The Ani archaeological site is commonly famous as the city of 40 doors and 1,001 churches. Ani Ruins takes place in Kars city, on Turkey’s eastern border, and it never fails to amaze its visitors.
This time of year is the best period to visit the ruins of the medieval city. Thanks to a powdery blanket of snow, there are magical sights are waiting for you to amaze. Because you must be sure that the beauty of the landmark will amaze you!
A Visit from EU Delegation to Ani Archaeological Site in Kars
A team of a European Union delegation to Turkey realized a visit to the ancient site a couple of days ago. This trip was a part of a trip on the nostalgic Eastern Express train ride. The head of this delegation was Christian Berger. And moreover, the team included the EU ambassadors to Ankara from Lithuania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Latvia, Romania, Portugal, Belgium, Malta, the Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, Ireland and Greece.
Despite the eyelash-freezing weather, the ambassadors and their spouses toured the ancient city near the Arpaçay district of Kars. They undoubtedly admired the 11th- and 12th-century Islamic architecture. So that the monuments have managed to survive until today. Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA), Berger indicated that he was incredibly happy to have visited the site.
“It was a great pleasure to witness ancient history (with my own eyes) under the bright sun and blue skies. The city may have got lost in history, but now it has become a very important touristic attraction. “Reiterating that the ruins were one of the many places that showed Turkey is not just coasts and beaches,”. Berger also added that: “We have seen that you can not only ski here in the winter but also visit many touristic places.”
The Fascinating Beauty of Amazing Ani
Berger’s wife, Marliena Georgiadou-Berger, showed off her knowledge of the Turkish language. She described her experience by saying that Ani fascinated her! She also added that the ruins of Ani are one of the most beautiful and charming places she has ever visited. Especially during this time of year! The period when a blanket of snow covers the archaeological ruins. Moreover, visiting the Ani ruins was something else, a different pleasure,” she continued in English.
Meanwhile, Latvian ambassador Peteris Elferts said the site really piqued his interest. Because it showed how different cultures coexisted in Turkey. “This place is truly fabulous and amazing. I’ll tell people back home to visit. People should definitely visit not just the city but also to see all the civilizations that shared this land. I’ll show them that Turkey is so much more than just beautiful sandy beaches and coasts. The natural beauties and cultural values of Turkey should be seen. I recommend it to everyone ” he said.
The Growing Popularity of the Ancient Site
Surely, the city is a cradle of civilizations. It has seen the rise and fall of 23 dynasties throughout the centuries. However, the site has been growing in popularity with local as well as foreign tourists. Especially after it took place in UNESCO‘s World Heritage List in 2016.
The History of Ani Archaeological Site
Ani’s history dates back to 5000 B.C. to the Chalcolithic period. The city was an important passage point throughout history. It was also the first entrance gate to Anatolia from the Caucasus. And Armenian rulers in the Bagratuni dynasty once used the city as capital between 961 and 1045 B.C.
As one of the main attractions in the town, the Grand Ani Cathedral stands out as a large rust-coloured structure. It contains sculpt columns, arches and gates. The prominent Armenian architect Trdat built it in the 11th century. The medieval monument is considered to be the largest standing building in Ani. Moreover, the city was also the first place for Friday prayers. So, prayers of conquest performed in Anatolia after Seljuk Sultan Alparslan conquered the area in 1064.
Where is Historical Ani Ruins?
Ruins are situated at 46 km east of Kars. The ruins and the archaeological site takes place just next to the Armenian border. There is only one train station there. The closest train station to there is the Kars train station.
How to Go to Ani?
There’s no regular public transport service to there from Kars. The options are to rent a car. Or, you can agree with a minibus together with other travellers or talk with a tour company at Kars. It’s 46 km away and will take about 1 hour. You can see the location of the ruins by clicking here.
Helpful Informations Before Setting Off to Ani Ruins
- There’s a shuttle service departing from Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Pasa Palace at the city centre. It departures every day at 09:00 and 13:00. And it returns back 1.5 hours after arrival to Ani.
- Rent a car is the most common and alternative way to go to Ani ruins. It may be even cheaper than going there by taxi.
- Celil Ersozoglu is a freelance tour guide and he is quite famous in the region.
- You can click the link below to see many beautiful photos and informations (in Turkish) about Ani ruins: aniharabeleri.org.