DAYS & PLACES
Armenia’s Medieval Ghost City.
Founded more than 1,600 years ago is the abandoned medieval city of Ani, known to some as the “City of 1001 Churches” and others as the “City of 40 Gates”. Once a vibrant trade route well known for its many religious structures, palaces and fortifications that stood out at the time as being amongst the most artistically and technically advanced examples of architecture in the world.
Ani was a magnificent city with a long history and diverse cultural influences, sacked by the Mongols in 1236 and left devastated by an earthquake in 1319, leaving it reduced to village status and gradually abandoned and almost completely forgotten by the seventeenth century. In the nineteenth century the city was rediscovered and was once again romanticised as a city of splendour and architectural brilliance. Ani's fame was short lived and the city was closed off by World War I and the later events of the Armenian Genocide, leaving the region an empty no-man’s land once again.
The city’s many churches are stunning, even in their various states of ruin, symbolising the region’s rich history, exchange of religion, culture and art. Ani was placed on the World Monuments Fund (WWF) Lists of 100 Most Endangered Sits in 1996, 1998 and 2000.