Images from Ani, the ancient Armenian capital, are featured in the 2024 wall calendar published this week by Stone Garden Press.
The photographs are from the portfolio of Matthew Karanian, the author-photographer of The Armenian Highland, an award-winning history book about Western Armenia and the First Armenian Republic of 1918.
Karanian’s photographs of Ani cover a period of twenty years, dating back to 2003 when he made his first research trip to the ancient capital. During those years, Karanian has documented the changes at Ani.
Ani was a restricted military zone when Karanian first visited twenty years ago. Photography was forbidden, and armed soldiers enforced the law. Still, Karanian was able to make photographs of Ani using a film camera, while standing outside the city walls. One of those images graces the cover of the 2024 calendar.
Later, when the military restriction was lifted, Karanian returned and documented the city within the walls, using digital equipment.
The loosening of the restrictions harmed Ani, according to Karanian.
“With the military restriction lifted, and with the soldiers largely gone, Ani was plundered,” he said. Karanian documented illegal excavations that were performed, apparently by looters, during the past decade.
There have also been so-called “renovations” to the churches, walls, and other monuments at Ani in recent years. These reconstructions were performed under the supervision of Turkish authorities and, according to Karanian, the work was sometimes performed without regard to historical accuracy.
Karanian first published images from his portfolio of Ani in the historical guidebook “Historic Armenia After 100 Years.” This is the first time the images have been available in a calendar.
The 2024 Ani wall calendar is available online for the online discounted price of $21.95 with free shipping within the U.S. The calendar measures 9 x 18 inches, and covers the thirteen month period from December 2023 through December 2024.
Mail orders are also accepted. A check for $24.95 may be mailed to Stone Garden Press, PO Box 943, Pasadena, CA 91102.