Ani

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Ani is situated in Shirak – on the right shore of Akhurian river. According to the ruins of cyclopean buildings, people were living in these area since time immemorial. The hill on which the citadel was later built, during the reign of Kamsarakans (4th century), was surrounded by a wall. The main city fortress was also built here. After the Arab invasion (773-76), Kamsarakans left the city and headed towards Byzantium, and Bagratunis became the owners of this lands. In 961 Ashot Voghormats had become the king and decided to move the royal residence to Ani. 

2-3 years later, after declaring Ani as capital, the king initiated the building of the city wall. It supposed that during his reign the first water supply system was carried out in the city and Kamsarakan’s palace was reconstructed. Ani was fenced with a wall within short period. The next king – Smbat the Second build new, more advanced walls around the city - with a length of 2.5 km and a height of 8-10 meters. From the external side of the walls deep ditches were dug - with length of 500 meters and a depth of 10-12 meters. They were filled with water and were using not only for protection, but also for agricultural purposes. The security complex of Ani also included citadel, fortress Ahchkaberd, city walls, and suburban fortress. On the walls of Ani was 80-90 checkpoints with guards and barracks. On the Coat of Arms of Ani was depicted running panter. All the city bridges were also were conscientiously protected.

Besides all this, there was the so-called underground Ani, which had a strategic military purposes. The underground halls and caches, tunnels and special premises were serving as shelters and labyrinths.

The city was very densely populated: houses were often half-duplex, consisting of 3-6 rooms and adjacent premises. The width of the main street was 4-5 meters – with stone benches on the sidewalks. For a medieval times Ani had quite complex water supply system with clay and iron pipes, which provided water also for 6 city baths.

Ani considered as a city of churches. According to the stories, there was thousand churches in the city, and the masterpiece was the Cathedral, built during Trdat.

Ani was one of the main connecting points of international trade. There were 10-15 hotels for foreign travelers. The city was also famous for the numerous types of crafts, including glass production. There also were few markets. During the archaeological excavations two rows of stone shops had been found.

There were also libraries in Ani – at the royal chamber, at high school, at Catholicosate, and at the monastery. Also there was separate building for theatre. According to the historians, the population was  more than 100 thousand people. After the fall of the dynasty of Bagratuni, Ani starts slowly degradate. In the 16th century Ani was mentioned as a village. Today Ani is considered as one of the “sights” of Turkey.



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