Ani, a Medieval Armenian City in Turkey

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A Visit to Ani

Ani is a fascinating, derelict town on the border between Turkey and Armenia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site with remains of some 50 churches, six of which are still standing. There are also two mosques and remains of a Zoroastrian temple. Once it was the Armenian capital. The town has been ruled by a number of different people:

In 1319 the town was hit by an earthquake, and it has been uninhabited since that time.

Map of Turkey. The distance between Sofia and Ani is 2,000 kilometers. Blue = bus, green = hitchhike, red = train. Google Maps.

Only some of the churches remain - the rest of the town are ruins

The nearby river Arpa Çayı is the border to the present Armenia. The border has always been firmly closed, as Turkey and Armenia do not agree on what happened in the Armenian genocide in 1915.

The remains of a bridge crossing Arpa Çayı, a part of the Silk Road. The Silk Road moved away from Ani after the earthquake in 1319.

Church of St Prkitch, Church of the Redeemer, built 1034-1036. In 1957, the southern half of the church was destroyed by lightning.

Saint Gregor #1: Church built around 1215 by Tigran Honentz

Inscription in Armenian on the outside

Murals inside the church

Saint Gregor church #2, built in late 10th century.

The cathedral in Ani, built 987-1010, later converted to Fethiye Camii mosque.

A view to Armenia

Saint Gregor church #3, built 998 and collapsed soon afterwards.

Details from Saint Gregor church #3

Saint Gregor church #3: This must be the reason for the collapse of the new-built church. The vaulted roof was far too heavy.

In the Roman Empire there was a certain quality enforcement rule for architects: When a bridge, aquaduct or building was finished, the architect was obliged to live under the new building for a period with his family. Maybe that rule could have helped improving the design here.

Nowadays, architecture for IT projects is just as important as architecture for buildings. Unfortunately, the architecture of an IT project is invisible both before and after it is built. No present IT architects or programmers are forced to live "under the bridge" with their family, and a bad result will soon be deleted, not being visible 1,000 years later as for this church in Ani.

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