Turkey Seeking UNESCO World Heritage Status for Ani

A view of the ruins of the ancient city of Ani from the Armenian side of the border

KARS (Anadolu Agency)—Work is continuing at the ancient ruins of Ani, a 5,000-year-old Armenian city located in Turkey near the Armenian border in the eastern province of Kars, with an eye on including the site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Kars, another historic Armenian city, Ani is today a major tourist attraction for Turkey.

Local Culture and Tourism Director Hakan Doğanay said salvage excavations in Ani would be headed this year by Pamukkale University Classical Archaeology Department Professor Fahriye Bayram.

Doğanay said projects regarding the restoration of the ancient city’s walls have now been finished, with the aim of putting Ani on the UNESCO’s heritage list.

“[Ani] may enter the UNESCO list during the meeting to be held in Oslo in 2016. We predict that 2015-2016 will be the years of Kars and the ancient ruins of Ani. The Culture and Tourism Ministry has provided us with great support on this issue,” he said.

“We will also bring over 21 new artifacts from various cultures, making the best use of cultural heritage in our region,” Doğanay added. “Ani is a treasure for us that should be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.”

Ani, which occupies 78 hectares of land and is surrounded by 4,500-meter-long ramparts, was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey.

Ani is protected on its eastern side by a ravine formed by the Akhurian River and on its western side by the Bostanlar or Tzaghkotzadzor Balley. The Akhurian is a branch of the Aras River and forms part of the current border between Turkey and Armenia.

Dubbed the “City of 1,001 Churches,” Ani stood on various trade routes, and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were among the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world at the time, according to specialists.


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  1. Zareh said:

    Knowing the ridiculous extent Turks go to make themselves “indigenous” to the land they currently occupy…..even going as far as claiming to be the descendants of the Hittites…..one wonders what convoluted language they will add to the request to designate Ani a world heritage site. One thing for sure, the “Armenian” element of this profoundly Armenian jewel will be as diluted as possible, that’s what we have come to expect form a government bent on eliminating Armenian traces form Anatolia.

  2. Hratch said:

    It does not mention who the Turks attribute these ancient ruins to? It would be counterproductive for them to admit that these are Armenian in nature.

    If we go by Doğanay’s statement alone…..“We will also bring over 21 new artifacts from various cultures, making the best use of cultural heritage in our region,” it is obvious that the “various cultures” is designed to water-down Armenian claims.

  3. ara1 said:

    Yes. Our thriving g lands occupied by the enemies. 8 slam is radicals. Evil.

  4. Al said:

    let me guess, turks are claiming Ani as a “turkish” place? hahah

  5. GeorgeMardig said:

    Next move of Turkey will be to invent a story that Ani was built by Genghis Khan

  6. Antranik said:

    Turks are only looking after their own interest.I suppose we musn’t be ungratetful,it’s better than nothing.We are so helpless regarding our occupied lands,I can only cry.Only God can punish them.Perhaps that day will come.
    One can only hope and pray and if possible forgive.

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