Sunday, October 5, 2008

1-2 October – Ancient city of Ani, Turkey

We crossed some high mountains and difficult mud tracks in order to get up to northeastern Turkey. There are roadblocks and military posts everywhere due to the past civil war between the Kurdish guerilla and the Turkish army.

Ani has been inhabited for maybe 5000 years. In the 10th century AD it became the capital of Armenia with perhaps as many as 100,000 inhabitant. Almost 400 years later, it was heavily damaged by an earthquake, and the Mongols who ruled over Ani at that time did not care to rebuild the city. The buildings have been crumbling ever since, for several hundreds of years. The setting of Ani is spectacular. It is surrounded by a deep river ravine. On the other side of the ravine is present-day Armenia, its military watch towers looming everywhere. This used to be the border to the Soviet Union.

We enjoyed a sunny afternoon in Ani. It has its own magical air.

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