To begin our second week of travel, we headed for the border with Armenia and Iran. We started the 2nd stage of our journey through the region of Kars and the city of Ani.
The medieval town of Ani is located on the edge of the Araxe River that separates Armenia and Turkey. This medieval city was the capital of Armenia around the year one thousand. At that time, his fame rivalled that of Constantinople. It sheltered about 100,000 people.
When you set foot on the site of this medieval city, you cannot help but be overcome by a troubling feeling. Impressed by the beauty, the site of Ani also causes discomfort. The few remains of this ancient capital appear to us as an imprint worn by time, but also by the violence that has marked the region. The state of the site also shows the turbulent relationship that Turkey has with its past actions. Any site of that grandeur would normally have been preserved with much more attention and care.
The date of the foundation of the city of Ani is not known, but the first traces of some inhabitants go back to 2000 years before J-C. The decline of the city of Ani is connected with the occupation of Byzantium (1045 AD). Located on a strategic border, the city of Ani will move from one occupation to another and be the subject of many looting.
Today, declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Ani is protected, but we can clearly sense the troubled relationship of Turkish society with the legacy of the Armenian Genocide. On the road and on the site itself, there is no mention of the Armenian heritage or even the neighbouring Armenian state. The few explanatory plates on the site refer to Ani as the capital of a Christian empire.
For more information on the city of Ani: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani