Home Must See Kars - Ani Ruins
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Kars Castle in East Turkey near to Armenia

KARS:
Kars is situated on a plateau 5,740 feet (1,750 m) above sea level on the Kars River, a tributary of the Aras River, near the border with Armenia. The city, divided into an older upper section and a newer part to the south, stretches out on either side of the Kars River; the two sections of the city are linked by an ancient bridge built by the Seljuk Turks.
The seat of an independent Armenian principality during the 9th and 10th centuries, Kars was captured by the Seljuks in the 11th century. Taken by the Mongols in the 13th century and by Timur (Tamerlane) in 1387, it was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1514. After withstanding a siege by Iranians in 1731 and successfully resisting the Russians in 1807, it fell to the Russians in 1828 and 1855 and was formally annexed by Russia in 1877-78. It was returned to Turkey in 1918, though the Soviet Union later (1945-47) tried unsuccessfully to reclaim it as part of Armenia, U.S.S.R.
Kars's historical buildings include Kümbet Camii ("Church of the Apostles"), an Armenian church that was converted into a mosque; a Bath dating from the Ottoman period; and an old citadel - Kars Kalesi, overhanging the river that was once a strong military post probably late 16th century).
Kars is particularly known for its distinctive kilims and carpets, and it retains a strong heritage of folk dancing. Visitors always seem to enjoy this traditional entertainment. On the mountain pastures, villagers produce excellent Kasar cheese (yellow cheese) and delicious honey.
The region around Kars was part of the Armenian kingdom in antiquity and contains a number of sites dating from that period.

ANI:

Kars ANi Ruins

Ancient city site in extreme eastern Turkey.
Ani lies east of Kars and along the Arpaçay (Akhuryan) River, which forms the border with Armenia to the east.

Situated along a major east-west caravan route, Ani first rose to prominence in the 5th century AD and had become a flourishing town by the time Ashot III the Merciful (reigned 952-977), the Bagratid king of Armenia, transferred his capital there from Kars in 961. Thus began a golden age for the city, which was beautified under two subsequent Bagratid rulers. The many churches built there during this period included some of the finest examples of medieval architecture. With a peak population of about 100,000 by the early 11th century, Ani was larger than any European city and rivaled Baghdad, Cairo, and Constantinople in its size and magnificence. It remained the chief city of Armenia until Mongol raids in the 13th century and a devastating earthquake in 1319 sent it into an irreparable decline. Eventually the site was abandoned. The handful of surviving churches and the remnants of the city walls attest to the extraordinary quality of Armenian stonework during the Middle Ages.
The proximity of this ghost town to the border, places some restrictions on visitors, but the ruins of the mosques and numerous churches, together with the cathedral and the citadel, all inside city walls, are really worth seeing.

 

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