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.




At the southern end of the city the flat top of a promontory was once a separate fortified enclosure.  This part of Ani is known as the "Inner Fortress" (Mijnaberd), or simply the "citadel". Though protected on three sides with steep cliffs, the citadel was encircled by a single line of ramparts. This wall had towers on its north side, and a gateway at its NW corner.

According to tradition a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Anahit stood here, the temple destroyed by Saint Gregory the Illuminator, who then erected a church on the site. Nothing has been found to substantiate this, but it makes a good story. At the very edge of the cliff stands a ruined church, the Kizkaleh, probably built during the first 15 years of the thirteenth century.

The Citadel Church is located at the eastern edge of the palace within the citadel. Its only intact wall is the north wall, a part of a 13th century renovation that added a second story. The church is dated to the 7th c, though the specific decorative elements: capitals with acanthus leaves, fretwork patterned cornice, and other elements typical of early Christian art suggest 6th century.  The hall (5.85 by 9.4 m) is divided by two pairs of wall piers and flying arches.

The southernmost tip of the city, nearly surrounded by the Arpa/Akhurian Rivers is perhaps its oldest point, a magnificent defensive perch for millennia of settlers. The fortifications and relatively well preserved buildings suggest this might be amongst the last parts of the city to be abandoned. The site is called "Kizkale"  in Turkish or "Gusanats"  in Armenian (Maiden's or nun's) point. 

The site has never been excavated, though according to tradition a temple to the Armenian goddess Anahit once stood here, destroyed by S. Grigor Lusavorich during the Pagan Wars. Serious excavation may prove this a myth or reality. The point is very difficult to get to now, the once carefully laid stone sacred path strewn with rubble and boulders falling from earthquakes and war. 

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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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