, or Ankara. For this reason, the bus journey is not recommended to those who are not used to too long drives!

Final Thoughts

Although Ani Ruins is one of the most interesting destinations that you may explore in Turkey, it is not that popular amongst foreigners due to its location. However, if you have enough time during your Travel Plan to Turkey, Ani Ruins might be a good option for you.

To create your best Turkey Travel schedule, continue reading our contents and benefiting them!

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