The Ruins of Ani, Kars
Kars Ani Ruins Entrance Fee, Opening Hours and History
Archaeological Site of Ani, which took its place in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016, is home to some important structures that symbolize the cultural richness of Anatolia. We recommend those who are interested in history to take a look at Ani Ruins which host the unique examples of Armenian architecture.
History of Ani Ruins
Ani Ruins in Kars is situated in a place close to Turkey-Armenia border and it is 46 km away from Kars city center. According to researches, the settlement around the city dates back thousands of years. However, most of the historical buildings in the city of Ani were built during the Bagratuni Kingdom.
Located in the entrance of Anatolian route of Silk Road, it is considered that this town was an important center throughout the history. Apart from the unique examples of Armenian architecture, there are also constructions of Byzantine and Seljuk architectures.
Ari Ruins is located in an area that 78 hectares wide. Recognized as an archeological site, this place includes various historical structures such as caravansary, bathhouse, church, palace and bridge.
Bagratuni Dynasty and City of Ani
Bagratuni Dynasty was founded after Armenians were freed of Arab dominance. Historical findings show that this dynasty ruled from 885 to 1045. Bagratid Armenia was a strategic place in the power struggle between Byzantine Empire and Abbasid Caliphate.
Even though the dynasty ruled shorter than 200 years, it made a lot of progress in culture and economy under the rule of King Ashot III. It is worth noting that the City of Ani is the achievement of Ashot III on a large scale.
The reign of Ashot III is considered as “The Golden Age of Armenia” by historians so we can say that the City of Ani gained importance in this era. After moving the capital from Kars to Ani, King Ashot III started to make developments in the city. Churches, schools, hospitals, mansions and palaces built in this era in the city of Ani can still be seen in this day.
The city of Ani was also situated in an important trade route so there were a lot of markets, taverns and factories in the city. Ashot III had huge walls built known as “Ashotashen” during his rule. The constructions he contributed in this city earned him the title of “Voghormat”, the merciful in Armenian.
What to See in the Ani Ruins of Kars
Even though the structures built under the rule of Bagratuni Dynasty stand out, it is good to state that this city was an important trade center under the rule of Seljuk Empire. For this reason, it is possible to see mosques and caravansaries inspired by the Seljuk architecture in the city of Ani.
The most beautiful church of the city of Ani is this medieval church, also called “The Great Cathedral”. The church was originally dedicated to the Holy Mother of God. The church, which started to be built in 989 during the period of King Smbat II, was completed in 1001. An Armenian architect named Trdat built the church.
The main reason why the church is so famous is its architect. Because Trdat has been the most respected architect in the Medieval Armenian community. Trdat, who managed to go beyond his time with his techniques, gave life to this gothic-looking cathedral of Ani.
The Great Cathedral of Ani
The church of St Gregory of Tigran Honents
This church, whose construction was completed in 1215, is the best preserved structure of Ani. It was built with donations by an Armenian merchant named Tigran Honents. The church has a very impressive decoration.
The church is dedicated to Gregory the Illuminator, who brought Christianity to the Armenian community. St. Gregory is also accepted as the founder of the Armenian Church and many churches dedicated to him in Turkey.
There are priceless medieval frescoes inside the church. Since fresco is not very common in Armenian churches, the drawings here are unique. In the drawings, the life of Jesus and Saint Gregory is depicted.
Best Preserved Church in the City of Ani
The Monastery of the Hripsimian Virgins
Monastery of the Hripsimian Virgins was built on the caravan road reaching the City of Ani. The only structure that survives from the monastery is a small chapel. The chapel, located on the western bank of the River Arpacay separating Armenia and Turkey.
The monastery complex was built by Tigran Honents in the 13th century. Surrounded by high walls, the monastery was dedicated to the nuns of Saint Hripsime. The monastery is one of the rare historical monuments that have survived to the present day in Ani.
The Chapel of the Monastery of Virgins
The mosque of Manuchihr
Ani is home to the Manuchihr Mosque, known as the first Turkish mosque in Anatolia. Sultan Alparslan, who conquered Ani in 1064, handed over the city to the Shaddadid Dynasty in 1072. The mosque was built in the name of Ebul Menucehr, the king of the dynasty.
The only part of the mosque that has remained intact until today is the minaret with 99 steps. The remaining parts have been partially renovated. However, the Bismillah (meaning in the name of god) inscription embroidered with the motifs of the Kufi alphabet on the north wall is still there. Kufi is the geometric interpretation of Arabic letters, which are difficult to use in works of art, engraved in tiles, carpets and calligraphy.
The First Turkish Mosque in Anatolia
City Walls of Ani
The strong walls of Ani encircle the city and protect it from all kinds of enemy attacks. The strongest defensive wall in the city was located in the northern part. Because this front was the only face of Ani that was not naturally protected by rivers and valleys.
Most sources report that these walls were built by King Smbat, who ruled between 977 and 989.
The walls are made of concrete core, covered with beige basalt, carefully cut and intertwined. The walls are patterned with red and black stones. Crosses on the wall decorated with heraldry and talismans and symbols.
Kars Ani Ruins Entrance Fee, Hours, History
The city of Ani was located on the Silk Road, the most important trade route from China to Europe. Caravansaries were built on these trade routes, where merchants would rest. Today, there are many caravanserais left from the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia.
The Seljuk Caravanserai, built in the 12th century in Ani, is located on the main street. The decorations on the door of the caravanserai reflect the classical features of the Seljuk architectural style.
Kars Ani Ruins Entrance Fee 2020
The entrance fee to Ani Ruins is 15 Turkish Liras. Tickets are free for children under the age of eight. Museum Pass Turkey is valid for the entrance to Ani Ancient City in Kars.
Kars Ani Ruins Opening Hours
Ani Ruins can be visited between 08:00 am and 7:00 pm between April 1 and October 1. In the period between 1 October and 1 April, which is accepted as winter season, it closes to visitors at 5 pm. The City of Ani can be visited everyday of the week.
There may be changes in the visiting hours of Ani Ruins due to various activities or restorations. Therefore, you are advised to visit the official website of the museum to see the latest status before you go.