Turkish Authorities Seek UNESCO World Heritage Status for Ani

The medieval Armenian city of Ani, now in Turkey, as viewed from Armenia. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

ANI, Turkey—Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism is working towards including the historical city of Ani in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites, Hye Tert reports.

Minister Omer Celik has described the measure as an attempt to take the ancient site under protection.

Historically known as the city with “one thousand and one churches” or “forty doors,” Ani was registered in the candidate list in 2012. Turkish authorities are now reportedly seeking to declare it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The minister is reported as saying that he is committed to the preservation and protection of cultural and human heritage monuments.

Active excavations, redevelopment, and renovation activities in the historical city continue under the Ministry’s oversight.

“We have always felt proud with the amazing, big and historical heritage of Ani. We want to do what is appropriate to us: to endow that heritage to mankind and preserve it for future generations. Turkey is now making steps towards becoming a leading country. So we do not want to have gaps in that race,” Celik said.


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  1. Random Armenian said:

    And are they going to present the churches as Turkish? In the past, they have claimed that Christian Turks have built such things. Will there be any mention of it’s Armenian history? I can’t speak for the individual Turkish archaeologists working at Ani, but I’m sure the government would be keen on suppressing or de-emphasizing that this was a thriving Armenian capital before the Seljuks brutally conquered it.

  2. Ani Boghikian-Kasparian said:

    I have two suggestions for the Minister: First, identify Ani as the once Capital of Armenia by writing the word “Armenia” on their tourism publications and signs, and prohibit the villagers from bringing in their cattle to graze and leave their waste on the steps of the churches! That would be a good start to preservation!

  3. Steve said:

    Taken at face value, Ani cannot be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There has been so much destruction by the hands of “restorers” and “archaeologists” over the last 20 years at Ani that none of the requirements for attaining and maintaining that listing could reasonably be expected to be met. However, UNESCO is far more to do with politics than culture (for example, after the massive destruction at Zvartnots in the 1990s, paid for by the Lincy Foundation, that monument should have been delisted, but it was not) – so it depends on how many strings Turkey is willing to pull. But, unlike his counterpart in Azerbaijan, I doubt Erdogan will be willing to go as far as prostitute his wife out to UNESCO!

  4. Vindicated Man said:

    I don’t like the timing, Turks appear to be using this to their advantage. And I suspect they’re going to do their best to avoid words like “Armenia” , “Armenian”, “Armenians”, …

  5. Norin said:

    Yeah, too bad you tried to exterminate the actual Armenian civilization that once lived there …