The first view of Ani, after entering its gates, is stunning: wrecks of great stone buildings adrift on a sea of undulating grass, landmarks in a ghost city that was once home to nearly people, rivaling Constantinople in power and glory.
Ani was a major city on the Silk Road from when it was founded in , and it was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey. It was a significant city until the great earthquake of toppled it. At that time the Mongols, no lovers of city life, ruled and the city was left in ruins, from which it has slowly decayed until today. What is left is an amazing site on the Armenia-Turkey border, where one is free to roam over about several square kilometre of ruins. Initially explored by Russian archaeologists around with more recent work done by Turkish experts.
We took the day off cycling and took a pleasant taxi ride to the site set on the river at the Armenian-Turkey border. We spent hours roaming around the site and having lunch in the remains of a 10th century church. Describing Ani is well beyond my linguistic abilities… so I offer some pictures to give you a flavour.