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Historical Site of Ani

Coordinate: 40º30’24.19’’K 43º34’17.80’’D Height: 1470 m

It is in Arpaçay district, east of Kars and 42 km away from the city. Historical Site of Ani is located in the west Shore of Arpaçay River forming the boundary between Turkey and Armenia. It was an important Armenian settlement center in the 10th century. Ani was founded by Bagrationi Dynasty and there are many base remains of churches and structures in the historical site. Walls were started building between 977 and 989 and they surround three sides of the city. The steep slope of Arpaçay Valley where there are no walls protected the city naturally.


The city was taken over by Byzantines in 1045 and by Seljuk Sultan Alparslan in 1064. A palace, a caravanserai, two mosques and two baths were built in Ottoman period. Ani had sovereignty of several states including Georgians. It lost its importance after the invasion of Mongols in 1239 and an earthquake in 1319.

Cathedral of the Virgin Mary in the center of Ani is the largest structure of Ani. The 

construction was started in Sembad II period, in 989, and it was completed in 1001 by the order of Queen Katranide, wife of King Gagik Bagratid. Its architect is Tridat who also made the repair of Hagia Sophia.


The church of St Gregory of Tigran Honents was built by rich merchant Tigran Honents in 1215. It is on hard rock’s dismounting to Arpaçay. Another important feature of the church is that it is decorated with frescoes. Again in this area, there is the Church of Surp Pirgiç which was built by Bagrat Prince Abulgarib Pahlavid between 1034 and 1036. The eastern façade was destroyed in 1930, so only the half of it still stands. There is also a monastery called Virgin’s Chapel with its small size near Arpaçay River.


A minaret and the structure which’s most of the parts are destroyed in the southwest of the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary is Menuchihr Mosque. It was built in Ebu Suca Menuchihr period (1064-1110) and it was collapsed at the end of the 19th century. It is one of the oldest mosques in Anatolia.