Ani (in Armenian: Անի ) is located in the Turkish province of Kars, just in the south of the Armenian border. It is close to the town of Ocaklı and Arpaçay (or Akhourian), an affluent of the Araxe, which forms the border between the Arménie and the Turkey. Today ruins some, the city was the capital of Arménie about the year thousand, and it is called besides “Capital of the year thousand” and the “city to the thousand and ones churches”. Ani remains very famous.
See also: History of Arménie
Beginnings and Golden ageAlthough a habitat is attested on the site since thousand-year-old IIe front J.C., the date of its foundation is not known. There existed already a fortress at the time of the kingdom of Urartu. During the the Middle Ages, the city was located in the historical Armenian province of Chirak (or Shirak), on a " headland triangulaire". Ani becomes first of all the Forteresse lords of the family Kamsarakan about the 5th century, then it passes under the hand of the Bagratides which, for the latter, leave the town of Kars and its fortress perched to the 9th century. The 10th century and the year millet is the time of the splendor of Ani. The king d' Arménie Achot II, of the dynasty of the Bagratides, in fact its Capital in 961: it builds initially the ramparts (first of the Histoire of the city) then a large palace and its citadel. Ani develops, increases thanks to its situation on trade route, it is thus the religious, administrative and so cultural center of all the medieval Arménie towards 992. The “city with the thousand and ones churches” takes importance. This size was not enough for the king Sembat III - known as the Conqueror -; it makes build walls larger than the preceding ones towards 989. At this point in time we attend a “constructive fever”: Palates, stores, markets, inns, workshops, etc, are built. Religious buildings are in their turn built. The population of Ani about the year millet would reach the 100.000 inhabitants and was the seat of the Armenian Catholicos. A new rise shakes the city under the reign of Gagik Ier (989 - 1020), it is the time of the construction of the majority of the churches.
EndBut the decline is felt, and in 1045, Byzance occupies the city and puts it under its yoke; there is not thus more reign Bagratide. In 1064, it is taken by the Turks Seldjoukides, under the control of Alp Arslan and in 1072, the city is yielded to the Kurdish family of Cheddadides. In 1124, the inhabitants revolt against the occupants. Towards 1194, Ani is conquered by the Géorgiens. She is thereafter released by the princes of the dynasite Zakarian in 1199, who in particular made build Armenian monasteries. That becomes again the center of Arménie and benefits from a new rise, much less brilliance that preceding it. She is taken by the Mongolian in 1231 - or 1236 -. At the 14th century, a dynasty turkmene, the Kara Koyunlu, makes its capital of it. After the catch of the city by Tamerlan at the end of the century, the Kara Koyunlu transfer their capital to Erevan. The city is completely abandoned. The history according to which the city would have been destroyed by an earthquake in 1319 would be a Mythe.
Description of the medieval cityThe city is surrounded by a double enclosure. It was formerly called the “city to the thousand and ones churches” because of the important number of houses. Actually, it counted a cinquataine churches. The plan of Ani was composed of street S and paved place S. There is a system of drain, and the existence of public baths. All the population could be defined like “cosmopolitan”.
Ani counts among more the good examples of Armenian architecture.
Monuments of AniThe principal remaining monuments are church S.
Cathedral of the cityThe large cathedral of Ani was started during the reign of king Sembat, towards 989. Thereafter it is finished in 1001, date marked by the reign of the king Gagik 1st. The author of the monument is the famous Tiridate architect, who has " there; innové" by widening the principal nave, and the space of small the Nef S, side decreased with the central nave. But unfortunately, a seism, which has occurred towards 1319, will destroy the cupola. It is not the only seism which damaged the building: in 1988, at the time of the great earthquake of Spitak, the north-western angle was completely destroyed. The cathedral is architecturalement complex: small a " arcature" blind man with fine columns decorates the monument all length, of the more important arcs relative the windows, rather small, the large openings surround of the large stringcourses " of entrelacs". The interior of the building can make think of the Gothic architecture, because the totality of the arcs and the pillars draw kinds of " half-colonettes". Frescos decorate the Cathédrale with Ani.
Church of the Redeemerthe church of the Redeemer (beginning of the 11th century), is a octoconque circular church, of which there remains only one half, the other being broken down in 1957. Prince Ablgharid Pahlavide made it build to shelter a piece of the True Cross, which it had brought back of Constantinople.
Saint-Gregoire (abougraments)The Saint-Gregoire church - said abougraments - was built about the 10th century. It is hexaconque. We can see that the frontage is dug by six " niches". Twelve windows are surrounded by a double arc, dug by a drum, and ornaments decorate a series with double columns. A flagstone of Tuf (volcanic stone) is covered by the roof of the Coupole.
Saint-Gregoire (Gagkashen)This church Saint-Gregoire, known as Gagkashen, was built between 1001 and 1010, one allots his construction to the same architect, Tiridate, under the reign of Gagik Ier. It crumbles between 11th and 12th century. Having taken model on the church of Zvartnots, close to Erevan, Saint-Gregoire constitutes the largest church of Ani, in front of the cathedral. It is a rotunda on three levels. One discovered there the statue of king Gagik Ier (990-1020) holding a model of his church.
Saint-Gregoire (Tigrane Honents)We know grace an inscription that the church of Saint Gregoire de Tigrane Honentz was built in 1215, gràce to the generosity of a commercial rich person named Tigrane Honentz. On the wall external of the church an inscription enumerating of the mills is engraved, of the treasures, the fields and the vineyards. Tigrane Honents equips its foundation with these elements. The church has the interior paintings, made by Géorgiens; and representing the most important saint of Arménie, Gregoire Ier the Illuminator, Christ and finally the last judgment. In the corner piece S of the semi-columns on which the blind blind arcades of the frontage and the drum are pressed find representations of real or fantastic animals.
Church of the Saint-SaverThe church of the Saint-Saver of Ani was built in the year 1036. Half of the monument crumbles in 1930. It is octoconque, with a cupola covering of the kinds of " niches" not very deep. The church resembles superimposed rotundas which was formerly decorated with blind blind arcades. The interior of the religious building presented paintings with in particular beautiful and large a Christ holding the Gospel. Angels and Cène surrounds the character.
Monastery of the VirginsThe monastery of the Virgins was built about the 12th century, but there remains only the principal church, moreover very damaged with some walls attesting the existence of other buildings. Built on a circular base, the church is in form of exaconque, and several “small conches” on the frontage are decorated by blind arcades three, on column of a double type. The “cap” of the church is out of sunshade, and the dodecagonal drum. Four windows bore this drum.
Saint-apostles (Its jamatoun)We know many things on Jamatoun of the church of the Saint-Apostles. It was built in 1038, in front of the Midsummer's Day church of the 11th century, very in ruin. The church of the Saint-Apostles does not exist any more. This jamatoun is of quadrangular form, with, on four columns, a Coupole. A small skylight surmounts the central opening of this cupola, and forms a kind of “truncated pyramid”. This type of Jamatoun will be borrowed for others church S. the walls, where political decisions are engraved, economic, etc of the town of Ani, are ornamented. In this manner, we see decisions like those concerning the taxes: taxes for the magnaniers and tapestry makers in 1276, etc… But also of other decisions like the order which prohibits in the streets during the seisms the trade, going back about to the 13th century.
ExcavationsIn 1892, the Academy of Science of Saint-Pétersbourg organizes the first excavations, then other excavations will be carried out thereafter.
School of AniThe creation artistic of the school of Ani are mainly related to Tiridate. This architect with built the Gagkashen church, Saint-Saver, Katoghiké and the palate of the Catholicos; what made of Ani an university of Architecture; and this same architect also rebuilt in 989 the cupola of the church Holy-Sophie of Constantinople (Hagia Sophia).
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