Thursday, October 29, 2009

The most enchanting spot in Turkey

I decided to live in Turkey because I love to travel, discover and explore. Perhaps the most important reason that made me choose this particular country was that it is a fascinating blend of modern and exotic. Many tribes and nations have occupied the territory of Anatolia and traces telling their history are to be found in almost every corner of the country.

To me, the most enchanting spot in Turkey is Ani.

This early medieval city, located in the north-eastern part of Turkey close to the border with Armenia, is now ruined and uninhabited.
It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey. The city is located on a triangular site, visually dramatic and naturally defensive, protected on its eastern side by the ravine of the Akhurian River and on its western side by the Bostanlar or Tzaghkotzadzor valley.

Called the "City of 1001 Churches", it stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world.
At the height of its glory, Ani had a population of 100,000 - 200,000 people and was the rival of Constantinople, Baghdad and Cairo. Long ago renowned for its splendor and magnificence, Ani has been abandoned and largely forgotten for centuries.

I visited Ani in May 2009 and since then have not found a place with more charm and character. It takes at least three hours to walk around the still preserved, grass covered streets of Ani. With hardly any people visiting it, you can easily travel back in time and imagine what the city looked like at the time of glory.
Ani must have been truly magnificent. Anyone who pays it a visit will be simply flabbergasted.

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