BY ANADOLU AGENCY
Scientists, art historians, archaeologists, architects and students from 17 universities have restarted the excavations on the ruins of the archaeological site of Ani, located in Turkey’s northeastern Kars province, at four different points. The archaeological digs aim to reveal more historical artifacts and remains.
Known as “the world city,” the “cradle of civilizations,” “1001 churches” or “40-ported city,” Ani was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016. Located on the Turkey-Armenia border, Ani is one of the greatest historical and cultural gems in the country.
Once ruled by the Urartu Kingdom, Scythians, Persians, Macedonians and Sassanids respectively, Ani was captured by the Islamic armies in 643. The site was used as a capital by Armenian rulers in the Bagratuni dynasty between 884 and 1045 and was under the rule of Byzantines between 1045 and 1064. On Aug. 16, 1064, Ani was conquered by Alp Arslan, the second sultan of the Seljuk Empire.
The site standing on approximately 85 hectares (210 acres) was home to many civilizations and languages throughout history, including Armenian, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Georgian and Persian, from 970 to 1320. Muslims and Christians lived side by side in Ani for centuries.
Ani is also home to many architectural masterpieces, including the Ebul Manuçehr Mosque, the first Turkish-built mosque in Anatolia, Amenaprgic Church, the Cathedral of Ani, Dikran Honentz Church, Abugamir Pahlavuni Church and a Seljuk caravansary.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Muhammet Arslan, head of the excavation team, said that the Ani archaeological site is a very important city with its 5,000-year history.
Arslan added that Ani has a very important place because it is the beginning of Turkish history and Turkish architecture in Anatolia.