Kars – Ani Ancient City

Kars is located at the transit point from Anatolia into the Caucasus at an altitude of 1,750 meters (5,741 feet) in Eastern Anatolia and has played an important role in Turkish history. The city was the main centre of  Turkish-Russian War between 1877 and 1878 and it was under the rule of Russians for about 40 years after this war. Thus, the city centre of Kars looks quite different from the ones of other cities. The Russian legacy can easily be seen in much of the town’s architecture on the streets. There is also a very impressive Seljuk Empire Castle dating back to 12th century in the city. Another interesting sight is the 10th century Havariler Church (Church of Disciples) which is still in very good condition. 

The Archaeological Museum  of Kars houses beautiful wood-carvings,  collection of coins found in the area, as well as many ethnographic items relating to eastern Turkey.

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Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city in Kars Province founded on far east of Turkey at the beginning of the 9th century, in Armenian border. It was the capital of medieval Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia until the 11th century Byzantine conquest, covering today much of Armenia and Eastern Turkey. Natural disasters and invasions of the Mongols and then Tamerlane destroyed much of Ani, resulting in an appearance of a medieval town surrounded by the remains of its imposing walls.

Ani Ancient City was abandoned and largely forgotten for centuries but still reminds us of its glory and dignity with reddish brown colored buildings and impressive fortified walls still encircling the ruins of several churches, mosques and caravansarais.

Ani is primarily known for its magnificent monuments based on Armenian architecture. The ancient city houses several churches, cathedrals, palaces, and fortifications which were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world. The surviving churches and the remnants of the city walls attest to the high quality of Armenian stonework during the Middle Ages. The medieval ruins spread over an extensively large area displays excellent examples of the Armenian civilizations. The ancient city also has the oldest mosque of Turkey from 1041 as well.

If you wish to see the past of the Armenian history, you should definitely incorporate Ani to your Eastern Turkey tour. Kars is the right place to start your excursion to Ani, approx. 45 km distance from the city.

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