Lost City, once the former capital of the great Armenian state, and now stands in the desolate desert, sand and gradually recorded on a piece of plundered antiquities hunters – is Ani. The ruins of an ancient settlement located on the banks of the river Akhuryan (bearing another name Arpaçay) and today belong to Turkey. But once it was a western suburb of Armenian possessions. This amazing place is not included in the program of the standard tour of Armenia , and also enjoy a trip here is not easy.
A small fortress, which bears the name of Ani, was known to travelers in the V century, but until then, some special attention to her attractive. The reasons for its rise is not quite clear, though, that the settlement was originally located at a distance from the major trade routes, its wealth and power soon made famous by Ani on throughout the Middle East, so it began to come here and large caravans even more wealth multiplying population. In those days, in the period of the tenth to the eleventh century, the Armenian kingdom was larger than the modern state, which owned and eastern Turkish lands. There were erected unique in its splendor and architectural decoration of the building, and he was focused Christian culture in Armenia – Ani no wonder they called city of a thousand and one churches. With its location, village towered over the valley, protected gorge on the one hand, it was easy to defend against attacks of enemy armies. In addition to religious buildings, Ani was famous for its palaces and city walls, which, by the standards of that time, were made exclusively masterfully. After the capital was moved here, the city was surrounded by new protective structures (which consisted of two stone shafts) and engaged in its future buildings. He quickly grows not only with new architectural buildings, but also the population.
Since Anna was the only major population center in this region, the capital city has quickly become not only an economic but also a cultural center of the region. Within a few decades the skill of local artists and craftsmen has reached an unprecedented level. It sought to numerous merchants to offer their goods to wealthy citizens and restock with new curiosities. And some of the caravans were doing a long way to be in the local hospitable walls.
In its heyday, which took place in the reign of Gagik I, and it was in the late tenth and early eleventh century lived in the city for at least a hundred thousand people (and some historians mention and such an impressive figure of a million). At that moment, he could compete in size, cultural richness and picturesque architecture from Baghdad, Damascus and Constantinople, not to mention some European cities. decline period began quietly. First, one of the heirs of Gagik brought its actions under the reign of the Byzantine city, fearing attack by the Empire. Beyond that Ani was the object of desire of the Seljuks that plagued the city constant attack. Several times to the attack ended with the invaders successfully, and the enemy troops, to invade the capital, mercilessly massacred civilians, looted and destroyed. In any case, the development of the city it is manifestly adverse effects. Ani Armenians fled the city, but some still remained in native walls, in spite of all the troubles. In the power of the Turks, the suffering, is going through periods of relatively peaceful coexistence, Ani lasted until 1199, until Princess Tamara, sovereign of Georgia, did not send its troops here for the expulsion of the Seljuk. After the successful capture of the city of Ani was transferred to the Armenian military leaders who became the founders of Zakarian dynasty. And about thirty years the city lived in peace and prosperity, acquiring new buildings and restoring their former beauty and pride. Until it was captured by the Mongol armies. On Zakarian trouble at this point in the city were absent and when they returned, it turned out that they continue to rule the town, but not under Georgian and under Mongol protectorate. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the city was severely destroyed by the earthquake. Life is still warm there, but residents gradually abandoned once proud and beautiful Ani, and in the eighteenth century it was completely empty.
In the early nineteenth century, the ruins of Ani found the travelers, and at the end of this century, archaeologists have begun to explore the capital remains. There was found a number of interesting artifacts, remarkable buildings. Scientific researches put an end to the First World War and the subsequent Turkish-Armenian conflict. City several times captured by the troops of the Ottoman Empire, was pillaged, old buildings partially destroyed. When Ani finally departed Turkey by the Treaty of Kars in 1921, the Armenians were ordered to wipe it off the face of the earth. After that, the ruins were forgotten and abandoned and stood, overgrown with weeds and plundered by looters.
At the beginning of this century, non-profit organizations that devote themselves to the protection of important cultural places of the drew world attention to the plight of Ani. Only in 2004, the travelers were again allowed to freely visit the city and take pictures of it. Despite assurances from the Turkish authorities, the city is still threatened by the complete destruction. Let us hope that life and even former glory back in Ani. Meanwhile, Ani easier to learn on the internet, here is difficult to reach, and the nearest Armenian hotel is located many kilometers away.