- Place or Religious Monument
- Archaeological Site
- Place or Historical Monument
At the edge of a picturesque canyon, on the high plateaus of the Lesser Caucasus, Ani was once an incredible capital. When you see the distance which separates the various monuments, you can only imagine how a Caucasian city of the Middle Ages was able to occupy such a territory.
I arrived at Ani down the dusty track that runs from Kars to this end of the country with my driver, Djelil, one early morning in March. I found myself alone as I passed through the door of the walls that remained, to discover this majestic plain strewn with Armenian churches in ruins, half-open with collapsed domes... Each is a monument with genuine charisma, those of the years which pass over the stone and reveal what has happened before, there were men who wanted to relate the history for posterity. Cut stone strewn here and there, incredibly preserved frescoes on the side of an apse, the plain and a mosque in ruins, that of a palace.
I was very touched by the poetry of the ruins of Ani, dominated in the distance by the hollowed summits of this luminous, open landscape. And the contrast of the ruins with reality: a border which passes through the middle of the canyon, a neighbour in dispute over this site... And in the neighbouring valley of cave dwellings still used today by Kurdish shepherds.