Published: August 14th 2012August 14th 2012
From Kars, in Eastern Anatolia, we went to Ani. Ani is some 90km away from Kars, right on the border with Armenia. The nearest village to Ani is Ocaklı.
To go to Ani, we booked places inside a dolmush (sort of communal taxi/minibus), for 40TL per person. Dolmushes leave in the morning. Taxi drivers also seem very eager to take any tourist to Ani, although I suspect that the price will be quite a bit higher.
Ani is a former capital city of Armenia, at its height in the early middle ages. It was the home of some 100'000-200'000 people. It was, and remains, highly contested ground. However, it went from being a trade center of prime importance to being a half-forgotten ruin, still standing proud but in dire need of repairs.
Ani is located directly on the border of Turkey and Armenia, on the Turkish side. A part of the site is off-limit due to being under a military zone. Thankfully, the view is still good for all the buildings located in that zone (chiefly, the fortress). On the Armenian side, there is also a network of caves dug up in the rock face, which must have
been troglodyte homes similar to those of Cappadocia.
The nearby village of Ocaklı has the feel of a frontier-town, even more so than Kars. It is tiny, with ancient buildings that seem like they are so old and ill-repaired they will crumbled, even though they are made of rock. Agriculture is still made by hand and horse, with tools so ancient they look like they would belong in a museum. Like in Kars, though, the villagers stand proud, wearing, when at leisure, nice jackets and shirts, hats, polished shoes and fine wool sweaters and cardigans. The women wear very long shapeless skirts and tops, sometimes with a veil covering their hair.
There are more photos below