SAN FRANCSICO–The ruined medieval Armenian city of Ani has been included in a list of twelve historic sites around the world that are “on the verge of vanishing” because of mismanagement and neglect, according to a new report issued by the San Francisco-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF).
The ruined city, on the border of Turkey and Armenia, dates back to the 11th century. Once the majestic capital of the Armenian Bagratuni Dynasty, Ani was renowned for its splendor and magnificence and considered “The City of a Thousand Churches.”
At its height, Ani had a population of 100,000–200,000 people and was the rival of Constantinople, Baghdad and Cairo. But many of its remaining buildings are now on the brink of collapse. It stands destroyed and in ruins, following the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and almost a century of Turkish military occupation.
“Ani is probably one of the top 10 sites in the world, right up there with Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat,” GHF executive director Jeff Morgan told CNN.
The report identifies nearly 200 heritage sites in developing nations as being at risk, highlighting 12 as being on the verge of irreparable loss and destruction.
Three sites in the Middle East, Iraq’s Nineveh, Palestine’s Hisham’s Palace, and Turkey’s Ani, are among those most in danger.