Ani view point

Ani is perched on the Akhurian river, across from the 9th-13th cc Armenian capital Ani. Much of it gone, still the city of 100,000 has ruins of churches, palace and walls enough to impress.



Nearby, in the Great Cathedral, started in the year 989 in the reign of King Smbat II (977-989) and completed in the year 1001 (or 1010) by order of Queen Katraniteh (Catherine), the wife of King Gagik Bagratuni, Smbat's successor, there is more evidence of a different kind: the presence in the cathedral of the pointed arches and clustered piers considered to be one of the hallmarks of Western Gothic architecture.

The design of the cathedral is on a cruciform plan, with a dome over the central crossing, and a triple-apse eastern end. The dome is supported by four massive piers of coupled pillars with plain capitals and spanned by bold pointed arches. At either end of the building stand four similar piers, a pair at the entrance and one on each side of the apse—all "Gothic" features designed by the Armenian architect, T'rdat (who also designed the present dome of the Santa Sophia in Istanbul) in 989-1001, more than 100 years before the style made its first appearance in Western Europe.


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    How to reach Take the M1 highway towards Giumri and 11 km north of Maralik, where a road turns left to Gusanagiugh. Follow the directional signs past Gusanagiugh to the H17, then south to Haikadzor to the view point. From Yerevan is 100km and about 1 hour 15 minutes.

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