July 31, 2014 - 12:36 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Founded more than 1600 years ago, the ancient city of Ani was once one of the world’s greatest metropolises. Today it sits in crumbling ruins, its former glory a distant memory, says an article published in News.com.au World Travel section.
Sitting deep in eastern Turkey, thousands of kilometers from bustling Istanbul, Ani lay on several trade routes and grew to become a walled city of more than 100,000 residents by the 11th century, the article says.
At its peak, Ani was a city of opulence, magnificence and architectural wonder. It was the citadel, former capital and heart of the great Armenian empire.
Known as the city of 1000 churches, its religious buildings, palaces and fortifications were among the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world, the article says.
All of its buildings were constructed using local volcanic basalt that was easily carved and came in a variety of vibrant colors from creamy yellow, to rose-red to jet black.
In the centuries that followed its peak, Ani and its surrounding region were conquered hundreds of times by Byzantine emperors, Ottoman Turks, Armenians, nomadic Kurds, Georgians, and Russians.
By the 1300s the city was in steep decline and completely abandoned by the 1700s.
Largely forgotten for over 700 years, its crumbling ruins were the victim of looters and vandals, Turks who tried to eliminate Armenian history from the area and poorly managed archaeological digs, the article says.