Ani Archaeological Site
Forty-two kilometers east of Kars province on the ancient Silk Road, the medieval city of Ani (Ocakli) lies mostly in ruins. Impressive fortified walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravanserais.
Although the ancient settlement of Ani began as an Armenian settlement, had endured waves of successive conquerors; Muslims, Byzantines, Mongols, among them. It was not until the Mongol rule of Asia Minor that the city was abandoned. In 1336, the mostly Armenian citizens were forced to leave and Ani was never again inhabited.
Among the structures left behind were proto-Gothic-style churches that may predate by 125 years Europe's first realization of the form, palaces, crenellated defensive walls, a bridge, even an early post office. For the centuries before its abandonment, the city had been a medieval capital of political, economic, cultural, and architectural importance. The site is vulnerable to earthquakes, harsh weather and winds, vegetation growth etc.
Grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation enabled an on-site assessment by experts to take place in order to establish preservation priorities. Funds are being solicited for emergency stabilization. Expert masons and conservators are needed for restorations on site.
Ani was listed in 1996 and 1998 as one of the 100 most endangered sites of the world by World Monuments Fund. In July 2016 the site has entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List.