I came across these hauntingly beautiful photos while researching the history of Hagia Sophia.
There are a total of 27 photos from the once-great metropolis of Ani which is located in Eastern Turkey. It was known as "the city of a thousand and one churches".
"Founded more than 1,600 years ago, Ani was situated on several trade routes, and grew to become a walled city of more than 100,000 residents by the 11th century."
"Beginning in the 10th century, Ani was the capital of the medieval Armenian kingdom and seat of the Catholicos, the head of the Armenian Church. It fell first to the Byzantine Empire and then to the Seljuk Turks, and for a time was ruled by the Georgians."
Ani's "surrounding regions were conquered hundreds of times -- Byzantine emperors, Ottoman Turks, Armenians, nomadic Kurds, Georgians, and Russians claimed and reclaimed the area, repeatedly attacking and chasing out residents."
It suffered many natural disasters and was eventually abandoned.
According to one source, "Ani is 'on the verge' of irreparable loss and obliteration, citing inadequate management and looting as the main causes."
This is not totally unusual. In many parts of the world, rural communities and even cities (think of Detroit) have been abandoned or are in the process of "being abandoned". In some parts of Europe, I have read that energetic groups are reclaiming these abandoned cities and villages. They are restoring buildings, setting up workshops and reestablishing farms. The communities live "primitively" in order to make their projects work.
As for Ani, perhaps there's not too much left to salvage. From the photos, it would appear that the buildings, while humbly standing, are structurally unstable and mostly uninhabitable.
There is some hope. The Ani Cathedral- "Turkey launched a project to conserve the ancient cathedral and a church in what is seen as a gesture of reconciliation toward neighboring Armenia." September 12, 2008.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
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